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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Blues Craving Clean Sheets

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Steve Round says everybody at the Club is focused on improving the Blues’ defensive record – starting at Bolton on Saturday.
While Everton have only conceded 16 times this season – the 8th lowest in the division, and less than Chelsea and Arsenal – they have only managed one shutout.
As that stat suggests, the Blues’ defence has not generally been put under sustained pressure in games but have found themselves punished for isolated lapses.
And Round told evertontv: “We are one of the best teams in the Premier League for not conceding chances and opportunities – we have conceded one of the least amounts.
“We have been through a run of games against teams who, in the past couple of transfer windows, have recruited players that have taken them to another level to where they were maybe two years ago. With those players it can be one chance and one goal and we have generally conceded one chance and it has been one goal. You start thinking it is not your day.
“I think we have generally been solid defensively but you ask the defenders, ask the goalkeeper, ask anyone at the Club and they will tell you that clean sheets are very important to us and we are all disappointed that we have not kept more.
“But if we keep defending as we are then I am sure they will come.”
Next up for the Blues is a trip to the Reebok Stadium where they have suffered defeat for the past two seasons.
A win over Wolves at the weekend lifted spirits at Goodison following a run of six defeats in seven. Perception of that sequence is slightly distorted, however, by the fact that all six losses came against sides currently residing in the top seven of the Premier League.
Having come out the other side of that freakish quirk of the fixture list they now face a series of games against the sides in and around them.
And Round added: “We are really focused on this next spell of 10 games and climbing the table and putting Everton back where they should be.
“I have seen Bolton a couple of times this season and I would say they are in something of a false position. They are well coached and are a high-energy team. They have a specific way of playing that usually generates success for them and I certainly wouldn’t envisage them being in that position come the end of the season.
“It will be a difficult game on Saturday. It always is when you go to the Reebok. You know what you are going to get. It is going to be a hard-fought game and you have to match that – you have to match their effort and their energy.
“If we do that and maybe one of our top end players will produce that moment of magic on the day. We are going there with a bit of confidence and trying to win the game.”


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