Sam Allardyce says his Everton side are “eager and looking forward” to Saturday’s clash at Stoke, and believes a positive mindset is crucial for the Blues to replicate their commanding home form on the road.
The Toffees’ 2-0 victory over Brighton last weekend took their Goodison form to 20 points from the past 27 available since the 4-0 success over West Ham on the eve of Allardyce's appointment as manager.
Over the past 10 matches, Everton have the joint third highest Premier League points tally on home soil (23), level with Manchester United and behind only Manchester City and Spurs.
Allardyce says his team are now intent on rewarding the Club’s loyal away support with a performance that matches their dominant display against in-form Brighton last week, and impressive form at the Grand Old Lady under his guidance.
“Our home form and our points-per-game ratio is up in the top three in the last eight to 10 games,” the manager explained. “In the last four games [at home] we’ve taken 10 points out of 12. But away from home is where we certainly have to improve and pick up some more points, starting at Stoke.
“For everybody now it’s about producing the level of performance away that they’ve shown at home. When we’ve been in a position to get a result in the last two away games, we’ve slipped up and that’s really disappointing - not just for us - but for all the supporters who travel away. They’re there in numbers, they sell their ticket allocation out, and we want to make them as happy when they’re travelling back as we made the fans at home when we beat Brighton.”
The Blues go into the game in ninth place in the table and Allardyce revealed how his squad’s focus this week had been ensuring they approach Saturday’s game with a positive mindset.
“A change of mentality is the big one for us,” he said. “We’ve been doing a bit more work into the mind in the analysis room about who we are, what we want to get and want we want to achieve. That is the main aim, in terms of visualising your performance. If a player spends a bit of time thinking about his best performance - and putting himself in the right frame of mind - then he’ll have a better chance of delivering that performance.”
With Gylfi Sigurdsson out injured with a knee injury sustained against Brighton, Allardyce said it provides opportunities for other players to step up in his absence.
And despite the Potters’ current league position of 19th
, the Blues boss knows his side will have be on top of their game on Saturday against a side fighting for survival.
“(Stoke manager) Paul Lambert has made them very difficult to beat,” he added. “For us [when the management team arrived at Everton], we looked that we’d slipped up by not keeping as many clean sheets as we could have, and he’s working on the same lines.”