James Tarkowski has acknowledged he and central defensive partner Michael Keane must continue their fine combined form to help Everton pick up the points they need to steer clear of danger this season.
It was Tarkowski’s partner Keane who stole the headlines following Monday night’s dramatic 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur. He smashed home a superb strike from 30 yards in the dying moments of the game to rescue a point for the Toffees.
However, prior to that Everton’s resolve was tested to its fullest as the Blues had to battle with 10 men for much of the second half.
Despite being at a one-man disadvantage, Everton restricted the away side to few meaningful chances on goal and were only thwarted by a Harry Kane penalty midway through the second half.
Another colossal defensive display from Tarkowski was crucial to that, and the defender believes he and Keane as a defensive duo have set the standard that they must maintain for the remaining nine games of the campaign. Especially given the strength in depth Everton have in that area of the pitch.
“We’ve got a selection of very good players, especially in defence,” said Tarkowski.
“You’d have to ask the manager for his opinion on the different players, but in my opinion, we have got five or six good centre-halves here.
“Me and Keano are playing together right now, and we just have to keep doing what we are doing. We’ve got nine big games to go, starting Saturday.”
Sean Dyche’s side will travel to Old Trafford this weekend (kick-off 12.30pm BST) looking to go five Premier League games unbeaten for the first time this season.
However, despite Everton’s good recent form, it remains extremely congested down at the foot of the league table, something Tarkowski admits is hard to ignore.
Yet, he believes there’s a great “desire” among the players to keep picking up crucial points which can help avoid having to focus too much on what other sides around Everton are doing.
“You’d have to be living in a box [to not pay attention to the league table],” Tarkowski accepts. “But I don’t put too much focus on it. I try to focus more on the way we perform and the points we are going to pick up. If we do our job, then there’s no need to worry about anyone else.
“We put in a good performance on Monday and got a point from it. We always want to win games, but in that one, we will take a point after being down to 10 men for a while.
“There’s desire, hard work, commitment and togetherness in the team. They are important factors and that’s something the manager has put a massive emphasis on recently. It was on show during Mondy night’s game”.
Discussing Saturday's trip to Manchester, he added: “United are a top, top side. Going to Old Trafford is never an easy task. But, where we are at right now, and the way we are doing, we are looking forward to the game. Hopefully, we can have three points on the board after it.”