Wayne Rooney revelled in the best goal of his career, as caretaker manager David Unsworth saluted the Everton fans following their 4-0 thrashing of West Ham on Wednesday night.
Rooney (18, 28, 66) netted a hat-trick in what is expected to be Unsworth's last game in charge of the club, with Sam Allardyce, who watched the game from the stands, set to be named as the club's new manager.
And while the former England captain beamed at the quality of his third goal, Unsworth expressed his gratitude to the supporters for a “special” ovation.
— Everton (@Everton) November 29, 2017
After the game, and with his first hat-trick for Everton, the 32-year-old expressed just how important the result was for the club.
He said: "For us as a team and as a Club, it was important. For us to show some pride, as David Unsworth has said, we have been hurting.
"It was important today that we got a clean sheet, first of all. I think it’s been long overdue but then a victory as well to try to steady the past few weeks with what we’ve been going through. Thankfully, it’s come with a good scoreline."
Rooney had seen Joe Hart deny him from the penalty mark, but netted his first goal of the night on the rebound, ahead of a well-taken second, and an even better third.
Rooney explained: "It’s one of – if not the best goal I’ve ever scored. I think I hit it as well as I’ve ever kicked a football! To make it my third goal, my first hat-trick for Everton, I’m delighted.”
Unsworth, meanwhile, was given a superb send-off by the home support at Goodison.
He said after the game: "That was very special and I thank the supporters for that.
“I have always had a wonderful affiliation with the Everton fans. I had a great relationship with them throughout my playing career. That was a nice personal moment and I thank them for that.
“It means the world to me. When we took over we were in the bottom three, so to get us up the league to 13th is a step in the right direction."
The result saw the Toffees climb to 13th in the Premier League on 15 points, with the Hammers down in 18 with 10 points.