Michael Keane expressed his belief he is playing the best football of his Everton career, as he revealed the Blues’ determination to build momentum after their 3-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday.
The 25-year-old was a commanding presence alongside Kurt Zouma in the heart of the Everton defence against the Cottagers, as they helped lay the platform for a dominant second-half display.
No Toffees player made more clearances than Keane during the match, while his confidence in possession also impressed.
Only central midfield duo Idrissa Gana Gueye and Tom Davies made more passes than the England international, who boasted an 82 per cent passing accuracy.
The 25-year-old’s impressive performance was his second within a week, having slotted seamlessly back into the Blues back four on his injury comeback against Arsenal last Sunday.
Keane suffered a hairline skull fracture in the Blues’ 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on August 25 but revealed his eagerness to get back into first-team contention as soon as possible.
“I was desperate to get back,” he told evertontv. “I feel like I started the season well.
“There’s a lot of competition for places and I thought the sooner I get back in the team the better, to and show the manager what I can do again.
“That’s the quickest I could have possibly come back. I’ve still got to protect my head [with strapping] for another week or so. I’ve been lucky, though, I’ve had a lot of headers and not felt anything.
“I think, consistently this is the best I’ve played since I’ve been here. I believe I’ve played well in all the games I played so far this season.
“I feel good, I feel strong. I just need to continue that form. I think the clean sheet against Fulham will give us a lot of confidence to kick on.”
Keane says Everton are resolved to building on their vibrant second-half performance when they take on Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
The Toffees flew out of the blocks after the break against Fulham.
Having minutes earlier hit the crossbar from the penalty spot, Gylfi Sigurdsson set the Blues on their way with a sweetly-struck left-footed effort on 56 minutes, before Cenk Tosun nodded home his first goal of the season.
Everton continued to attack with pace, power and guile – and Sigurdsson slotted home his second just a minute from time to put the game beyond any doubt.
Keane believes the Icelander’s brilliantly-taken first goal was the catalyst for the Blues’ authoritative performance.
“I think the first goal settles any nerves and gets the crowd behind you,” he explained. “It’s massive in any game.
“After we got that, the confidence grew and we scored a few more. We’ve got some big games coming up and we want to progress in the cup on Tuesday and then we go away to Leicester.
"We’ve got some tough games coming up and we want to keep winning. We want to keep this momentum now. Hopefully this can kickstart something good for us.”