Marco Silva insists it is in Everton’s nature to fight until the end and has promised the Blues “want to show our fans our character” whoever they face.
The Blues came up short on Saturday at the Etihad against title contenders Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola’s outfit ran out 3-1 winners.
It was a lot tougher for the reigning Premier League champions than the scoreline suggested as they faced an Everton side that refused to quit and created chances throughout the 90 minutes.
Richarlison blasted over the bar at 0-0, Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back with a firm header and could have had a second had Citizens goalkeeper Ederson not reacted well to save the youngster’s clever flick.
Indeed, Silva introduced Theo Walcott and Ademola Lookman off the bench with the Toffees trailing 2-0 and he reiterated his side’s desire to always drive forward whoever is in front of them.
“For us it doesn’t make sense [not to go for it],” he said. “We were losing 2-0 in that moment [of the substitutions] and it is something in my mind and in those of the players. We didn’t go to City just to sit back and wait for the final whistle – that is not for us.
“While the game is open, we have to fight and show character. We want to show our fans that we will do that until the end. Even after they went 3-1 ahead, we had a chance to score and that is our way.
“Even if our opponents are a really strong side – and Manchester City are one of the best Premier League teams – we have to show the character that we showed in the second half.”
Silva shuffled his pack for the trip up the M62, bringing in striker Calvert-Lewin to lead the line, allowing Richarlison to move back to the left wing.
It was the 21-year-old who pulled a goal back for the visitors in the second half, powering home a header from a Lucas Digne cross, the third time the Frenchman has laid on a goal for the youngster this season.
Calvert-Lewin has had to make do with appearances off the bench predominantly this term but netted his fifth goal of the season at the Etihad.
Silva has been impressed with the England Under-21 frontman but has challenged the former Sheffield United youngster to push his way to the front of the queue when it comes to who should lead the Everton line.
“He has to keep working like he is working, keep improving and show to me the desire to be our first-choice and be ready like he showed on Saturday afternoon,” added the Blues boss.
“He's a striker with big, big conditions in my opinion. He is a young player and we have to show some patience with him as well but he is a player we believe in as a club and I believe in as a player.
“In his moments he has his chances like this afternoon and he has to show this.
“He scored once and has a fantastic chance to score a second goal as well. We have to support him and, sometimes, the strikers need the team to create for them.”