Everton have six wins on the trot at Goodison Park, but now again face the challenge of carrying that same form and courage on the road as they attempt to establish their credentials as top six challengers.
The Blues this weekend are away at AFC Bournemouth, but manager Marco Silva insists that his side will continue to look towards dominating the possession of the ball as they have already this season.
“It is really important. Our approach and ambition will be the same [as at Goodison]. It will be a good challenge for us and one more moment for us to prove our quality. Not just the backline, the whole team.
“We go to Bournemouth to win, respecting them, knowing they haven’t won at home but we haven’t won away. We go away to try to keep our way and our philosophy – to play to win.
“Knowing in some moments they will have the ball and we have to be really strong and solid because they have quality. And when we have the ball, attack them and create chances to score – but in the meantime remain balanced.”
Clashes against the Cherries usually promise plenty of goals with boyhood Blues Eddie Howe always getting his side ready to play against Silva’s Everton.
“They have high-quality players, the individual players in their attack line and out wide are really, really good
“Bournemouth have a different profile, fast and skilful players. Let’s see how they will approach the game, with two strikers like normal or not.
“Both teams want to win the game and it will be a good match to see and enjoy.”
England manager Gareth Southgate had some positive things to say this week about Michael Keane’s development, and Silva was pleased -
“When I hear that from a national team manager, it is really important for us. For the players more than me because they understand what we are doing here is developing them and getting them better every day.
“Giving them the conditions to play international games and at a high level – it is one of the main aims for me, apart from the results. To play tough games and [compete] for the top positions, to play international matches and European competitions – all these things give the players the feeling they are at a high level.
“Having that pressure of approaching all the matches to win is something which has to be natural. If you have extra pressure it means you are in a good position in the table – and that is a good thing for me.
“We have to keep working with the players to make it something natural for them.”
On the topic of Keane specifically, the Portuguese manager added that he was interested in furthering the development of all his players.
“I remember what he [Southgate] said last season, the first time [following Silva’s arrival] he had called Michael to the national team.
“He said the way Everton were playing helped Michael be there, he tried to see which players fitted best in his philosophy.
“The main thing for us is to get results for Everton and achieve our goals – but in the meantime we are here to work and develop players for them to achieve important things in their careers.
“First with Everton, then with their national teams.”