Like just about every other manager in the Premier League this week, David Moyes and Paul Lambert will be making a case for strengthening their squads before the transfer window closes on Friday. On this evidence, both should be assured of a receptive audience.

For Moyes, the right addition now could see Everton maintain a challenge at the top of the table. For 70 minutes his side cut Aston Villa to ribbons, their three-goal lead a ridiculously inadequate reflection of their superiority. The movement and passing of Nikica Jelavic, Steven Naismith, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar was outstanding, as even the habitually cautious Moyes acknowledged, and having deservedly beaten Manchester United in their opening game, this was a performance of a sufficiently high standard to make their chances of threatening the top four merit serious debate.

The question, as ever, may come down to depth. "I don't feel it's the strongest squad in my time at Everton because we haven't really got any injuries at present so I've got a little bit of cover in some places, but the numbers are down," Moyes said. "But the flexibility of the squad gives me a little bit of hope. I can play Naismith and Fellaini and [Leon] Osman in a few positions, [Kevin] Mirallas too, so we can cover things, but if we lost any numbers we'd be struggling. I'd like to add to the squad if I can." In the meantime, he suggested, the time to assess his side would be after 10 games, not two, though after years of making a poor start to the season, Moyes was prepared to offer some thoughts as to why Everton have got off to a flyer.

A five-day holiday in the middle of pre-season training was one innovation. It may also have helped that the club did not undertake a lucrative but sapping long-haul summer trip. "We've not done much travelling and that might be something I have to consider, that the lack of travelling helped us," he said. "We didn't go to America, we didn't go to Indonesia, the furthest we went was a trip to Malaga and five days in Austria when we first came back."

There was certainly no shortage of energy or purpose in the manner in which his players went about their work on Saturday. They should have been ahead before Pienaar's fine curling opener and, if Shay Given was badly at fault in being beaten by Fellaini's header, the Villa goalkeeper had no chance of keeping out Jelavic's first-time shot shortly before half-time.

Everton was just as good after the break but inevitably eased off once Villa's Ciaran Clark was sent off for a tug on Jelavic. Tim Howard should have kept out Karim El Ahmadi's 25-yarder that gave the scoreline a spurious respectability. With Villa propping up the division, Lambert's need to improve his squad is urgent. He said he would sit down with owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner and "see what happens from there".

"Whether you get players in or not, first and foremost you have to start to win and that's something we'll try and do," he said. "I knew how hard the game was going to be but we've been turned over."

He took minimal encouragement from the fact his side had not folded completely. "They kept on going, which is pleasing, but it's easy to play when you're 3-0 down."

Man of the match Marouane Fellaini (Everton)