Michael Keane insists Everton approaching Wednesday night's Carabao Cup second-round tie against Salford City (8.15pm) with a strong mentality will be essential in ensuring the Blues’ progress.
Everton head into the Goodison Park clash with the League Two outfit on the back of an impressive 1-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
The Blues mixed vibrant attacking play with resolute defensive work throughout the contest in north London – and Keane declared the importance of maintaining a high-performance level on a consistent basis.
The defender also outlined how success in cup competitions is a key focus for Everton this season.
“Performances and results like we got against Spurs mean nothing unless you go and back it up the week after and the week after that,” Keane told evertontv.
“We have Salford on Wednesday. On paper, we should be winning but if your mentality is not right they become tough games.
“We have to make sure we are on it, we have already spoken about that – and we will be.
“We want to finish as high as possible in the Premier League but we also want to get on a good cup run and see if we can win something.
“It is a massive game for us. They are lower league opposition but it is still a huge game for us.”
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KEANE: 'EVERTON HAVE SET DOWN MARKER'
Keane was one of Everton’s standout performers in the 2019/20 season run-in and saw his fine form rewarded with a recall to the England squad for the Three Lions' recent Nations League matches.
The 27-year-old also signed a new five-year contract with Everton in August.
Keane produced another exemplary display against Tottenham on Sunday, helping to shutout a talented Spurs attack boasting Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura.
“I feel I started the season well,” Keane added. “I have kept that confidence from after lockdown. Me and Yerry defended well together, communicated well.
"The main thing for me is consistency. I have added that to my game recently and it’s something I don’t want to let slip.
"I don’t want to be an up-and-down player. I want to be consistent and reliable in every game and that is what I will aim to do."
Everton v Salford City: Key information
When is kick-off and how can I watch?
The Blues’ first Goodison Park clash of the 2020/21 season kicks off at 8.15pm on Wednesday. The game is being screened live on Sky Sports.
Have we ever played Salford before?
Wednesday’s game will be the first time the Everton and Salford have contested a competitive fixture. The Ammies will be the 151st opposing team the Blues have played in the Club's full competitive history.
Who is Salford’s manager?
Salford’s boss is former Scotland international defender Graham Alexander. He was appointed in May 2018, succeeding joint-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson.
He led the club to promotion to the Football League for first time in their history in his maiden season in charge.
Before taking the reins at Salford, Alexander held managerial posts at Scunthorpe United and Fleetwood Town.
During the 2011/12 season, he had a spell as joint-caretaker manager of Preston North End alongside Everton Giant and current Blues Under-23s manager David Unsworth.
Where did Salford finish last season?
The Ammies ended the shortened 2019/20 campaign in 11th place, after the league positions were decided on a points-per-game basis.
Who is in Salford’s squad?
Among Salford’s ranks is former Everton midfielder Darron Gibson. The Republic of Ireland international played 69 games and scored two goals for the Toffees between 2012-2017.
He initially signed for the Ammies in February until the end of the 2019/20 season, before re-joining the club on a one-year deal last month.
Toxteth-born former Everton Academy player Ibou Touray, meanwhile, has established himself as a key figure for Salford since joining the club from Nantwich Town in 2017.
A full Gambian international, the 25-year-old left-back’s impressive performances saw him recognised with the Club’s 2019/20 Player of the Season and Supporters’ Player of the Season awards.
Everton Academy graduate Alex Denny also joined Salford this summer – the midfielder made one senior Toffees appearance, featuring as a substitute in the Blues’ 3-0 Europa League win over Apollon Limassol in December 2017.
KEY SUMMER SIGNING: Jason Lowe
Experienced central midfielder Lowe joined Salford in July following two years at Bolton Wanderers.
The 29-year-old, who is also comfortable operating at right-back, came through the ranks at Blackburn Rovers and went on to play in the Premier League for his boyhood team.
He made almost 200 first-team appearances for Blackburn before moving to Birmingham City in 2017.
Salford’s 2020/21 results so far
12 September, League Two: Salford City 2-2 Exeter City
9 September, EFL Trophy group stage: Salford City 0-6 Manchester United U21
5 September, Carabao Cup first round: Salford City 1-1 Rotherham United (Salford won 4-2 on pens)