After Everton made a miserable start to the 2017-18 Premier League season, the pressure heaped on the Blues’ transfer record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was immense. As the heads continued to drop along with the performances, the pressure only got worse on the Icelander.
However, with Sam Allardyce in charge the defensive discipline has improved and so have the results, and Sigurdsson is pleased with how he has been playing. Here are excerpts from an interview with evertontv -
“It is improving. That comes with the team as well – collectively we are much better than a couple of months ago.
“We were lacking confidence and results, and things were not going our way. There was just something missing. But as a team, and personally as well, things are better at the moment.
“If we continue what we have been doing on the training field and in matches for the past couple of weeks, we will hopefully have a good Christmas period – and take that form into January.
“We have more confidence and organisation. And we all know what the manager wants from us defensively – and offensively as well."
Everton used a combination of tidy defending and good fortune to take three points from the midweek trip to Newcastle, and Sigurdsson knows the Blues can be better.
“It was a long-time coming and it was nice to get it at a tough away ground. It was not the prettiest game. It is a tough ground but we did the job well.
"We kept a clean sheet, which the manager will be happy with – but we probably could have passed the ball a bit better and taken our opportunities in the second half.
“They had an attacking full-back [DeAndre Yedlin] so I had to try to limit him going forward. When he did get forward, me and Cuco [Martina] had to deal with it – their winger tucking inside and full-back going on the outside.
“But we dealt with it quite well. The team has been working really hard defensively, from the front man all the way back. And we are getting our rewards for that."
WayneRooney WestHamUtd premierleague | Gylfi Sigurdsson's strike against SouthamptonFC has also been nominated for November's PremierLeague Goal of the Month. #EFC— Premier League EPL (@EPL_ArabicNews) December 6, 2017
Vote ➡️ https://t.co/Jm2DAaGew2 pic.twitter.com/krnSdNsiFl
One of the things that has certainly caught the eye recently has been the Icelander’s workrate as he continues to play out of position on the left wing. Sam Allardyce has gone on record saying that he is expecting more and more from Sigurdsson as his fitness improves, while assistant manager Sammy Lee has been a vocal supporter of the 28-year-old on the touchline.
“Sammy was happy with the clean sheet and three points away from home, even though it was not our best performance.
“But it shows the confidence and strength of the team – we are probably not playing our best football but we are getting results and that is the main thing.
“But we have a few very important games we need to put our minds to now, to ensure we produce good performances.
"If you look at the size of the Club and the players in the team, you want to be getting back-to-back results, home and away. If you do that you fly up the table.
“Things are improving but there is a long way to go. If you take your foot off the pedal in this league you will lose games. It is very important we stay on the front foot and keep doing the right things.”
There is certainly the feeling from the fanbase that his two recent goals against Southampton and Huddersfield Town are just the beginning, and once he gets even more comfortable in his role he can really make his mark as an attacking midfielder for the Blues.