Ahead of Everton’s Bonfire Night clash with Leicester City at Goodison Park, Neal Maupay sat down to discuss a range of topics, including how he's settling in Merseyside, his excitement to link up with fellow striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the impact of Goodison Park and his confidence levels ahead of the visit of the Foxes.
Neal, it's been a little more than two months since you joined us. How have you found life at Everton?
It's been very good. As you say, it's been a little while now and I know everyone better. I'm really enjoying myself here.
A home win and a draw on the road from our past two games. How would you describe the mood in the camp at the moment?
It feels like we're on the right path. We're getting more comfortable with each other every game. Of course, we want to be winning more games but I think it'll come. We've got some new players but everyone is on the same page and you can see it. The next step is to turn those draws into wins and be more consistent week-in, week-out.
Before those four points from the past two games, we were in a testing moment on the back of three defeats - but it feels like this squad has character in abundance to overcome those challenges?
There is. It's a bit cliche but everyone hates losing. We've got character in the group and we said after those three defeats that we needed to make a statement against Palace. We did that. The next step was backing up that win and we didn't manage to do it against Fulham. Credit to Fulham because they have good players and it's a game we could have lost. Four points from the past two games isn't bad but we're not focusing on that now - we have to look to Saturday's game against Leicester. We're focused on that and then the two games against Bournemouth before the World Cup because it's a good opportunity to build some momentum.
We've recorded back-to-back clean sheets now. How important is that?
I think it goes to show the quality we have at the back. Our defenders are brilliant, Jordan made some great saves against Fulham as well. As a team, I feel like we're very solid and hard to break down. That's really good and it's very important we keep that up. On top of that, can we improve on the ball? I think we can. We have quality but we can create more chances and score more goals. Our solid base is so important, now we have to improve on the ball.
And looking at the top end of the pitch - you haven't played started alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin yet. Is that something you think is an option in the future?
Of course. I think I can play alongside Dom as needed because we're different. We could definitely play together and I look forward to doing it but, of course, it's the manager's decision. Whether it's him, me, both of us... I don't think it really matters because we have a good squad and we have the quality to win games in this league.
We're back at Goodison Park this weekend for a clash with Leicester City. How have you found playing at Goodison for the home team?
It's massive. To play at Goodison gives us a little bit extra, the push we get from the fans from the first whistle is incredible. On the other side, as I know from experience, it makes it more difficult for because our opponents have more pressure on them. I really enjoy playing at Goodison. Our last game there - the win over Palace - gave us a really good feeling and, of course, the aim is to get that back this weekend.
And it will be the last league game on home soil for around seven weeks with the World Cup break just around the corner. Does that make it feel any different?
It's just a game but maybe it feels a bit more important because of the break. People remember what just happened, so it's important for us to have a good game and try to win. We're confident. We know Leicester have good quality and lately they have improved a lot so it's going to be tough and we'll have to work hard - but we'll be ready.
You've scored against Leicester in the past. Does that give you any extra confidence heading into this one?
Yes, on a personal level, I've scored against them and I'm confident enough to think 'I'm going to score again' - but that applies to any game, regardless of who we're playing. I just focus on my job. Leicester had a really tough start to the season but I've watched them in their past few games and they've improved a lot. They played really well against Manchester City last weekend and were unlucky with the result, before that they had back-to-back wins. I don't think they are where they should be in the league. They will be dangerous and there's no doubt it'll be a tough game.