Zouma: Everton Form Is Fruit Of Silva's Labours

Kurt Zouma says Everton’s glittering form is a product of considerable work invested on the training ground by Marco Silva since taking charge last summer.

Centre-back Zouma became Silva’s seventh acquisition when he joined on loan from Chelsea on August’s transfer deadline day.

He has played 31 Premier League games this season – 28 of them starts – and been one of the cornerstones of Everton’s recently miserly rearguard.

Silva’s side has recorded eight clean sheets in 10 matches. Only three Premier League teams – Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea – boast more shutouts this term than Everton’s 14.

Zouma was immaculate alongside fellow centre-half Michael Keane as Everton neutered the physical threat of Burnley front pair Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood in Friday’s 2-0 Goodison Park victory.

He demonstrated his nose for danger by making four interceptions – the most of any player on the field – and completing five clearances.

The 24-year-old, twice a Premier League winner with his parent club, reckons his game has evolved under Silva. And Zouma insists Everton are profiting collectively from their boss’s diligence, too.

“He is a very good manager,” Zouma told evertontv.

“He has given me a lot of help and advice. He is very focussed in training sessions and he’s next to the players all the time, speaking to us.

“We watch lots of videos. And the way we’re playing now – the manager deserves this because he’s been working very hard with us all season and now, eight clean sheets in 10 games, you can see that everything is going well.

“We are working hard in training and everybody knows his position.

“You can see we talk to each other a lot, we try to motivate each other, we give each other the right attitude and we leave everything on the pitch.

“We always go out there to give 100 per cent and if we keep playing like this, not only defensively, but also the guys up front, pressing very well like they always do, we can win any game.”

Everton laid siege to Burnley’s goal in the opening exchanges of last week’s encounter.

The hosts scored twice inside 20 minutes and during that lightning start had more than 90 per cent of the ball.

Burnley summoned a response after the break but Everton stood firm to extend their run of home clean sheets to a fifth match.

A scoreless draw with Liverpool in early March was followed by a 2-0 victory over Chelsea. Arsenal were next to fall at Goodison, the Gunners beaten 1-0 in L4.

And Manchester United were steamrollered 4-0 after running into a rampant Everton two weeks ago. Silva's side has claimed 20 points from 10 matches in all and will aim to add to their tally when they complete their 2018-19 campaign at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

“Keeping a clean sheet at home is special and you could see the crowd, they were very happy with us,” said France international Zouma.

“As defenders, a clean sheet is our target, that’s why we play and we try to put in that hard work.

“We started on the right foot against Burnley and everybody put in a shift. We had a bit of imbalance at the start of the second half but then we controlled the game, I think.

“We came back to what we do best: keeping the ball and defending well. We had another clean sheet, so everybody is happy and we made the fans happy, which is the most important thing.

"But we need to stay focussed for Tottenham and play like we know we can in that match."

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