With his maiden Everton goal, Louis Saha believes he has taken the first step towards rebuilding his career. The 30-year-old striker, whose Manchester United days were marred by an ongoing battle with injuries, earned his new club their first home win this season with a late header that secured a 1-0 victory over Fulham.
In nearly five years at Old Trafford, Saha started just 52 games. Everton manager David Moyes was able to obtain the Frenchman without any cash advance this summer, signing him on a pay-as-you-play basis.
Saha has impressed Moyes since his move to Goodison Park and Saturday's strike - his first since scoring for the Red Devils against Newcastle United in February - was a timely boost to his confidence. The French international admitted the goal had come as a relief.
"Doubts do creep in when you haven't been scoring. I was waiting for the goal. I knew I had to be patient because I had not been playing for a long time," he said. Saha, capped 18 times by Les Bleus, managed to score 28 Premier League goals for United in his 52 starts.
His patchy form since joining Everton, however, lost him a starting place; he had to come off the bench to claim Saturday's winner. Saha insists that he has never allowed his injury problems to get to him. "I know it is always difficult but I kept my head up," he said. "The main thing is to enjoy your football even when times are hard."
A dangerous duo
Saha is also relishing the prospect of combining his pace and aerial ability with Aiyegbeni Yakubu's powerful presence for Everton. He envisions a prolific strike partnership with the Nigerian international, who is the highest scoring African in English Premier League history.
"I know that I am going to get chances no matter what we do," he said. "Physically, we put so much into games and make it difficult for opponents. We get chances because we force mistakes."
Moyes, who signed Saha on the advice of former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, shares the player's belief that the first goal of his Goodison career will inspire him to greater heights. "The deal gave us a centre forward that I wouldn't have been able to buy normally," the Scot commented on the signing.
"I spoke to Carlos Queiroz and a few other people who had been around him and they gave me incredible shouts about his ability. I have found him a really pleasant lad... I think he is happy with the chance we have given him."
On his future at Merseyside, Saha had the following to say: "I'm lucky enough to be playing for a great team like Everton and I am really happy right now. The next step is to score more goals."