Dyche Sends Clear Message To Stay Up

Sean Dyche has told Everton to "play hard and play to win" in Sunday's vital final match of the season against AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park (4.30pm BST).

The Blues boss also reiterated his key messages to players must remain the same despite the magnitude of the contest and what is at stake.

Victory for the Toffees this weekend would secure Premier League safety as Dyche’s men enter the last game of the season in 17th position – two points ahead of fellow survival-chasers Leicester City and Leeds United.

Everton's only defeat in their past four matches has come against league champions and treble-chasers Manchester City, with Dyche calling on his squad to maintain the impressive mentality that led to a 99th-minute equaliser at Wolves last time out.

“The focus should be on every game,” said Dyche in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “My consistent message to the players has been that every game is important, and that every minute of every game is important.

“We showed that against Wolves – the mentality to take on every minute of the game until the final whistle, and we did that. We might have to do that again, but we should be doing that because that’s what the intention is.

“That’s the consistency I talk about. It’s the mentality to play hard every game and to go into every game to win. It’s no different in that respect; playing to win.”

Along with this season’s persistent requirements, the Everton manager is keen for his players to focus on their own qualities, adding: “We’ve been speaking more about our values, what we stand for, and how we want to approach the game. They’re the ideas behind it, the feeling behind it, the energy behind the group, and taking the task on.

“Like I say, it’s one of those things we’ve been trying to drum into the players since we got here. We’ve seen good signs of it at times. We’ve got to remember the good work that’s been done, but then use it to our advantage.”

The Blues boast a strong home record over Bournemouth, winning four of the past five fixtures at Goodison Park against Sunday’s travelling Cherries.

However, Dyche knows it will be a tough test for his side, and despite recognising the increased pressure on the upcoming clash, the Everton boss outlined his players should be able to thrive in such occasions.

“The fact is we should be under pressure because that’s what we want for this group," he added. "At the end of the day, this is Everton Football Club. That’s the demand of being at the Club. I’ve learned that very quickly, so every game should be a pressurised occasion, because that’s being a professional footballer.

“It’s not just about playing the last game of the season. That should be every time you run on a football pitch.

“That’s what the job in hand is and that’s what I’ve come to know in my career as a player, a coach, and a manager. That’s what the players learn every week. There’s a demand on every performance.”

Highlighting the need to simplify the occasion and think only of the match, Dyche added: “We want the players to focus on the game. It’s not as easy as it sounds but that’s the idea: focus on what's going on the pitch and don’t worry about all the noise. 

“Don’t worry about all the rumours, don’t worry about anything that’s going on off the pitch. Like I say, it’s easier said than done, but that’s the clear intention - to focus on what's happening on the pitch and focus on our performance."