David Unsworth says Everton owe their “great” supporters a “performance and a win” at Southampton on Sunday.
The Toffees have taken four points from their past two Premier League games but had their mini-revival checked by Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Unsworth nevertheless insisted his team must quickly “put to bed” their defeat by the Italians – and go to St Mary’s Stadium ready to play with “courage” and achieve the victory that could potentially see them close within three points of the top eight.
“The great thing in football is you always have another opportunity – there is always another game, and that comes along very quickly,” said Unsworth.
“We have to put that (the Atalanta match) to bed very, very quickly.
“I am really looking forward to it (Sunday's fixture). It will be a tough game. Southampton are a good team, they pass the ball really well.
“But we must see a reaction now. Our players must stand up and have the courage to go and get a result on Sunday.
“I think we always owe it to the Everton fans to perform. Our players know that. They know my feelings and sentiments towards the great Everton fans.
“I think they do owe them a performance and I think, and know, they owe them a win.”
Everton showed the fortitude Unsworth demands when recovering from two goals down to beat Watford three weeks ago, and then again last week at Crystal Palace, where the Toffees twice equalised to earn a point from their trip to Selhurst Park.
“That is one thing we have tried to do since we got the job: build those blocks of confidence and performance,” said Unsworth, who has overseen six matches since taking charge last month.
“In the league we have seen decent performances in spells.
"Coming back against Watford was a fantastic result and performance in the second half. Then recovering from being 1-0 and 2-1 down at Crystal Palace showed the players had desire and fight.
“The players who played in those games have the passion for the fight. It is important we get those players back into the team and squad and, hopefully, show that same fight and desire.
“And try to win a game which would probably lift us into the middle of the table and, hopefully, settle everybody down.”
Unsworth admitted his frustration at the nature of his side’s defeat against Atalanta, in particular the concession of three goals in eight minutes towards the end of the contest.
The former Toffees defender, though, has detected steady improvement in his side’s league displays – and says he and his players must share responsibility for ensuring Everton maintain their domestic recovery.
“The league is really important – and in the league games (he has overseen) we have won one, drawn one and lost one," added Unsworth. "The one we lost (at Leicester), we had opportunities and played really well in the second half, so I have seen points on the board in the league.
“I cannot get away from how disappointed I am with last night’s performance.
“It is a collective effort – a team game. The players have to take some responsibility and it is our job to get them up for the game as well.
“Together we will come up with a game-plan for Southampton, we will pick the team we think is right for the game.
“When the players step over that white line it is important they have the courage, in difficult circumstances, to play and stick together.
“We have let them know in no uncertain terms what is needed and required.
“The players must just focus on playing, and performing individually and collectively to win the game.”