A joie de vivre that had been missing this season under Mark Warburton characterised the efforts of Caixinha’s men at the culmination of his first week in charge and the 46-year-old considered that he helped the team’s flow by encouraging them to play without fear. “I not only said in the match programme that I wanted the players to enjoy themselves, it was my first statement to the players in the dressing room today: I want you to enjoy it.
“If you are here and you are anxious, things are not going to work. So I want you to be happy, I want our team to play like they are kids. Kids love to play football, right? All the professionals start as a kid dreaming of one day being in this position. Now they are in this position they need to enjoy it the same. So they did it and I am pleased about that.”
Caixinha felt the impact of his instructions were evident in the outcome that included goals from sweeping moves netted by Emerson Hyndman and Lee Wallace. These sandwiched Clint Hill scoring after he met a free-kick and Martyn Waghorn converting a penalty.
“I believe you saw more switch of play, more wide combinations and arrivals, more about regaining possessions and looking for the space, and once the space was there, attacking that space. And also you see a team who, when didn’t have the ball, they weren’t happy and they tried to press to regain it, leading to the opponent to commit some mistakes.”