Everton Boss Sets Derby Challenge

Sean Dyche is focusing on ensuring Everton can maintain the excellent levels of performance shown against Arsenal when they go into Monday's 242nd Merseyside derby at Anfield.

The Blues boss emphasised the need to avoid complacency, while also detailing the importance of the historic fixture, with the demand on his squad to show the desire and work-rate that sealed an impressive 1-0 victory over the league-leading Gunners at Goodison last Saturday.

Dyche will take charge of Everton for the second time on Monday when the Toffees make the short trip across Stanley Park to take on their city rivals.

Speaking in the press conference ahead of the Merseyside derby, Dyche revealed: “We’re really looking for a performance. Last weekend, it was fantastic to get a win, but I was really looking for a reaction and a performance, and I think we’re still laying that down.

“We need to give another good performance on the back of one last week.

“There’s plenty of belief in what we do but it’s important to take action. When the whistle blows you’ve got to take action, and you’ve got to perform."

Along with replicating last week’s impressive showing, Dyche stressed the significance of avoiding complacency: “The last one doesn’t guarantee the next one. I’ve been saying that for years.

“There’s been a lot of detail going into this week, a lot of planning going into this week, but the players are aware. We’ve got to go again, and that’s going to be the constant mentality throughout the rest of the season.”

In just his second match as Everton manager, Dyche faces another tough test, and when touching on the magnitude of the Merseyside derby, he added: “The city comes together for a massive game.

“It’s a bigger version of all derbies, but I’m looking forward to it because of the size of it. I grew up during the '70s and '80s knowing about the game and knowing about historical games between the two teams.

"But my key marker is performance levels, and parking the noise around the game. That’s our job. We must focus on the performance and not letting anything affect our build-up and planning.”

When questioned about whether there could be a better time to play Liverpool, Dyche responded, “You can’t guarantee that. It’s a derby game so we know the form goes out the window.”

Although not ruled out of the contest, forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a doubt for Monday due to a hamstring injury. 

Despite the potential of the England international not featuring, Dyche insisted, “We adapt to the players we work with, and you defend as a team and score as a team, so it’s not about one player. He’s a good player, but it’s more about how the team adapts.

“It’s a great opportunity if someone plays instead. What a game to step into if Calvert-Lewin isn’t right. So they have to be ready to take it on.”