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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Nev Wary Of Need To Adapt

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

Phil Neville believes Everton's consistently evolving style will keep their Premier League rivals guessing as they bid to maintain their early season form.

Speaking to evertontv, the skipper suggested an ability to adapt has been key to the Toffees’ success so far.

“Sometimes you can play a certain way for one or two weeks and then you've got to find another way of playing to combat what other teams are doing against you,” he explained ahead of Saturday's visit of Southampton. “We've got great flexibility within the squad.

“[Marouane] Fellaini, for example, can play up front, he can drop and play in the holding position, so we have got flexibility. We've got players that can rotate in different positions and that makes it harder for the opposition and we'll probably have to do that in the coming weeks.”

Fellaini is one of a number of Everton players to have drawn admiration so far this campaign and Neville senses opposition sides are putting the Blues' more attack-minded stars under closer scrutiny than ever.

“You look at [Leighton] Baines, [Steven] Pienaar, Fellaini, [Kevin] Mirallas - these are the ones who are getting the headlines and I think with the performances, the headlines and the glory comes a bit of added attention from defenders.

“That's what we'd do if we were playing against these types of players - we'd do our homework, we'd look at trying to nullify their strengths and capitalise on their weaknesses, so that's something we're all guarding against.”

Everton have been widely praised for a progressive brand of football that has seen them earn recent high-scoring wins over Aston Villa, Leyton Orient and Swansea City.

Neville recognises the importance of trying to score as many goals as possible - something he insists is now a must for those clubs eyeing Europe.

“I think it's a style we are trying to develop,” he added. “It's the style of the Premier League now that you've got to go for the three points and you've got to go to score goals. One goal isn't enough in the Premier League any more - sometimes two goals aren’t enough.

“Last week we were winning 2-0 at half-time and there was still that desire to score one more. It's the way the league has gone over the past few years and playing for 0-0 draws is a thing of the past. I think it's a league where he who dares wins.”

Think the Blues will go for goals against the Saints? Paddy Power are offering odds of 6/4 that 3.5 goals or more will be scored in Saturday's game. For more odds or to bet, click here.

Tickets for Saturday's game are still available. To buy yours, click here or call 0871 663 1878.

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