With Everton going into the final international break of the year on the back of four games unbeaten in all competitions and sitting in their highest position in the Premier League of the season so far, morale in the camp appears to be the highest it’s been for over a year.
This time last year, as the domestic programme went into hiatus for the World Cup, the Toffees were licking their wounds from three successive defeats under Frank Lampard, a record that would continue to get worse until he was sacked in January, to be replaced by Sean Dyche.
Having narrowly guided the club to top-flight safety last term, Dyche appears to finally be getting some consistency from the team as his methods bed in, his attempts to change the players’ mentality bear fruit, and he benefits from the regular fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
It’s not lost on the players, with two of them expressing their satisfaction with how things are going.
“Everyone has been able to show their quality under the manager,” Adboulaye Doucouré said via the club’s official media channel. “Since he came in he has put a lot of energy and confidence in the team. I think we’ve tried to repay the faith he gives to us in the week. From a personal point of view, we have worked together well so far and I’m very happy.
“I’m always glad to score goals,” the French-born player added after scoring his fourth goal of the season before Idrissa Gueye grabbed the winner in Saturday’s dramatic 3-2 win over Crystal Palace in South London. “I know this isn’t my first job but I’m always willing to help the team and I’m so happy for Gana to have scored that goal. I’m happy to contribute goals for Everton.
“We’re very happy. We knew it was going to be difficult at Crystal Palace but we started the game really well with the first goal. We conceded early after that but we came back in the second half with better attention. It was a crazy game but we’re so happy to have the three points.
“The momentum is great. We knew we didn’t get the results at the start of the season but the performances were very good. At the moment we are winning games and that’s the most important thing in football. Our momentum is great, the team is working so hard so we deserve to have those points.”
Midfielder, James Garner, who has been enjoying an extended run in his favoured central midfield role after convincing Dyche to move him inside off the wing, echoed Doucouré’s sentiments on evertonfc.com where he says the Blues now feel like a real team.
“The manager speaks all the time about having that winning mentality,” the former Manchester United and Nottingham Forest man said.
“The Palace win was our third in London this season and I think it highlights the progress we are making. The manager has spoken a lot about us needing to change results away from home and we’ve done that so far. Long may it continue.
“We just want to look up and forward now and we just need to keep on winning games. It’s cliched but it’s all about focusing on your next game and keep on getting three points.”
The Toffees go into the international break in 14th place, eight points above the relegation zone and only two behind 10th-place Chelsea.