Roberto Martínez makes for an unlikely pragmatist. During his four years at Wigan Athletic, there were times the Spaniard seemed so focused on his passing principles that he scarcely appeared to notice he won only 25% of league games. In his encouraging start at Everton, a commitment to open, attacking football has resulted in opportunities aplenty at either end. And yet, he insisted, this is no game of chance. There is a practical element to his purism.
"If you win without style and not knowing what you are doing, it is not going to last. They are going to be short-term victories," he said, arguing his ethos produces sustainable success. "If you do it in a certain way you will get better and stronger."
It is partly a question of taste but the stylist felt statistics underpinned Saturday's win. "We had more possession than Hull, more attacking moves and controlled the game," he said. "If you go somewhere, get 20% of the play and come away with a sneaky win I don't enjoy those."
Everton's good fortune entailed Gareth Barry staying on the pitch when the referee, Neil Swarbrick, ought to have dismissed the midfielder after a foul on Danny Graham that forced the Hull forward from the field. But on the balance of play, there was nothing lucky about the outcome, even after the visitors' substitute Yannick Sagbo had equalised. Instead, the surprise came in the manner of the winner, finished deftly by Steven Pienaar but following a long ball, aimed by Tim Howard at Romelu Lukaku.
The on-loan striker's size offers Everton another dimension. "We will be stupid not to use the strengths of our players just because we have a way of playing," said Martínez, whose natural preference for keeping the ball on the ground does not prevent him appreciating Lukaku's aerial ability.
"I am happy that we are more than a one-trick pony. It is about being unpredictable. I think in the modern game you need to be flexible and adaptable and in the past we were able to beat teams with bigger budgets because we were flexible. At Everton, with the players we have, we can play in many different ways without changing the system and that helps."
Lacking anyone of Lukaku's size in attack, Martínez's Wigan varied their approach by switching between 3-4-3 and 4-3-3, forever looking to create different angles. With the Belgian able to function as a battering ram who can complement the silkier talents of smaller players, his Everton have been able to play 4-2-3-1 in every league match.
That continuity has extended to selection. There are eight ever-presents in his starting XI. Among them, Leon Osman is an exception, being displaced by the new recruits Barry and James McCarthy in the middle of midfield and then moving to the flanks. Yet the Englishman was replaced when the fit-again Pienaar was introduced, scoring with his first touch since August. The risk for Osman is that it becomes a permanent switch so the division's premier left-sided duo of Pienaar and Leighton Baines can be reunited.
"You get special partnerships in football," Martínez said. "Leighton and Stevie have developed that over the years, so it is important. They can also link up with other players."
Pienaar's winner was proof, the South African finishing from Kevin Mirallas's cross. The involvement of the two wingers was telling; the scorers were more influential than Ross Barkley, whose early-season excellence meant Hull, and specifically Tom Huddlestone, paid particular attention to him.
"Ross could become targeted and that could help him," Martínez added. "The moment they do that the space will open up for others." And so, with Barkley serving as a high-class distraction, Everton found more room on the sides. There may be fringe benefits to the hype surrounding the teenager.
Man of the match: Kevin Mirallas (Everton)