Dyche's Call For 'Balance' In Tottenham Test

Sean Dyche has called on his Everton side to rediscover the balance of being defensively organised while posing a clinical edge in the attack.

The Toffees welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Goodison Park on Saturday (12.30pm GMT) for the Blues’ second game this week, after Tuesday’s goalless draw at Fulham.

Ange Postecoglou’s free-scoring visitors – fresh from a 3-2 win over Brentford – remain the only side to have scored in every Premier League game this season, netting in each of their past 34 matches in the competition.

However, they face a Blues side which has picked up four clean sheets in their past five outings. Meanwhile, since the start of December, Everton have kept more Premier League clean sheets than any other team (six in nine games).

“The strength of the group has been from the front backwards,” said Dyche, speaking in Thursday’s pre-match press conference. “We’re asking centre forwards to play their part, defending from the front, and the wide players working hard through the midfield and into the back four or five.

“Now, the real key moments when you’re doing both, and that’s the biggest challenge in football, is to do both well - defend well and attack well.”

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has played a significant role in Everton’s defensive form, with the shot-stopper having kept more Premier League clean sheets this season (eight) than any other goalkeeper.

Discussing how the England No.1 continues to work well with the Blues defence, Dyche explained: “I think he can see the picture well because the team’s organisation has looked good in front of him and obviously keepers can see how the team's operating - the yardages, the distances, how they are working as a collective, and I think he’s been enjoying that in front of him. 

“So yes, that’s a good measure of a keeper, when they think the structure is right. I think it gives them confidence and likewise, it gives the defending side of the team confidence as well.”

Despite a dip in goalscoring, Everton have been creating chances, currently averaging 14 shots per game - the seventh highest in the division.

However, the Toffees have scored 24 goals from an expected-goals figure of 33.1, totalling the largest underperformance in the league.

Asked about the statistics on side, Dyche responded: “It tells you we have got a competitive side that is performing in the right way to create all those [chances], but you have got to score a goal. The braveness to miss is always key for me.

"A lot of the performance-level stats are very strong, but you have got to take advantage of those stats by scoring in one end and stopping it at the other. That is one thing that hasn’t changed. We have to make sure that we are focused on that, but it is pleasing in one way that the team is affective to create those chances.

"It is about the group and the collective ownership. We ask them to work hard as a group defensively and we are asking them to work hard in attack, which they are doing. It is a shared responsibility, as well. I have spoken to the players about everyone scoring a goal.

"It is not about one person; it is about all of them. I think the attitude is right towards it, and the stats support the performances.

"The balance is there but the final moment of truth is the bit that pays you back. That moment of clarity in front of goal or that final pass, that final delivery, that is the icing on the cake, if you like."

With the press conference taking place on the final day of the January transfer window, Dyche was asked about potential dealings involving his side during the remaining hours.

Emphasising the importance of keeping his current squad together, Dyche added: “The balance I’ve spoken of many times is, of course, looking at the business and financial side, but equally, we’re not in a position where we have to start losing players. That’s a key thing for me as manager with the group we’ve got - especially as it is. We’re very intent on this group staying together. That will be the focus.

“We know it’s a season’s work and we need everyone currently and ever more so with the injuries that we’ve got.”