Michael Keane is certain Carlo Ancelotti’s attention to detail on Everton’s training ground will prompt a reversal of recent fortunes.
Italian Ancelotti vowed after Everton’s defeat by Manchester United this month to “focus… on the defensive aspect” ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Fulham.
Defender Keane joined up with England following the encounter with old club United and only returned to Merseyside on Thursday.
But he is familiar with the methods of Italian Ancelotti, who favours a hands-on approach to correcting fault lines – while Assistant Manager Davide Ancelotti meets players individually for analytical sessions.
Keane has grown into a senior figure under manager Ancelotti, a process accelerated when playing next to teenager Jarrad Branthwaite in the closing weeks of last season.
The former Burnley player, capped 12 times by England, is Everton’s only ever present this season, starting and finishing all 11 matches across the competitions.
“The manager mainly does his work with us on the training pitch,” Keane told evertonfc.com.
“We have short team meetings before games so they [Ancelotti and staff] can let us know about our positions and how we will play.
“But most of our work is on the pitch. Our main focus is on what we do, we always know what to expect from our opponents but the important thing is how we want to play and our roles in that.
“I analyse every match with Davide, a couple of days after the game he will ask for a meeting following training – he does that with a lot of players.
“We’ll go into the cinema room, all my clips will be up and he has notes.
“We run through my clips… I’ll explain why I have done certain things and he’ll say what could have been different.
“It really helps and makes you more aware of what the staff expect from you tactically.”
Keane could potentially begin a 100th Premier League game for Everton when Leeds United visit Goodison Park next week.
Start number 99 is likely to come at Fulham this weekend when Everton will aim to halt a three-game losing run and rediscover the form which yielded 13 points from their opening five matches.
Keane has played every minute of Everton’s past 18 league fixtures, a run stretching back to the home draw with Manchester United on 1 March.
That period featured the emergence of Branthwaite, the 18-year-old centre-half who signed from Carlisle United in January and featured in the final four Premier League matches last term.
For Keane, that meant an opportunity to draw on his experience of being the junior defensive partner.
“I talk a lot to whoever I am playing with but when a young lad comes in you talk more than normal,” said Keane.
“Even if you are just shouting to keep them concentrated and aware of what is around them.
“Receiving that communication was a big help for me when I was younger and playing with experienced pros.
“I was definitely not as loud as I am now. I would always try to talk but nowhere near as much as at the minute.
“When you go out and play mens football, it [on-pitch communication] is something you really notice and try to add to your game and year-on-year I have improved that.”
Branthwaite’s introduction to the team coincided with a run for 19-year-old Anthony Gordon, who was handed a full debut against Liverpool back in June and has 16 First-Team appearances – 14 of those since Ancelotti was appointed 11 months ago.
“Jarrad was brilliant in the games he played,” added Keane.
“Him and Anthony have the right work ethic and discipline.
“It is credit to them, they have obviously had good upbringings and been taught the right way at Everton.
“They are both good guys to have around the changing room and eager to improve and learn and listen.
“I am sure they will keep improving and push a long way.”