Gylfi Sigurdsson says Everton are in a “good place” under “organised and passionate” manager Marco Silva.
Former Sporting Lisbon and Olymiakos boss Silva took charge of the Blues at Goodison Park for the first time as Everton wrapped up their preparations for the new campaign against Valencia on Saturday.
The Toffees equalised twice in a frantic first half hour when the sides shared four goals but the Spaniards struck decisively through Daniel Wass’s 18-yard blast with 15 minutes remaining.
Sigurdsson was playing his third game of pre-season following his involvement in the summer’s World Cup. He followed up his 90-minute runout in Rennes last week with a promising 85 minutes against Valencia. It was Sigurdsson’s corner which led to Michael Keane heading home the Blues’ second goal after Cenk Tosun’s arrowing low finish had drawn Everton level on 17 minutes.
Attacker Sigurdsson, who was again deployed in a central role behind striker Tosun, confessed the volume and intensity of Everton’s work on the training ground prevented them from operating at full tilt in their final friendly – but is convinced the Blues are heading in the right direction ahead of next week’s Premier League kick off.
“It was nice to get the 85 minutes in. We were playing a very tough team but we are getting there,” said Sigurdsson.
“We are doing a lot of training and are not as fresh as we would be in a Premier League game but we are closer to where we need to be.
“The most important thing was to improve our performance and apart from the goals we conceded it was better.
“I have only been back in for two weeks – and Jordan Pickford has just come back. We are in a good place.
“Tactically we are getting there. The manager has brought in his ideas and we are working a lot [to understand and apply them] on the tactics board and in training, as well.
“But I think we are looking good. We are working hard and hopefully we will be ready next weekend.”
Everton launch their Premier League season at newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers next Saturday, before welcoming Southampton to Goodison seven days later.
They face Huddersfield Town at home before the early-season international break – following a trip to Bournemouth in late August.
Sigurdsson, whose first pre-season action came in the opening 45 minutes at Blackburn Rovers nine days ago, joined the Blues with the season already under way last term and arrived when his side were in the midst of a hugely testing sequence of fixtures.
The 28-year-old insists Everton are determined to make a productive start this time around – and cannot wait to tackle the new season under Silva’s charge.
“We have a very good manager, who is very organised and passionate about his job,” added Sigurdsson, who was one of Iceland’s standout performers in Russia as the tiny nation came within a whisker of reaching the World Cup’s last-16 .
“He is hands on, he takes all of the training sessions. The players really like him and hopefully we can have a good start and he can be here a long time.
“You always want to improve and do better and we are all determined to have a better start than last year.
“It is such a great place, a really good club. We have a really good squad and we all get along. And we are really looking forward to the new season.”