Marco Silva says his players are united in their determination to “keep fighting for what is best for Everton Football Club”.
Fortune has not been kind on Everton in the past month, with a handful of key decisions going against Silva’s side – who face Southampton this weekend.
The serious injury suffered by Andre Gomes against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, meanwhile, added to the issues keeping Bernard and summer signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin out of action.
Everton’s draw with Spurs featured a succession of interruptions for video assistant referee referrals.
One lengthy hold-up ended with Everton denied a penalty for Dele Alli’s handball in the box because the Tottenham player “was under pressure from the attacker [Yerry Mina] as the ball struck his hand”.
Silva’s team had another penalty appeal rejected after Richarlison collided with defender Davinson Sanchez. In Everton’s previous Premier League game, VAR intervened to award Brighton & Hove Albion a penalty – the first given with the aid of television replays this season.
“In football sometimes you have these moments, some decisions that are difficult for us to understand… tough injuries to key players,” Silva told evertontv.
“No one is saying, ‘Someone is making them [decisions negatively impacting Everton] on purpose’.
“Now is the moment for us to show how we are strong as a football club.
“We keep fighting because it is our obligation, we keep fighting for what is best for Everton Football Club. I am 100 per cent sure we will do the same thing on Saturday.
“With all these things that have happened to us, all the players in our dressing room need our support to give the right answers every single day and, of course, on the matchday.
“My feeling now is we will give a good answer with the support of everyone – first of all our fans. I think they realise how tough the past month was for us, all these things happening to us, the decisions, injuries to key players.
“But in these types of moments you can see how you are strong as a dressing room, the togetherness we have in our dressing room and among all the staff.”
Everton have won two and draw one of their past four games in all competitions, beating West Ham and scoring late to draw with Spurs in the Premier League and progressing to the Carabao Cup quarter finals with victory over Watford.
Their one defeat in that period came in last month’s ill-fated clash with Brighton when Silva’s team appeared set for a first away victory this season before the hosts levelled through their VAR-awarded penalty.
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SILVA EXCLUSIVE ON GOMES, RICHARLISON AND VAR
Everton, though, have an opportunity to win on the road at Southampton and eat into their five-point gap to sixth place.
Moreover, success on the south coast would represent a significant boon heading into a fortnight’s international break.
“It is a really important game for us, for both teams,” said Everton manager Silva.
“After the last international break, because we didn’t have a good moment [prior to the two weeks of Premier League inactivity], we had to react really strongly.
“I have to tell you reacting strongly, like we did against West Ham, creates confidence for our players as well.
“All of us know what happened against Brighton was really unfair for us.
“We don’t need to talk about it again but it’s good to remind our players because they need this confidence [from playing well in the match].
“After that we had two home games, against Watford and Tottenham, and we reacted well, we won one and in the other we were always closer to winning than our opponent, in my opinion, even if we just scored in the last minutes of the game.
“We have a tough game this weekend, away against an opponent who want to win, who want points as well, and we have to play our best, because we want the three points and to go into the international break with a good feeling.”