The togetherness that exists at Everton is fundamental to our chances of winning this fight to stay in the Premier League.
Everybody is united and fiercely determined to preserve our club’s long and proud top-flight status.
The players’ hunger and selflessness are big assets going into the final six matches. But those qualities wouldn’t count for nearly as much without your complete backing and I want to make a point of emphasising the value of your support.
We lost a Merseyside derby last week and whatever we felt about the performance and how we were treated in decisive moments – I’ll come back to the specifics of the game – there is no escaping the disappointment that comes with defeat in such a significant fixture.
To see our fans in the stadium recognise the players’ effort and clap the team at the end was uplifting. That reaction allows everyone to come into this game walking so much taller.
Your influence really is that colossal. We kept going to the final whistle against Leicester City here 11 days ago, which was reflective of the spirit and perseverance of this side.
But you helped pull us along with the atmosphere you generated. It was raw and authentic and an audible demonstration of the depth of your passion for Everton.
There is nothing artificial about the emotion that accompanies our matches at Goodison and I love the feeling inside this ground on matchday.
Everyone connected with Everton is together, all in unison and fighting for the same thing.
We’ve done well at home of late, it’s seven points from the past three matches after that draw with Leicester.
Not for one minute, though, can we think everything will be fine today, simply because we are at home.
We are not in that phase of our development. Every win, every point, is going to be hard-earned.
We can take some encouragement from drawing with Leicester. We may not have been at our best in the first half but we created the better chances in the game, kept fighting and got our reward with an equaliser in injury-time.
There was disappointment in the dressing room afterwards over not winning the match. At the same time, there was an acknowledgement that earlier in the season, the game might have got away from us in similar circumstances.
We hung in there and, with a huge helping hand from you, earned what could be a vital point.
The manner in which we competed with a side at the top of its game at Anfield last Sunday left me even more optimistic about our immediate prospects.
We’ve been striving for organisation and discipline away from home and both of those attributes were evident in one of the toughest environments in the league.
The players were focused, competitive and brave and adhered to our plan. It was our intention to deny Liverpool space, which we did, while retaining a meaningful threat on the counter-attack.
We went forward with purpose and clarity and all we were missing was the clinical touch in the box.
If we had taken one of our opportunities at 0-0, the match would have unfolded differently.
I have spoken about the challenges on Anthony in Liverpool’s area. I can only reiterate that I thought both could have been penalties. It’s important the players draw on the many positives from our performance, however, going into today.
We welcome Thomas Tuchel and the staff and players of Chelsea.
Chelsea gave me some of the happiest years of my life and I am fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the club and its supporters. But it is nothing new for me to go up against them. I’ve done it as a player and manager, and I view today as an opportunity to compete with a quality opponent.
Only Manchester City have a better away record than Chelsea. I’m writing before they went to Manchester United on Thursday but prior to that game Chelsea had scored 35 goals and conceded only nine in 16 away matches.
But we have proved we can match-up with any side, the task today is to compete and convert the performance into a positive result.
Our strength is in our togetherness and we are all in for this battle.
I can’t wait to feel your support again today.
Enjoy the game,