Roberto Martinez says Everton must react in the right manner with a performance full of intensity against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The Blues were defeated 3-1 against Leicester City on Saturday as the newly-crowned Premier League champions celebrated their first top-flight title in 132 years.
Martinez called for a response to that loss and a display of intensity and intent ahead of Wednesday’s penultimate game of the 2015/16 campaign.
“From our point of view, it’s about reacting from our performance against Leicester,” he said. “Two weeks ago we had a good response with a really good, determined performance to get a win over Bournemouth. Then we went to Leicester and got caught up in the atmosphere of celebrating a unique footballing achievement and that lack of intensity probably cost us.
“If you don’t reach a level of intensity, then it’s difficult to compete, whoever you’re playing against.
“We were playing against the champions, and the reason they are champions is because they play with such good tempo and momentum.
“But the reaction from us has been clear - not just this week but straight after the full-time whistle. We all have a strong desire to get back to our best level and tomorrow is the opportunity we have to show that.”
Sunderland head into the encounter knowing a win will preserve their Premier League status - and Martinez says the Toffees must match the tempo of Sam Allardyce’s battling side in order to return to Merseyside with three points and try to close the season as strongly as possible.
He added: “It’s Sunderland’s last home game [of the season] and they will see those three points as very important in what they want to achieve. The have found a really strong way of playing and they have been very consistent in their last six home games - only one defeat and they beat Chelsea at the weekend.
“They have found a consistent line up that works well for them. We will have to be ready. We have to react to our performance against Leicester which wasn’t up to the levels we expected. Clearly now the only focus is to get back to that character we showed against Bournemouth to get the winning feeling again.
“We all know that we have to start the game brighter and match the intensity of the opposition. We’ve got a really strong unit in that respect and we all want to be on the pitch and get rid of that feeling that we all shared after the game on Saturday.”