Marco Silva says Everton’s Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday represents a “big opportunity” for the Blues to show their “quality and courage” against the country’s best team.
Manager Silva engineered an upturn in fortunes against the Premier League’s elite clubs following his appointment in summer 2018.
He views City as the cream of the crop, though, and expects Everton to encounter perhaps their “most difficult” challenge of the campaign this weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s side have scored 24 goals in six top-flight matches this term and are targeting a third successive title.
Everton’s unbeaten seven match home run was halted by Sheffield United last week.
But after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s double helped the Blues navigate a tricky Carabao Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, Silva is urging his side to harness a crackling Goodison Park atmosphere to show what they’re made of against City this weekend.
“It is clear the quality Manchester City have… even if you like to be with the ball and create chances, we know how City can play and what they can obligate their opponents to do,” Silva told evertontv.
“We have to be really solid.
“But when we have the ball to show quality and courage and demand from ourselves the things we can do well.
"Be aggressive when we don’t have the ball but when we win it be aggressive also.
“Show quality and courage and the desire to create chances.
“It is a big challenge but a big opportunity for us to do our maximum and achieve a good result.
“If you achieve a good result, you are building a big moment.”
Silva’s side claimed points last season from all the Premier League's top-six finishers – 12 in all – with the exception of City.
And he insists the Blues' chances of correcting that single omission will be enhanced if his players channel their fans’ partisan backing into an energetic and confident display.
“That is the way we have to use it, the passion and support are big,” said Silva.
“They expect a minimum of 100 per cent commitment and desire and pace.
“And if we can give them a good performance it will be fantastic.
“The support will be big, the environment will be fantastic, a very good atmosphere.
“We have to use it in our way, to get them [fans] to play with us.
“It [competing with the league’s best teams] is something we have worked on since the first day.
“We made a big step in that type of challenge.
“It will be the first one this season – and City are maybe the most difficult to play against.
“They have quality and pace… a lot of quality in their offensive organisation with the capacity to disorganise the opponent so many times.”
Calvert-Lewin’s twin-strike at Hillsborough on Tuesday made it three goals in two games for the forward as he chalked up his century of Everton appearances.
The 22-year-old duly spelt out his intention to continue on the goal trail.
And Silva explained how Calvert-Lewin can achieve his aim.
“To keep working hard, more and more and more,” added Silva.
“He knows I am demanding from all of them and always with Dominic.
“He has to be even more demanding of himself.
“Improving every day at Finch Farm, going home with the sensation, ‘I improved something today’.
“And the good things will come to him.
“He is a young player. He did not play so many games in the past two seasons to grow more and win more experience and for it to be natural for him to start the games and try to score goals.
“He has many, many things to improve… and has to work to make the next step, [which is] to become a strong player in an Everton shirt. That is the most important thing.
"It is up to him to keep working and for us to keep demanding from him.”