Rafa Benitez wants to construct an Everton team that marries creative flair with the discipline and structure required for winning football.
Spaniard Benitez is working to a tight timeframe in terms of preparations for the Premier League kick-off against Southampton next month.
Securing points any which way is the immediate concern, then. But Benitez is aiming to steadily introduce a style that blends enterprise and control, in the image of the evolution he oversaw during three glittering years in charge of Valencia.
Benitez, appointed Everton manager last month, used his first player meeting to spell out expectations over commitment and spirit.
The response to that message during the opening fortnight of pre-season training, coupled with complete buy-in to his methods, represent early sources of encouragement.
“I am really happy because everybody is trying to help,” Benitez told evertontv.
“The staff have been really helpful, the players are training really well and the commitment is there.
“We tried to create a good atmosphere in terms of what we want to achieve and how we want to organise things.
“Everything is going according to plan.
“Normally [in initial meetings with a squad], you say to them… we want to do well and support them and try to improve them as players.
“To create a team spirt that will allow us to compete with anyone.
“And I also explain what I am expecting from them is to give everything.
“That is what I am expecting and what the fans are expecting from the players.”
Benitez is renowned for an ability to shut down opponents and his two title-winning teams at Valencia boasted La Liga’s stingiest defences – conceding only 27 goals in 38 matches in both 2001/02 and 2003/04.
But Benitez tells a story from his second championship season at the Mestalla to illustrate a desire for offensive football.
Valencia were crowned champions with two games to spare and had they scored twice in their final match – at home to Albacete – would have surpassed Real Madrid’s league-high 72-goal tally.
“I was really upset that year because we finished second in the league in terms of scoring goals,” said Benitez.
"We could have been top scorers and conceded the fewest goals.
“That was my target.
“But my players were already celebrating and we lost the game 1-0.
“It didn’t matter because we were with the trophy and everyone was so happy.
“But I was a little bit upset because we couldn’t score just one goal to be top of the league in terms of scoring.
“That is what I like to do.
“Winning teams have this balance… scoring goals and not conceding.
“That means your team is organised.
"Some people think if your team is organised, it is not nice, or is defensive.
“No, the team that is organised has more chances. You will create chances and not give opportunities.
“That is what we are trying to find and I hope we will do it.”
Everton host Southampton on 14 August and have matches at Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion before the end of that month.
Benitez, then, has four weeks until his first competitive game as Everton boss.
The priority in the meantime – on the training ground and in friendly contests at this month’s Florida Cup and against Manchester United – is instilling a measure of that balance the manager hopes will grow into a hallmark of his Everton teams.
“Balance means you have to be strong enough in attack, while keeping an eye on defence,” continued Benitez, “and always strong enough in defence and sure you can be a threat on the counter-attack.
“In transitions, all these things, the team has to have some balance.
“Modern football is about pace, it is about possession.
“But for me it is about creating chances at the same time.
“Depending on the team you have and the opponent, you can create more or less, but you have to be strong enough [with and without the ball] to win the game.
“Be sure your team has the balance, then it is capable of challenging and getting points from every game, or going to the next round if it is the cup."