Everton manager Marco Silva said his side are ready to right the wrongs of their dreadful performance in the 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend when they host Sheffield United on Saturday.
The Blues were easily second-best at the Vitality Stadium, but Silva is sure that lessons have been learnt and that his team are confident are recording a seventh successive home win against the newly-promoted Blades tomorrow.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, he said:
“We analysed [the Bournemouth match] like usual, gave the right feedback to them about why some things happened in that game, and we will be fully ready to play, to show a reaction, and to do our best again to win the match.
“The last results at home show we are really strong playing in our stadium with our fans; it’s something we want to repeat again.”
As faultless as Everton’s form at Goodison Park has been recently, their woeful away form has shown little signs of improving, with an appalling record of six wins from their last 41 away games.
Silva said he can understand the fans’ frustration on this, and that he and his players share these feelings and are committed to rectifying it, but is keen to focus solely on Sheffield United for the time being:
“We understand why they [the fans] are like that. If you saw the mood in our dressing room, you can understand not just the mood of our fans, because we were [disappointed] too. It’s something we are working on to change, but it’s really tough to play away in the Premier League.
“We have improved the away form last season on the season before, but in my opinion, it’s not good enough and we want to improve this season again. It’s up to us to work, to learn from the things we didn’t do so well for us to be able to react and achieve a different result.
“Now is a home game; it’s not the moment to talk about that situation. Now, we have to put full focus on our opponents [Sheffield United]. The 12th player will be there; our stadium will play a key role in the game.
“They achieved good results in their their away games - they didn’t lose either - so they are in a good moment when they play away. But it’s up to us to do our job, to start the game well, to try to play with intensity, and create chances to score, because it will important for us, like we did in the last few home games, to score early.”
Everton have not only won their previous six Goodison games, but in all of the last five of them, they have scored at least once inside 17 minutes or earlier.
And while Silva is keen to see his players start with a similar urgency tomorrow, he admitted both the team and the fans may have to show patience against a well-drilled, solid Blades outfit:
“What they really want is to see our team playing with full commitment giving 100 per cent and afterwards, let’s see how the game goes. It’s up to us to be patient; sometimes it’s not easy for them to be patient in the stadium, but it’s up to us to control these things.
“They always want our team to play forward, trying to score more goals with a clear result, but football today is not as easy as that. We have to respect all our opponents, but I fully understand them, and again, it’s up to us and our players on the pitch to do the right things.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, should he play, will come up against his former side and would also be making his 100th appearance for the Blues. Conversely, former Toffees captain Phil Jagielka could also play and come up against the team he last played for.
“To play against your former club is always a good feeling. Dominic will have this feeling, and Phil Jagielka will have the opposite feeling.
“It will be good for us to welcome him back but for Dominic it will be a good sensation if he starts or if he comes off the bench.
“Jagielka will have the big reception he deserves, no doubts about that. You know how our fans are, and Phil will have it tomorrow until kick off and then after that we will want to win and so will he because he’s a professional.”