Marco Silva has called on his Everton team to be ruthless at both ends of the pitch when they host Manchester City on Saturday (5.30pm), as he urged his players to build on the “strong steps” made against top-six opposition last season.
Everton are unbeaten in their past five matches against teams who finished in the top six positions in the Premier League in 2018/19.
That run of results included conclusive victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United as the Blues delivered a series of progressive, authoritative displays in the final months of the last campaign.
The manager is confident his team can conjure up a similar performance when Premier League champions City visit Goodison Park.
He stressed his confidence Everton have the quality to stand toe-to-toe with such high-calibre opposition but emphasised the need for his players to display a clinical edge.
“We made that strong step [against top-six teams] last season,” he said.
“It is up to do that again.
“We know what type of quality they [City] have – they are one of the best teams in Europe.
“We have to believe in ourselves and in our capacity to play with aggressiveness without the ball and with the ball. When we have the ball, we have to show our quality.
“We have to be more clinical and ruthless in both boxes. That is the main thing in football. If you do that, for sure the results will come again. We are here to get results and you can only do that by scoring goals and not conceding.
“Last season, we had some not so good moments but we reacted so strong and settled everything.
“And after, the confidence grew again and we had a fantastic second half of the season. That is something [getting positive results] we want to do as fast as we can.”
Everton will face a City team who scored 201 goals on their way to securing back-to-back Premier League triumphs in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Pep Guardiola’s team again displayed their potency as an attacking force last weekend, beating 8-0 at Watford at the Etihad Stadium.
Everton boss Silva says his team must showcase the defensive resilience that brought them 10 clean sheets in 13 Premier League matches between winning at Cardiff City 3-0 in February and seeing off Watford at Goodison 1-0 last month.
“No one is happy when we concede goals like we have in the past two games [against Bournemouth and Sheffield United],” he said.
“But we have almost the same players that kept 10 clean sheets in 13 games.
“We achieved that by working hard and improving on any mistakes we made.
“We started well this season, not conceding in first two games [against Crystal Palace and Watford].
“We have conceded some goals and some of them have been sloppy.
“We have worked on that, we have analysed it, and are working to keep improving to become a solid team.”