Naismith celebrated his 27th birthday by firing the winner against Chelsea
Roberto Martinez has revealed the pep talk that helped turn Steven Naismith into a Goodison matchwinner.
Naismith celebrated his 27th birthday by scoring the only goal on the stroke of half-time as Everton claimed a memorable 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Saturday.
It was the Scotland international’s first top-flight start since netting against the Londoners on the final day of last season at Stamford Bridge.
And Martinez believes the striker benefited from being urged to banish his previous Goodison woes from memory.
“I think Stevie has had it very hard since he arrived at the club,” said the Everton manager. “He hasn't really been himself.
“I saw Stevie play a lot for Kilmarnock and for Rangers but here I haven't seen the same arrogance or belief or desire from him in the final third.
“Everything has been safe, or forced. But the way he works for the team he deserves to be himself.
“I want him to forget about the past. I want him to enjoy his football and show his quality on the park.
“When he does that he is a very effective footballer. He couldn't have got a better birthday present than scoring the winner.”
Naismith was playing due to the absence of Steven Pienaar, who suffered an injury during training earlier in the week.
And the Scot said: “At the start of the season, competition for places is tough. Unfortunately for Steven Pienaar, coming out of the team gave the opportunity to myself and I’m glad I’ve been able to score in the game.
“It was a case of gambling (for the goal), so that if the ball is there you are there too. Fortunately enough, Jela got a great header and I was there to put it in.”
Naismith’s goal secured Martinez his first Premier League win as Everton manager after three successive draws.
And Naismith added: “It’s been a drastic change from last season with the football we have played.
“It takes some getting used to but it’s a wee monkey off our back and now we can push on and get some more wins.”
Martinez expressed his pride at defeating title challengers Chelsea but admitted Everton have plenty of work ahead of them as they continue to adjust to his playing demands.
“This performance is one of my proudest moments,” he said. “We were not perfect in what we were trying to do by any means and you can see clearly that the fans understand we are in a bit of a transition.
“We were caught out in the first half especially trying to play and we gave them a few chances but then the reaction, we never gave up, and I thought we showed an incredible winning mentality.
“We defended extremely well and that gives you real pride.
“Put aside the technical performance, we were magnificent in how to cope with errors, in playing loose and free and in enjoying our football.
“We know we are not perfect but this win can be a springboard towards trying to reach our level.”
Martinez added: “The crowd were very important in pushing us over the line. That relationship is going to be vital. We were very good in many aspects but poor in others and that's something we need to work on.
“I think it has been a good start to the season. I was very happy with the performances against Cardiff, West Brom and Norwich. If we played those games 10 times we would win nine.
“I wouldn't say it's the perfect start because we are clearly still developing and need to get better but it is an exciting start.”