Lucas Digne says Everton must be brave and ambitious in possession to complete a turnaround in home fortunes when Aston Villa visit Goodison Park on Saturday.
Everton maintained hopes of European qualification last Friday when they beat Arsenal for a 10th away victory of the season.
They’ve conceded only 15 goals in 16 away games, scoring 22 times, figures which support left-back Digne’s assertion his side boast the personnel for an effective counter-attacking set-up.
Now, insists Digne, it’s time for Everton to prove their quality on the ball in a trio of potentially season-defining home matches, beginning with Villa this weekend.
Everton, who have won five of 16 fixtures at Goodison, matching their away goals tally of 22 but conceding 25, are boosted for the run-in by the returns of a number of influential players.
Their past two Premier League games in L4 have finished level, including a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago.
“The Tottenham game was one of our best performance at home, we have to keep the same spirit and play forward and attack the opponent,” Digne told evertontv.
“[Away from home] we have less possession during the game, we are confident when we have to defend and are defending well in this moment,
“We are more compact and, maybe, on the counter-attack, we are more comfortable.
“But we have the quality to play and have the ball and we have to show this.
“It was a good performance against Tottenham but we were unlucky with the result.
“We have to keep the spirit from that match and at Arsenal and stay strong and I think we can have the win [against Aston Villa].”
The attacking output of France international Digne illustrates the contrast between Everton’s home and away fortunes.
Springing forwards into spaces vacated by offensive-minded home teams, he’s created five goals.
At Goodison, Digne has laid on one strike, for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in October’s Merseyside derby draw.
The former Barcelona player’s five assists away from home are worth nine points to his side and two of them enabled Calvert-Lewin to further add to his goals tally.
Centre-forward Calvert-Lewin was back from a short absence for the visit to Arsenal, joining the senior quartet of Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina, Bernard and Fabian Delph in returning from time out.
Having the England international up front, reckons Digne, makes Everton a tougher proposition for opponents.
“It is totally different, he changes our way, he can keep the ball easily in front and occupy defenders of the opposing team,” said Digne, whose side also host Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers before the season finishes.
“He is an important player for us, he can keep the ball and score with his head and feet.
“He is a really good player and we need him.”
Midfielder Allan and Jordan Pickford both played their second straight games after injury at Arsenal.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, is optimistic of having Michael Keane available to face Villa after the defender missed last week’s game in north London.
“Maybe it is the first week of the year we have all the team and it is good for the final rush,” added Digne.
“It is really important for us to have the whole squad and competition in all positions to push everybody.”