Marco Silva is setting his Everton players the goal of consistently summoning 90-minute displays to match the quality of their football during the initial exchanges of last Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.
Silva’s team flew at their illustrious hosts from kick-off and created the clearest chances in a fiercely contested opening 25 minutes.
But it was the controlled manner of Everton’s performance at Stamford Bridge which particularly pleased manager Silva.
The Blues extinguished the threat of a formerly red-hot Chelsea front three and exerted their grip on a midfield featuring the London club’s celebrated trio of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic.
Indeed, until Chelsea's industrious left-back Marcos Alonso walloped a volley at goal on 23 minutes. Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had been cast in the role of onlooker.
“We were very, very good for 20 to 25 minutes, good on the ball and breaking through their pressure every time,” Silva told evertontv.
“We started well… and showed our quality.
“That is what I want. If we can do it for more time during the match – that is our goal, it is what I want and we are working on that.
“Chelsea like to press high and are strong in those situations but we broke through that and produced moments in our offensive organisation to create problems for them and chances to score.
“Sometimes in the last pass, we missed something, but we did well.
“Our players did everything we asked from them when we planned the match and in the first half we had a very, very good shape."
Everton’s clean sheet at Stamford Bridge was their third in six Premier League matches and they have conceded nine goals fewer than at the corresponding stage of last season.
The Blues outran Maurizio Sarri’s team, too. The combined 117.5km covered by Silva’s men was 3.3km further than the total distance run by Chelsea’s players.
Silva confessed to a trace of regret over his side not winning the match – but was nevertheless satisfied Everton had something to show for a brave performance after similar efforts at Arsenal and Manchester United this term went unrewarded.
“The point is really important for us and, to be honest, I thought we deserved more in the other two games against this type of team – at Emirates and Old Trafford," said Silva.
“We could have been better with the ball in some moments – and even with some set-pieces – in the second half.
“Some of our players were tired because we put in a fantastic effort throughout the match. It wasn’t three points but it was one point and we have to be happy because we deserved it.
“We achieved a good result and this is our way. I am here to create conditions for us to do that [compete with the Premier League’s pre-eminent sides] and in the future to challenge more and more and more.
“I know the gap [to those teams] is big but it is our way and we made a good step against Chelsea.”
Everton’s next away match is at Anfield and the latest renewal of the Merseyside derby in early December.
Silva, though, is parking thoughts of his side’s increasingly productive form on the road, with Cardiff City, fresh from a precious victory over Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend, due at Goodison Park immediately after the international break.
“The players proved to me they could compete with the top teams even in the past two matches [against Arsenal and Manchester United] when we did not achieve the result," added Silva.
“Now they will go to their national teams and some players will rest and work with me.
“The Cardiff match is the most important thing for me and [the only thing] in my mind.”