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Silva talks new ground and team spirit ahead of United trip

Blues boss praised club’s stadium progress and character of squad in Friday’s press conference

Everton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Marco Silva is aiming for four consecutive league wins this weekend
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Marco Silva praised Everton’s decision to introduce fan consultation for the Bramley Moore stadium project.

This week, the club announced plans for “The People’s Project”, the next step in the planning process for the new ground, gathering opinions from the public at various locations across Liverpool and the Wirral in November and December.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference prior to the Blues’ trip to Manchester United on Sunday, Silva said:

“What the club is doing to involve our fans will be good for us, because it’s important that they [the club] know some opinions, as well our ambition and my ambition as a coach. It will be a fantastic step for us as a club.

“I know the great history of our stadium but it is something I’m sure will happen. It’s a new step for us as a club; if we can do that, it will be a fantastic step.”

Everton are not expected to leave Goodison Park until the early 2020s, by which time Silva, if still in charge, would almost certainly be in his longest stint at any of the six clubs he has managed.

But he expressed his desire to eventually lead Everton into their new home:

“It will be fantastic [if still manager by then]. It means everybody is happy with our work and we are happy as well like we are in this moment.”

Silva also spoke at length about the significance of having strong personalities in the dressing room to complement technical ability, which particularly shone through in last weekend’s late home victory over Crystal Palace:

Substitutes Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun both scored late goals against Palace to seal a 2-0 win
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

“It’s really important for me. I told you since the first day, you can start winning many things at a football club if you have not just talent in your dressing room but strong personalities, good characters, good professionals.

“It’s something we look for when we try to sign new players; of course, his quality and his talent, sure, but it is something I always pay attention to.

“I want to know everything I can about them; his character and his behaviour as a professional is really important for me as well.”

Looking ahead to the visit to Old Trafford, Silva said neither he or his squad are getting carried away by the prospect of recording a fourth consecutive league victory.

Everton v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Everton’s win against Middlesbrough on September 17, 2016 was the last time the Blues recorded four straight league wins
Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

It is a feat Everton have not achieved since September 2016 under Ronald Koeman, but Silva explained that this week has been business as usual:

“Nothing changes in our plan because we can do the ‘four-in-a row’ or not. We prepare every week in the same way - to do our maximum and with a big ambition during the week to prepare well for the next match.

“I don’t change my focus too easily if some results aren’t the best in one moment or if you achieve good results like we achieved in the last three games. I can’t tell you just because we won the last three games everything is OK now, because it isn’t. We have many, many things to improve the squad and we have the quality to improve these small details.

“We have to improve and get better every time. It’s my ambition as a coach and our players know we will be demanding every time to improve our squad.”

Everton have only once away to Manchester United in the last 25 years, and will likely be reacquainted with Romelu Lukaku, who left the Blues for the Red Devils in summer 2017.

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League
Lukaku scored for United in his first appearance against Everton since leaving the Blues
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Like United, who are languishing in mid-table, Lukaku has struggled for form this season; after 27 goals in his maiden campaign in Manchester, he has only four strikes to his name so far in 2018/19, and last scored a home goal in March.

But neither Silva or his squad will be underestimating the undeniable quality at the disposal of under-pressure manager José Mourinho:

“Man Utd are always dangerous, always a very good team, always a strong side for their opponents. for me, there is no doubts about that.

“When you’re talking about Lukaku, it’s normal when a striker doesn’t score in the last games to criticise him. The same happened with some of our strikers before - it’s football.

“I think Lukaku and Man Utd have got the quality to do good things. We have to do everything we can to achieve a good result and to stop them.

“When you’re a big club like Man Utd with the goals they have, they have to play to be champions. It’s normal to them, this pressure behind them, but it’s football.”