Frank Lampard has underlined the importance of Everton improving their quality and composure in possession as the Blues strive to embark on another positive series of results.
The Blues return to Premier League action at Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, aiming to deliver an immediate response after their seven-match unbeaten run was ended by Manchester United on Sunday.
Lampard explained how continuing to work hard on his team’s urgency and decision-making on the ball will be a key focus in the lead up to the Spurs clash.
“I won’t be soft about that, because we weren’t as good as we could be in the first half against United,” he told evertontv.
“We took too many touches and got ourselves in positions where we should have moved the ball quicker out of tight areas.
“Those are things we speak about a lot, and we train on a lot. We have got improvement to do there.
“If we had won this game, I wouldn’t be saying, ‘We’re where we want to be on the ball’. We can get a lot better and that is a work in progress.
“Within us, you can see the improvement, but I know there’s a lot more to be had. I can’t question the attitude of the boys, but sometimes a game can give you a little bit of a check, and I think that’s where we’re at.”
Everton’s togetherness and resilience was on show against United as they mounted sustained pressure in search of a leveller.
The Blues won a flurry of late corners, while substitute James Garner forced a superb fingertip save from David de Gea.
Lampard added: “I liked the spirit and the push at the end and how subs came on and affected the game.
“I’m not interested in being a team [which does not fight until the end]. We have to have a bit more about us.
“Also, I want to go steps beyond that. It’s not bad for us to be self-critical to a degree, and that’s behind closed doors.
“This a tough league and if there are things that are clear that we don’t do so well, we just have to work.
“Our standards are now that we can stand more toe-to-toe more with these type of teams – last season was maybe a different approach. These things come, but it’s important how we react.”
Saturday’s clash at third-placed Tottenham is followed four days later by trip to Newcastle United, who currently occupy sixth position in the table.
Lampard says the double-header represents an opportunity for the Blues to showcase their increased resolve and determination.
“We have to go again,” he added. “These next two games will be very tough.
“The bigger picture is we can all see we’re going in the right direction, but maybe it’s time for us to get a bit of a test.
“I’ve no problem with that. This is the Premier League. The lads just need to stand up. We all do.”