Keane: 'We Have To Prove Our Quality'

Michael Keane insists Everton boast the quality to reproduce the consistently fluent football which catapulted Marco Silva's team into the Premier League’s top six earlier this season.

Defender Keane revealed the Blues are viewing their current break from action as an opportunity to work hard with a focus on rediscovering the form which had them mixing it with the division’s heavyweights prior to Christmas.

Everton will face Cardiff City on Tuesday night following 17 days without a top-flight game.

The Blues won the Goodison meeting between the teams back in November to claim sixth spot following a run of five victories and one draw from seven matches.

“We have shown how good we can be and that we can consistently play well,” Keane told

"We see each other train every day, we know we are good players and we have a top-class manager, so we just need to stick together.

“The aim is to get on a run like we did earlier this season and move as high up the table as possible.

“If you have just been promoted and go on a bad run, you might wonder if you have the quality to compete in this league.

“But if you look around our dressing room, there is so much quality and we should be higher in the table with the players we have.

“We must keep working hard and aiming to improve, which we do every day.

“We know things can change for us and we can finish the season strongly.”

Everton crammed 16 matches into 10 weeks from early December and played four times in 11 days directly before this ongoing fallow period.

Keane has been a near ever-present under manager Silva this term, the former Manchester United and Burnley player starting 24 of Everton’s 27 league matches and missing out twice early in the season only because of a head injury sustained in a game at Bournemouth.

He was recalled by England back in November and won his fifth cap in a Wembley victory over USA.

The 143 aerial duels won by Keane this season outstrips the comparative figure of any other Premier League defender. The 26-year-old has completed 84 headed clearances, fewer than only four of his top-flight counterparts.

Keane admitted his preference after the defeat at Watford a fortnight ago would have been to play again very quickly – but accepted an extended training period could work in Everton’s favour.

“You want to try to put things right quickly," said Keane.

“But if you view the break from matches positively, it has been a chance to look at what we’ve been doing wrong and to aim to improve.

“Hopefully in the next game, the supporters will see we have prepared very well and we will put in a good performance.”

Everton host Liverpool at Goodison Park five days after the trip to South Wales, the 233rd Merseyside derby marking the onset of a string of mouth-watering home fixtures, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all due in L4 before April is out.

“We have some good games to prove to everyone how good we can be,” added Keane.

“We know we have not beaten one of those top six teams yet and we want to show we can do it. We know we have the ability to do it, we just need to play well.

“We have to make sure we are as prepared as possible and go into every game with the mentality of believing we can win it.

“It is very important to show we are the side which was doing well not so long ago. We have come away from that in the recent period and need to get back to it. 

“We know we are capable of doing it for one game but we have to do it consistently.

“That is the challenge for us between now and the end of the season.”