Tom Davies insists Everton can light a fire under their Premier League campaign with victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Friday.
Everton have claimed only two points from their past four games – following a run of three straight wins – but would rejoin the Champions League-chasing pack by defeating Spurs.
Midfielder Davies, who made his 100th Everton start in last week’s draw with Crystal Palace, was exceptional in an FA Cup success against Tottenham two months ago.
He expects to encounter a Spurs team intent on making amends for losing that nine-goal contest – and determined to keep Everton at arm’s length in the pursuit of European football.
Beat the Londoners for a third time this season – Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the reverse fixture – and Everton will hurdle manager Jose Mourinho’s seventh-placed team.
“We want to keep the pressure on the teams ahead of us and move closer to the top four,” said Davies.
“The game on Friday is a chance to make a big statement, to go above Tottenham and push towards the higher positions.
“Europe is important for us, if it could be Champions League, that is what we want.
“It hasn’t been our best run of late but winning a game like this would spark the confidence and light back into the team.
“We have played Tottenham twice and done well and it is an opportunity to do that again and kick-start our season.
“They are a very good side, battling for the top places, and will be right at it, knowing if we beat them, we go above them.
“It is always great to play in these types of games.”
The meeting with Spurs will mark five years to the day since Academy graduate Davies came off the bench against Southampton for a senior debut.
He is four Everton appearances short of 150 and has gained regular playing time since originally coming into the team to replace the injured Allan towards the end of 2020.
Davies was “disappointed” his 101st start, at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday yielded only one point following a game featuring little in the way of scoring opportunities.
The 22-year-old, Everton’s lone authentic midfielder fit for duty in Sussex, delivered another tidy display, adding to the impression of a player growing comfortable in his own skin under the guidance of manager Carlo Ancelotti.
“It has been difficult with us not winning in the past few games but I’ve improved a lot this season,” said Davies.
“There are a lot of positives from it – and a lot for me to work on and improve.
“The direction the team is going and the way we are playing, I can see myself developing into the player I want to become.
“I am enjoying my football and playing for the club I love and want to keep doing that and improving and playing in the highest competitions in Europe and challenging for cups.
“These things aren’t too far away.
“It is so exciting for me to be part of a great club.
“The manager has helped me understand the game and develop.
“He gets the best out of me through training and games and talking to me about how I can play and improve.
“I owe him a lot for this year and how I have improved.
“And the staff, too, they are really good and always looking for us to get better.
“It is a good time for me to be here and I am really grateful for the opportunity.”
Everton are preparing for games against a handful of teams in their immediate vicinity in the Premier League standings.
The clash with Tottenham is followed by trips to Arsenal and West Ham United, which sandwich a visit from Aston Villa.
“Whichever team manages a good run of form, will get into those top-six spots,” added Davies.
“We are concentrating on getting into the rhythm of winning games again.
“There have been a lot of slip-ups [from rivals] and we’ve had chances to capitalise and not done it.
“Our focus is on not repeating those mistakes and ending the season as strongly as possible.
“Then, we can have no regrets.”