Ben Godfrey says a collective confidence in Everton’s multi-dimensional attack to conjure match-winning moments is underpinning the resolute effort at the other end of the field.
Centre-back Godfrey was typically uncompromising as Everton resisted Arsenal on Friday for a fourth clean sheet in five away games.
Richarlison ensured Everton converted the shutout into three points, barrelling forwards to deliver the cross that home goalkeeper Bernd Leno turned into his own net.
The victory in north London positioned Everton squarely in the fight for European qualification.
A win for Chelsea on Saturday increased the difficulty of claiming a top-four spot at a stroke – but Godfrey is in the mood to take the issue right down to the wire.
“We have a winning mentality and are a really competitive side,” said Godfrey.
“Every win creates a good feeling and it was a massive three points against Arsenal.
“First and foremost, it was important we were strong defensively because Arsenal have a lot of quality in the attacking third.
“We had to stick together and produce a good defensive display.
“We know if we stay in a game, whoever it is against, we have the quality to go and punish sides.
“Richarlison should get credit for what he did, he showed strength and was direct and made the goal happen.
“It was a great bit of play and he is always going to cause problems when he does that [runs at defenders].”
Godfrey has been a revelation since moving to Everton from Norwich City at the beginning of October last year.
Following a baptism-of-fire debut off the bench against Liverpool – out of position at right-back, to boot – soon after joining, he’s become a regular pick for manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Godfrey’s start at Arsenal was his 23rd in the Premier League for Everton and featured a number of characteristic contributions.
He completed five clearances, recovered possession four times and made two blocks and won the same number of aerial duels.
Of the three tackles he won, the standout was a perfectly fair bone-shuddering challenge on Dani Ceballos, the Arsenal midfielder who was the recipient of a similarly emphatic greeting from Godfrey at Goodison Park back in December.
Godfrey lost 4-0 on his previous visit to Emirates Stadium, with Norwich last term.
There was satisfaction at gaining a measure of personal redemption, then, as Everton shrugged off disturbed pre-match preparations as a consequence of Arsenal fan protests outside the ground.
Now, insists Godfrey, Everton must replicate their durable performance in the capital across the final six games, beginning with Aston Villa’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday.
“We have a good away record, we have the character and togetherness to come to difficult places and get results and long may it continue,” said Godfrey.
“The last time I was here it was a heavy defeat and that proves Arsenal’s ability in the final third.
“It also shows our quality and defensive resilience to keep a clean sheet.
“The protest didn’t affect us at all, we have jobs as players to go over the white line and get three points, which we did.”
Everton have won 10 of 16 away games but only five of 16 at home.
Since beating Southampton at Goodison on 1 March, Ancelotti’s side have drawn two and lost one on their own ground.
“Our home record isn’t as good as we’d like and it needs to improve quickly,” added Godfrey.
“Of course, the Champions League is in reach.
“It is a really difficult task, we know that, but we will keep fighting until the end.
“We have six big games, we will go into every one of them trying to win and giving 100 per cent, then see where we finish.”