Everton manager Marco Silva believes his squad’s confidence has improved after securing their first away league win of the season against Southampton, and has demanded more of the same when Norwich City visit Goodison Park tomorrow.
Since the last international break in mid-October, the Blues climbed out of the relegation zone and lost only one of their five matches, concluding with that 2-1 win at St Mary’s a fortnight ago.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Canaries, bottom of the league on seven points, Silva called for a performance of similar quality:
“And you remember how we lost in the one game, the Brighton game [VAR controversy], but it is what it is.
“The most important thing for me is we reacted well after that game as well, and we reacted really strong after the last international break, starting against West Ham. It came after a bad period for us and we reacted well.
“What I expect is the same after this break. We achieved an important win in our last away game; our first away win as well. It gives us the confidence we need. Even if you know what you’re doing, the players know it’s always important to get results to boost confidence.
“Now we’re looking forward to a busy period, starting tomorrow against Norwich. We have to be really confident, believe in ourselves, respecting the opponent as always, but showing big commitment and big ambition to achieve the result we want to climb the table.”
Given Everton’s poor start to the season, few Premier League managers have found their position under more scrutiny than Silva, who marked his 50th league game in charge of Everton with that win at Southampton.
In those 50, Silva’s Everton have won more games, more points, scored more goals and conceded 11 less than in the previous half-century under Sam Allardyce, David Unsworth and Ronald Koeman.
And in light of Tottenham’s sacking of Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday, Silva said he does not need to seek assurances from the Everton hierarchy, and wants to see further improvement in his next 50 league games:
“We don’t have to look at what’s happening at other clubs. We as a club have to look at ourselves and what we want to do together. Nothing more.
“I want more. In the next 50, I want to improve these numbers because we want to keep improving. I’ve answered in the last few weeks about pressure because it’s one question you are asking me maybe since the first day I arrived at the club, and will do until the end.
“For me, it’s a privilege to have pressure because pressure means we want to win, and that is everything I want in my career.”
Silva also provided a squad update, saying that both Fabian Delph and Bernard remain major doubts for Saturday’s game, but that Cenk Tosun has recovered from a groin injury suffered last week.
As for Moise Kean, who was left out of the squad for the Southampton win having been late to a team meeting for the second time, Silva did not confirm whether or not he will start, but did at least reveal that he will be named on the team sheet in some capacity:
“It’s possible he [Delph] is not in a good condition for tomorrow’s match; he is still a big doubt. Bernard is in the same situation; he started working with the team, and it’s possible that next week we’ll have good news about him. Tosun is OK.
“We will see tomorrow what the starting XI will be, but he [Kean] is a player who will be in the squad list; I can give this information to you.”
Silva was also asked for an update on André Gomes’ recovery from the fractured dislocation to his right ankle suffered in the 1-1 home draw with Spurs earlier this month, and the manager urged caution with the midfielder during his rehabilitation from a horrific and lengthy injury:
“Step by step. We have to be really patient with him. It will be a slow recovery, but we know that already. It’s possible he will play again this season, but we never know. Now is the moment to just be patient and supportive with him.”