Seamus Coleman says Everton’s dominant performance at Crystal Palace on Saturday is testament to manager Marco Silva’s progressive philosophy.
The Irishman admitted his frustration the Blues could not convert their vibrant attacking play into a victory but believes the increasing authority showcased by the team points to an exciting future.
Everton carved out numerous opportunities at Selhurst Park but were denied by the woodwork and some inspired goalkeeping by Palace stopper Vicente Gauita as the home side escaped with a point.
Bernard saw a low, driven effort smack the upright seven minutes after half-time, while a deflected Lucas Digne cross cannoned off the inside of the post late in the piece.
Substitute Cenk Tosun’s brilliantly improvised backheel, meanwhile, forced an excellent point-blank stop from Guaita.
Everton’s superiority was underlined by the fact they rained in 22 shots at goal, with the home side mustering just eight efforts during the game.
The result represented the Blues’ seventh clean sheet in their past nine Premier League matches. Everton have collected 17 points in this period.
Skipper Coleman believes the Toffees’ effervescent display against Palace highlights the rising confidence levels throughout the squad.
“All around the pitch, I felt like we dominated the game,” he said.
“That’s no disrespect to Crystal Palace because they are a very good team. So, when I say we dominated, we always had to be careful of them on the break. I think we handled that very well.
“We created chances, we got into good positions, the keeper made good saves and we hit the post a couple of times.
“Confidence is high, we have not changed an awful lot [in our style], but the manager has stuck to the same principles – we’re dominating games more and getting some good results.
“I think, with the confidence we’ve got, the lads are starting to play better, be more comfortable on the ball and do things that we weren’t doing two or three months ago, when results weren’t going so well for us.
“But we need to be coming here and getting all three points to kick on, and that’s something we’ll be looking to do next season.”
Everton’s ambition was evident from the first whistle at Selhurst Park, with the Blues consistently committing men forward and advancing into threatening areas.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes. First, he latched onto a Jordan Pickford punt forward before racing clear and attempting to place an effort beyond Guaita, but the Spanish keeper stood tall to make a smart stop.
The England Under-21 international was then fractions away from getting on the end of a fizzing Richarlison cross into the six-yard box.
The Blues kept up the pressure after the break - ending the game with a 64 per cent share of possession - but could not find the breakthrough their performance merited.
The point sees Everton leapfrog Watford and go eighth in the Premier League table.
“I felt we dealt with Palace very well and their dangerous players," Coleman added.
"Just in front of goal, we got into some good positions and didn’t make the most of it. That’s something to try to build looking forward.
“It’s trying to find that consistency away from home at times, but I have to say the last couple of months we have looked much better.
“At the back we have tightened up a lot and kept a lot of clean sheets, so that’s a positive and I think we’re finishing the season quite well.
“We just couldn’t convert our chances and probably weren’t clinical enough in the final third.”
Palace came into the match in confident mood, having secured an impressive 3-2 victory at top-four contenders Arsenal last weekend.
Everton kept them at arm's length throughout, however, with the Eagles not producing a single effort on target.
Coleman credited manager Silva for devising a gameplan which helped to nullify the Eagles’ attacking threat.
“The likes of Wilfried Zaha can cause real damage, and the manager set us up in a way that meant we were never outnumbered on the counter-attack," he explained.
"I feel that’s why we controlled the game so well.
“Coming here and getting a clean sheet is a bonus but we wanted to finish the job off as well.”