Sean Dyche is confident Everton can achieve their aim of producing a better overall campaign than the previous two and said he’s been encouraged by what he has seen from his players this summer.
The Blues return to Premier League action on Saturday when they welcome Fulham to Goodison Park (kick-off 3pm BST).
They completed their pre-season schedule last weekend with an impressive 1-0 victory over Portuguese giants Sporting CP, capping a competitive and, in the eyes of Dyche, “solid” summer programme.
Speaking at Finch Farm during Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Dyche explained: “Our aim is to be better this season than the last, well, the last couple of seasons. In my time here we have done enough good work to make sure we stayed in the division, that was the biggest challenge.
“From there, can we take some of the stuff we have learnt from that forward and improve? I have confidence we can do that. Having a pre-season with the players, a few came in late due to internationals and a couple of injuries but generally, having a pre-season with them [helps]. Hopefully, rubbing off more of what we want from them.
“Plus, some of the things that I think are important. The truth of it will be when the whistle blows but so far during pre-season, it’s been a pretty solid pre-season with some good performances and a good energy and belief in what we are doing. We want that to go into the first game, and beyond.”
Everton have added the vastly experienced Ashley Young and dangerous attacker Arnaut Danjuma to the ranks. The Club are also edging closer to finalising a deal for Sporting CP's Youssef Chermiti – as confirmed by Dyche.
The Blues boss admitted the Club remains on the hunt for more players who can bring the right attributes to the current group and added that he’s been pleased with the steps taken to address the imbalance that he believed existed in the side before he arrived.
“There are challenges, that has been apparent,” said Dyche. “We have been linked with many [players]. I said last year that was a big imbalance in the squad. Too many players in certain positions.
“We have had to rebalance, and we have somewhat done that. To rebalance, we have had to find players that can fill in the slots, but with a quality that we think is appropriate. It’s about finding the right mixture. We have got some experience here, can we find the next young players, as well, to add to that experience and build the squad in a different way from how it has been in the past.”
On Chermiti and further additions, Dyche added: “Youssef is nearly at a situation for me to be clear on. It is very close now. That is why I am happy to speak about that one. Hopefully, that will get done. He’s a young player, of course, who can add a different layer and dimension to the squad.
“There are still a number of players out there, I have said all along we are working hard, which we are. So let’s see what we can open up.”