Gylfi Sigurdsson says Everton’s strong response after a difficult spell of results last season offers encouragement the Blues can swiftly improve their form.
Everton were edged out 1-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, with the Toffees playing more than a third of the match with 10 men after Seamus Coleman’s 56th-minute sending off.
Icelander Sigurdsson insists the Blues must “stick together and work even harder” as they strive to embark on a positive series of results after the international break and climb the Premier League table.
Everton suffered three consecutive defeats back in February but reacted in impressive fashion, winning 21 points from their final 11 games of the 2018/19 campaign. That run included convincing victories over top-six contenders Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Sigurdsson emphasised how the Everton players are determined to again prove their collective quality and character during the Blues' upcoming matches.
Next up for Marco Silva’s team is a Premier League clash with West Ham United at Goodison Park on 19 October. Everton then take on Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium one week later, before hosting Watford in a last-16 Carabao Cup tie on 29 October.
“We can learn from last year – we were in a tough position and managed to get ourselves out of it,” Sigurdsson said.
“It’s been very frustrating and disappointing the last few weeks. Mentally, it’s very tough and it’s not easy to be in this position.
“I think we can do it [improve our results]. We have to stick together and make sure we work even harder.”
Despite playing a large chunk of Saturday’s clash at Burnley with 10 men, Everton enjoyed almost 60 per cent possession at Turf Moor.
Alex Iwobi twice came close to making a breakthrough during the first half, with one shot cannoning off Ben Mee and deflecting agonisingly wide and another goalbound effort well blocked by Matthew Lowton.
Everton directed six shots at goal during the first half, compared to Burnley’s two, as the Blues carried a significantly greater goal threat than the home team.
Richarlison forced a smart stop from Nick Pope early in the second half as the Toffees sustained pressure but Coleman’s sending off was to prove a key moment.
While the Blues responded well to the blow of losing their skipper – continuing to play on the front foot – Burnley steadily gained a foothold in the game and Jeff Hendrick’s powerfully-struck volley from Ashley Westwood’s corner delivery secured victory for the Clarets.
Sigurdsson admitted Everton’s frustration that they could not convert their superiority into goals.
He also underlined the Blues’ hunger to return to the defensive resilience that brought them 10 clean sheets in 13 Premier League matches between February's 3-0 success at Cardiff City and a 1-0 home victory over Watford in August.
“We knew what to expect from Burnley, they are obviously very strong from corners and set-pieces,” said Sigurdsson, who will be in action for his country over the coming week as Iceland host France and Andorra in European Championship qualifiers.
“But it felt like the game was there for the taking.
“We’re obviously very disappointed to concede from a corner and that’s something we have to get right.”