Baines wants further progress
Leighton Baines has urged his Everton team-mates to build on their weekend win over Wigan.
Last Updated: 01/09/09 12:07pm
Full-back Leighton Baines has urged his Everton team-mates to build on their weekend win over Wigan and get their season back on track.
The Toffees picked up their first points of the season on Sunday with a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Latics, with Baines providing the winner from the penalty spot.
Everton fans saw the debuts of £10million Russia winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and £5million defender Sylvain Distin against Wigan as the money from Joleon Lescott's sale was put to immediate use by manager David Moyes.
The Lescott transfer saga appeared to affect the Everton camp, who lost their opening two games, but with the defender now a Manchester City player, Baines believes their turbulent start is behind them as they continue to rebuild.
"There are new players here and more arriving," he said. "The feel about the place is that we are moving up to a different level with a bigger and more experienced squad.
"That is positive. We already have some fine players here with terrific youngsters already here, now we have added top internationals to that group with more to come.
"We have had such a small squad, and that has hindered us in the past. But now the situation is changing and we can all now move on into the new season with confidence."
Moyes is expected to seal the £5million signing of Dutch international Johnny Heitinga before Tuesday's transfer deadline passes and is also thought to be targeting Tottenham's David Bentley.
However, Baines' place in the side does not appear to be in jeopardy and he welcomes the late burst of signings being put in place by Moyes.
"We have to keep pace. You look at what other teams have done in the summer, clubs we finished above last season. Aston Villa, Manchester City and Spurs have all spent big and added good new players.
"They have brought in quality players and they had all started the season well. We had struggled a bit, so the win over Wigan has got us up and running.
"It is a challenge for us, we know we have to perform even better than last season now just to maintain what we achieved."
Everton reached the group stages of the Europa League after their midweek result over Czech side Sigma Olomouc and Baines is hoping for a better run than last season's early exit.
He said: "It was important to qualify for the group stages in Europe too. Last season we didn't manage to do that by getting past the qualifying round and we felt that all our good work in getting to that stage had been wasted.
"But we have done it this time and I can't wait for the Europa League games to start.
"We are also relieved to have won a league game at last. Now it is important to kick on, to go on a winning run and for me as well to maintain some consistency."
Everton's first win of the league campaign comes just before an international break and after making Fabio Capello's England squad back in March, the full-back is hoping to go one better by earning his first cap.
"I've had a taste of the England squad so the World Cup finals are always at the back of your mind, I just have to play well and hope to impress the England coach.
"I am keen to get back into that. But that will only happen if my own form is good and the team continue to do well.
"We couldn't afford to go into the two-week international break without getting a league victory on the board. The whole place will feel a lot more positive now we have got that win.
"If you go into the break without a victory it leaves everybody tense and uncertain."