Ronald Koeman says he possesses the most valuable tool in any manager’s armoury – a “connection” with his players.
Koeman admitted the past month had been a “tough period”, with Everton suffering three Premier League defeats and losing their opening Europa League group stage game in Atalanta.
Nevertheless, the Toffees’ boss spied the first shoots of recovery in Wednesday night’s comfortable Carabao Cup win over Sunderland - and is aiming to engineer an upturn in league form when Everton host Bournemouth on Saturday.
Koeman has the thick end of 15 years’ managerial experience and is therefore extremely well acquainted with the vicissitudes of the job.
And he hopes Everton’s bad spell can now be consigned to history.
“You always have tough periods as a manager,” said Koeman. “In football, you win today, then lose a few games… things change so fast.
“We had a difficult period at Southampton – and then a difficult period here last season. Tell me one manager who has never had a tough period?
“Every season, we have one. Now let’s hope that is behind us and we can move forward.
“But even when you have a negative period, it is a learning point... even bad experiences can be good for the future.
“The most important thing for every manager is the connection with the players. If you still feel you have that good connection with the players and they are committed, that is the key point. I have that.”
In their most recent Premier League games, Everton have been confronted with trips to Manchester giants City and United, a visit to defending champions Chelsea and a home clash with last season’s runners-up Tottenham.
That four-match run yielded just one point for the Blues. And Koeman, who insisted he has always retained faith in his team, revealed the Club’s determination to swiftly steer the season back on course has extended beyond the efforts of the manager and his players.
“I also feel a good connection with the board,” said Koeman. “We speak about football, I speak to Steve Walsh about football and about the team.
“Everybody knows about the difficult start to the season but it is football and you need to win. That is the same for all managers.
“When we knew the fixtures, we knew it would be really difficult. But I am still really confident in the team because we were good enough against City and Manchester United, but against Tottenham and Chelsea our opponents were really the better team.
“But it is all about now – and we will see what happens.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin staked his claim to start against Bournemouth with a scintillating midweek display against Sunderland.
The 20-year-old striker scored twice – dispatching ruthless finishes beyond Black Cats goalkeeper Jason Steele either side of half-time.
But Calvert-Lewin caught the eye with his pace, power, and vision, as much as for his feats in front of goal.
And his manager was impressed by what he saw from the England Under-21 international.
“In most aspects of football, he needs to improve – in holding the ball and his movement,” said Koeman.
“But if you compare him to other strikers of his age, then he really is a big talent.
“He is strong and fast, he showed on Wednesday he can score goals. But he can be more clinical and that is normal, because nobody at that age is totally good in every aspect of the game.
“The boy is disciplined, hard-working, he wants to improve, he listens and is committed.
“He can play in different positions. He was playing as a nine on Wednesday, but can also play as a seven or 11, or as one of two strikers.
“There are a lot of possibilities with Dominic in the team. He is making big steps, from last season onwards.
“Nobody knows where it will end for him.”