Gylfi Sigurdsson believes Everton retaining their strong team spirit will be key to cementing a positive start to the season as the playmaker targeted back-to-back wins at Goodison this week.
Fresh from his man-of-the-match display in last weekend’s 2-1 home victory over Southampton, the Blues’ record signing was a constant source of creativity in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth, whipping in the cross which Michael Keane nodded home to put the visitors two goals ahead.
Sigurdsson expressed his disappointment that the Toffees could not see out the game as a Josh King penalty and Nathan Ake goal saw the Cherries hit back for a point.
But the Iceland international believes Everton’s resolve at having to battle on with 10 men for the second straight away game – Richarlison’s dismissal at the Vitality Stadium following Phil Jagielka’s red card against Wolves on the opening day of the season – shows the squad’s togetherness under manager Marco Silva.
Now, with the Blues welcoming Rotherham United to Goodison on Wednesday in the second round of the Carabao Cup, followed by the visit of Huddersfield Town in the Premier League three days later – Sigurdsson is eager to build on progress made with successive wins.
“We feel like there’s a good team spirit [in this squad],” said the 28-year-old. “We’ve had two away games and have been reduced to 10 men twice and we’ve had to battle all the way through.
“Over the course of the season you need to pick up points away from home like we have so far but it would have been nice to have followed up last weekend’s win with another three points. We need to build on this, though.
“We’re now looking for wins in both games this week, to get through in the cup and then it’s a big home game for us [against Huddersfield]. It would be a fantastic week and a good start to the season if we get two wins now.
“[Marco Silva] has been fantastic, not just for myself but for the team. He’s really got us going. The team spirit is really good, we are working hard and working together, pressing from the front. We are organised and we feel we can do better things this season.”
Despite being shown red cards before half-time in the 2-2 draws at Wolves and Bournemouth, Everton remain unbeaten in 2018-19 following the home success over Southampton, with West Ham United the visitors to Goodison on 16 September after the international break.
“We have mixed emotions [from the 2-2 draw at Bournemouth],” added Sigurdsson. “Coming in at half-time with 10 men, you would have taken a point. Going 2-0 up with 25 minutes to go, it’s very disappointing not to be coming away with three points from a tough away ground. But we’re still unbeaten and it was a tough afternoon going down to 10 men early on. The team did ever so well to go 2-0 up with 10 men.”
Sigurdsson also sent his wishes to fellow 2017 summer signing Keane, who was taken off on a stretcher in injury-time on Saturday after a clash of heads with teammate Idrissa Gana Gueye while clearing a Bournemouth cross into the penalty area.
Keane was taken to hospital and boss Silva said in his post-match interview that he was hopeful on the defender’s condition.
“He’s gone for the ball full-hearted,” said Sigurdsson. “Unluckily, these things happen but hopefully he’ll be back with us soon. It’s not nice to see him in that way. Of course we are thinking of him and hopefully he’ll make a speedy recovery.”