Everton need to ‘get back to basics’ to keep clean sheets, says boss David Unsworth.
The Blues have conceded in their past 12 matches and produced their only Premier League shutout on the opening day of the season in the 1-0 win against Stoke.
But Unsworth insists his team have been working hard on the training ground to put that right. And ahead of Sunday’s trip to Southampton, the former Toffees defender believes small margins are key to extending ‘good periods’ of Everton defending.
“Our back four and everybody, really, has just got to return to basics in terms of defending,” he said. “It’s okay to put the ball into row Z, be organised and keep a clean sheet. It’s something we’ve been working on, talking about for weeks – keeping a clean sheet mentality. We need to get back to basics.
“As a team we’ve conceded sloppy goals, we’ve switched off. In periods we’ve been good and in moments we’ve been sloppy but we all have to contribute to a clean sheet.”
Unsworth also backed Michael Keane to show his class, pointing to the summer signing’s “humble” character and willingness to learn as reasons why the 24-year-old will thrive at Goodison.
“Michael is a top young player,” added the Toffees manager. “He has all the attributes - he’s got great size, great physical presence, he’s good in the air, has been schooled very well so he’s comfortable on the ball.
“I saw him numerous times for Burnley and he’s a great defender. Michael will be fine because he’s the right type - he’s honest, he’s humble and is keen to learn. He wants to do well. When you’re humble like that, you’ve always got a chance to improve so I’m sure he’ll be absolutely fine.”