Michael Keane says Everton are “desperate” to put things right - and says scoring first against Lyon on Thursday can give everyone a vital boost as the Blues hunt their first win in this year’s Europa League group stage.
The England defender, who netted his maiden goal for the Toffees in the first leg of the play-off against Hajduk Split after a then Club-record-equalling £30million switch from Burnley, admits the side’s current form - particularly at home - has not been up to standard so far this season.
Keane has now called on his teammates to get back to basics when they host seven-time French champions Lyon on Thursday, with just three points separating the top and bottom of Group E after two rounds of fixtures.
“Obviously, we’ve been disappointed not to go out there and win more games for the fans,” said summer-signing Keane at the pre-match press conference. “The team had a fantastic record at Goodison last season and that was something we wanted to continue.
“For one reason or another, that hasn’t happened so far [this season] but all we can do is keep working hard to get it right. I think our game [against Brighton] at the weekend was much better in the way we played and we could have won that game.
“If we control games like we did against Brighton then we’ll give ourselves a much better chance and hopefully we can do that tomorrow.”
Everton have conceded the first goal in nine of their past 10 outings in all competitions - and Keane says that record must improve, starting at Goodison Park tomorrow.
“The first goal is massive in every game," he said. "We need to get back to keeping clean sheets. We did that a few times at the start of the season - and in pre-season as well - but we’ve come away from that for one reason or another.
“It’s something that’s a basic for a defender - you need to organise players in front of you. We need to get back to not conceding goals and that will give us a bigger a platform in games.
“If we can take the lead, that will give all the lads a big boost. I think that’s what has been missing. When you concede first, sometimes heads can go down and it gives the other team a big lift.
“The first goal is massive. If we can get the first goal tomorrow, it will get the fans behind us and gives everyone that bit more confidence.”
The 24-year-old says the players share the fans’ recent frustrations but insists there is a clear determination within the dressing room to reward supporters with the type of displays they deserve.
“We’ve got a lot of experience in our team and we know what it’s like,” he added. “If we’re not playing well, if we’re not playing free-flowing football, then the fans have a right to get on our case because they have high expectations - as they should do.
“I feel like we controlled the game well [against Brighton] at the weekend. Hopefully we can do that again tomorrow and be more positive in our play.
“We want to create chances, keep teams pinned in and put teams to the sword. We haven’t done that enough at Goodison yet this year but the fans deserve to see it and we want to give them that.”
Tickets are still available for the Blues’ Europa League clash with French giants Lyon at Goodison on Thursday (8.05pm kick-off), priced at £20 for adults, £10 concessions and £5 for under-11s. Click here to book your seat.