Phil Jagielka says Everton will need to display their battling qualities again this Saturday – and the defender is hopeful they can enjoy better fortune in front of goal to convert the recent run of away draws into wins.
David Moyes takes his charges to Wearside after earning respectable points on the road at Tottenham and Arsenal.
The Toffees have smashed 12 goals in their last five home league matches, however they have tallied just three away from Goodison Park from the same amount of games.
Two of those goals were scored at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago when the Blues were denied a memorable victory by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late leveller.
And Jagielka is calling for his side to show that same attacking intent in the North East this weekend.
“It’s important that we try and get as many clean sheets as possible until the end of the season and hopefully rely on the boys up front to try and nick us a goal or two,” Jagielka told evertontv.
“We did that against QPR and coming here [to the Emirates] is another very positive clean sheet, but it would have been nice to have nicked a goal and put them under some pressure.
“We’ve got to start turning these draws into wins if we are going to keep potentially challenging for the top four.
“Saturday is going to be a very important game and I’m sure the manager is looking forward to that now. Hopefully we can keep another clean sheet and score a goal or two."
This weekend’s clash will be Paolo Di Canio’s first at home since succeeding Martin O’Neill as manager at the Stadium of Light at the end of last month.
The Italian masterminded a sensational 3-0 win at St James’ Park last weekend – a result that understandably caught Jagielka’s attention.
However, the 30-year-old has reason to feel confident having never tasted defeat against Sunderland when wearing Everton colours.
Indeed, the Toffees head into Saturday’s game unbeaten in their last 18 matches against the Black Cats – a sequence that dates back to January 2002 and the Walter Smith era.
Jagielka added: “I saw little bits [of Sunderland’s win at Newcastle] with it being on the television. I hope they don’t score as many worldies as they did in that game.
“It often happens when a new manager comes in and fortunes can turn around. With the character that Paolo Di Canio is, he’s obviously got his players [fired] up and they did pretty well against Chelsea as well.
“It will be a really tough game.”
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