Bernard On Vital Moment In Everton Career

Bernard wants his eye-catching return to Everton’s team to open the door to more opportunities to impress Carlo Ancelotti.

The Brazilian forward scored and delivered an imaginative and creative display after being recalled for this month’s meeting with Manchester United – a game Bernard admitted was significant on a personal note after waiting 114 days to begin a league match for Everton.

Satisfaction with his own performance – which he marked with a crisp low strike for his first league goal this season – was clouded by the disappointment of defeat nonetheless, with Ancelotti’s team missing a chance to return to the Premier League’s summit.

Everton go to Fulham on Sunday aiming to gain ground on the six teams in front of them – and with Bernard hoping for a 42nd league start since coming to Goodison Park in the summer of 2018.

“The goal came at a really important moment for me [in my Everton career],” said Bernard.

“It was really good for my confidence and maybe it will give me more minutes on the pitch to show what I can do.

“I’d not had many opportunities to play but I continued to focus and work really hard.

“I believe when you work hard in training the opportunities will always come your way.

“I was dedicating myself every day, when you are not playing, training is your games.

“With this dedication, the opportunity came my way and I made the most of it.

“I was happy with my performance and goal but very upset by the defeat.

“We had high expectations and wanted to win the game and return to the top of the table but it didn’t happen.”

Bernard’s two earlier starts this season came in the Carabao Cup: in Everton's second round win over Salford City and at Fleetwood Town in round three when Bernard scored one goal and assisted another in a comfortable victory.

Everton beat West Ham United at the next stage to set up a quarter-final tie with Manchester United, as manager Ancelotti’s side began the season with an eight-match unbeaten run.

They hit a bump in the road prior to this month’s international break, losing games against Southampton and Newcastle United before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United won at Goodison Park.

Bernard, formerly with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, maintains Everton are one good result from clicking back into gear.

And the 28-year-old insists there is a collective will to usher in another positive sequence with victory at Craven Cottage this weekend.

“We work hard and are dedicated as a group and every player understands the objectives and goals of the team,” said Bernard.

“We know and understand about the history of Everton, the history of players who would give their lives for the Club.

“It is important we all understand the meaning of the Club.

“We had some very good results at the start of this season but, unfortunately, are on a run of three defeats.

“It is a different season from normal and a lot can happen.

“Every point is important, we need to come back [against Fulham following November's international break] ready and alert.

“There are a lot of decisive games in November and December and we need to get points.

“There are a lot of teams clustered at the top of the table, no team is running away.

“I believe it will be an open season, so the teams remaining focused and concentrated and getting points on the table will remain towards the top of the league.”

If Bernard figures from the beginning against Fulham it will represent the first time he's started successive Premier League games since playing three on the spin in January.

"It is a pleasure and a joy to work with Carlo Ancelotti," added Bernard.

"He is a winner and widely respected.

"Working with him day to day is very important for me professionally.

“We are very keen to win to stay towards the top of the table and Fulham are highly motivated to come away from the bottom.

“We need to take a lot of care and think carefully about this game to try to get back to winning ways.”