Phil Neville enjoyed a more attacking role in the system and Irvine told evertonfc.com: "Phil showed great energy and is obviously an intelligent footballer.
"He played in a slightly different position tonight. With it being a diamond he was a bit further forward to start with.
"It was an opportunity to play with a diamond formation and we played some good football."
Overall, Irvine was impressed with the way Everton fared against high-calibre opposition.
"I was really pleased with how we did," he added. "We have got a lot of positives to take from tonight. We became the more dangerous team and had a lot of attempts at goal."