Dyche: Why Everton Feels More Aligned

Sean Dyche has explained why he believes his squad have taken a real "step in the right direction" this season as he reflected on Everton "feeling a more aligned Club" along with staff and fans.

The Blues travel to Molineux Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off) to take on Wolves, hoping to bounce back from two valiant losses to Tottenham and Manchester City. 

A positive result could also help to extend the one-point gap between them and Luton Town sitting inside the relegation zone.

Everton would head into this weekend's contest in 10th place and on 26 points had it not been for last month's 10-point deduction handed down from the Premier League commission. The Blues' eight matches won is also more than any other team up to ninth-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.

While the outcome of the Club's appeal to that sanction has still yet to be heard, Dyche explained he and his players aren't fazed by the position they find themselves in and instead revealed why he's been encouraged by what he's seen from the group. 

Speaking at Thursday's press conference at Finch Farm, Dyche responded to his team's league position owing to the deduction: "It's just the reality, if you look at where we were when we got the points taken to where we are now, there has been a pretty healthy shift. 

"We don't know what will come next (from the appeal); we will have to wait and see. But performance levels are good and the mentality is good. We are a bit stretched, that is sometimes the challenge of what it is but we get on with it and keep working hard. 

He added: "In spite of the obvious, if there was an assessment at the end of last season looking ahead to this season, and if people were to ask what do we expect, I'd say: 'We have to do better'.

"I think despite the obvious situation, 26 points would be a healthy return with regards to a step forward from the last couple of seasons. 

"I think there is also what you see beyond the points return, like the way the team and squad are going about it - it feels like we have got a more aligned Club. 

"The fans' connection with the Club is something I endlessly talk about. The alignment between us the staff and the players - that is beginning to mature. These are all important factors. 

"The news of the 10 points put a dent in that, but it hasn't broken anything. We are still there, fighting and working hard, and I still believe we have the players to get more from the season than what we are currently getting."

The Blues secured a vital point in their previous outing at Wolves in May in the penultimate game of the 2022/23 campaign. 

Despite going a goal behind in the first half, Dyche's men produced a resilient display and battled hard, eventually being rewarded with a late second-half stoppage-time equaliser courtesy of a strike from former Blues defender Yerry Mina.

Although there's been plenty of change in the group since then, reflecting on that draw, Dyche acknowledged that was a game when he started to see a shift in mentality from his players, something that's been crucial in Everton impressively securing seven wins from their 11 away matches across all competitions so far this season. 

"It was a different group of players, different circumstances and a different situation," he explained looking back on that 1-1 draw. "But it was laying down the groundwork of what we want to stand for - a relentless attitude. I believe in it wholeheartedly. 

"I thought it was there against Tottenham, and it was there again last night [against City]. We were getting back into the game and putting some doubt into Man City and then the third goal, of course, killed that situation. 

"But it's a good mentality to have and I think it's growing all the time. That goal [at Wolves last season] was literally more or less the last kick of the game, and that mentality for me is very pleasing as a manager - it is growing all the time here."