Jordan Pickford says Everton are determined to rediscover their momentum at Goodison Park when Leicester City visit L4 on New Year’s Day.
Goalkeeper Pickford was in splendid touch against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and produced the save of the match when he tipped over a Florin Andone header from point-blank range.
He had no chance with Jurgen Locadia’s decisive second-half strike, however, a goal which consigned Everton to a defeat Pickford admitted was “difficult to take” in the wake of his side’s resounding 5-1 Boxing Day success over Burnley.
It took another close-range effort from Ben Gibson to deny Pickford a clean sheet at Turf Moor. But while he is satisfied with his own performances in the past two games, the former Sunderland player is primarily concerned with helping his side achieve the consistency which would enable them to climb the Premier League table.
Everton sit 10th but only two points behind Wolverhampton Wanderers in seventh.
“Leicester is another tough game and it comes less than 70 hours after we finished at Brighton but we haven’t won for three games at home and need to get that momentum going,” Pickford told evertontv.
“If we get that result, it will spark a good start to the new year. We did not get the result we wanted to finish off 2018 but that is football and we have another game to turn it around in a short space of time.
“I am starting to feel momentum myself and I keep plugging away and getting better and better and learning every day.
“I train as hard as I can and to the best of my ability, which is all I can do – and then I can hopefully express my talent on the pitch.”
Everton created a glut of chances against Chris Hughton’s Brighton, with Richarlison and Kurt Zouma both striking the frame of the goal as the Blues hunted an equaliser.
There were openings in the first 45 minutes for Michael Keane, Richarlison and Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Marco Silva’s side, meanwhile, restricted their hosts to a handful of opportunities. Pickford dived to his right to thwart Pascal Gross and then acrobatically denied Andone.
Locadia, though, seized on his good fortune to swipe home after Gross’ corner from the right deflected off Andre Gomes into the Dutchman’s path.
Manager Silva made a succession of attacking substitutions, while Bernard shot over at the end of a direct run and Lucas Digne blasted a free-kick into the wall – but the leveller would not come.
“The result was difficult to take,” said Pickford, who has played all 58 of his club's Premier League matches since transferring from the Stadium of Light in summer 2017.
“It is always tough to come away from home but after the momentum we gained against Burnley, the opportunity was there to come and get a result.
“We had a lot of chances and couldn’t convert them.
"Defensively, I thought we were very good and the goal we conceded was so unfortunate.
“I thought it was offside at first but it deflected off Andre.
“That happens and we had chances to score but didn’t take them.”
Everton had gone six unbeaten at Goodison before losing to Tottenham Hotspur two days before Christmas.
And Pickford is calling on his team to summon the same character which drove them to recover from that defeat by Spurs with the drubbing of Burnley.
He is also looking for Everton to demonstrate their goalscoring prowess, once more, after drawing a blank at Brighton following their five-goal showing three days earlier.
“Yes [we have a lot of goals in the side] but we couldn’t get that one against Brighton,” added Pickford.
“They are a tough side. Leicester will be tough, too, but our target is to get the three points.
“We work hard and we have a lot of depth in our squad and hopefully those things will help us achieve the win.”