Kevin Mirallas is backing Everton to “win a lot of points” if they continue to perform with the “confidence and passion” that saw David Unsworth’s side run Chelsea close on Wednesday night.
Mirallas made only his fourth start this season in the Carabao Cup tie at Stamford Bridge – six days after his third, when he played 68 minutes against French team Lyon.
The Toffees were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea but only after being thwarted time and again in the second 45 minutes by goalkeeper Willy Caballero, whose impressive catalogue of saves included one reaction stop to deny Everton’s Belgian winger from close range on 69 minutes.
But Mirallas insists the manner in which the Toffees set about the Premier League champions after half-time should act as a template for what Evertonians can expect from their team for the remainder of this campaign.
“In the second half we had a lot of chances and when you see the players playing like that, with a lot of passion… I am very happy,” Mirallas told evertontv.
“We lost but in the second half we played with more confidence. If we play every game like that we will win a lot of points this season.
“We need that, because when you see the league – that is not Everton. I am not happy with the situation. For the Club, fans and players, we need more – and that starts on Sunday.
“The first half was a little bit difficult but we worked hard. We had a lot of players who had not played much football, which is never easy.
“But we played with passion. That is Everton.”
Mirallas’s only starts this season prior to the Europa League encounter with Lyon came in that competition’s qualifying rounds – at Goodison Park against Slovaks MF Ružomberok and Croatian outfit Hajduk Split.
The 30-year-old’s limited Premier League action has come in the shape of three appearances from the bench – but he is determined to make himself an integral figure in Unsworth’s plans, with Everton preparing for a top-flight trip to Leicester this weekend.
“It is never easy when you do not play,” said Mirallas, who confirmed he suffered no lasting damage after being on the receiving end of a heavy Cesc Fabregas challenge late in the game at Chelsea.
“I want to help the team. I gave my maximum against Lyon and today. I hope I will play against Leicester.
“It is difficult physically when you do not play. But I bring my maximum because I want to play every game, for my teammates and the fans.
“We had four or five chances to score in the second half and I hope we take those chances on Sunday because we need the three points. We need to continue to work like that with David.
“I think we deserved more but, sometimes, football is like that.”
Unsworth has taken over an Everton side sitting 18th in the embryonic Premier League table but within striking distance of the division’s top half.
As such, Mirallas is keen for the Blues to begin regularly putting points on the board – and he believes the Club’s crop of precocious youngsters can help achieve that aim.
Teenage midfielder Beni Baningime became the latest Academy player to graduate into Everton's first team in the match at Chelsea, where he was joined in the Toffees' side by fellow homegrown talents Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny.
“Every player talked with him (Baningime),” said Mirallas. “He played with confidence and performed very well. He needs to continue like this.
“We have some top players in the Under-23s and I hope in the future a lot more of them will come in.
“You could see David Henen in the squad as well. Ademola Lookman is young and when he came on he played very well, too. We need to continue like that, move in the same direction together and keep improving.”