Dyche Sets Demand For Man City Challenge

Sean Dyche has challenged his side to maintain a "group belief", while being clever in their approach, ahead of taking on Manchester City on Saturday.

The Blues head to the Etihad Stadium for an early kick-off (12.30pm GMT), with the in-form reigning champions looking to extend a seven-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League.

Dyche’s side face a tough task against Pep Guardiola’s title-chasers, but Everton have impressed on the road this season. Only three teams have picked up more away wins than the Toffees this term, with the Blues amassing 17 points from 11 matches.

In Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Dyche previewed the challenge posed by the upcoming opposition. “They’ve got strength in depth," he explained. "They’ve got strength in how they work, and they’re a great outfit, without a shadow of a doubt. But you take all these games on. That’s the mentality we want to continue to build here. No matter who you’re playing against, take it on with that clear mindedness to go to focus on you.

“They are in good form and can make many changes due to their squad depth. It is difficult, they are a very good side - we all know that. The mixture has got to be right; you have to defend well but play well and take your chances when they come your way. 

“The Premier League is difficult, anyway. I think it’s fair to say after the past number of seasons that they have shown their prowess. They do the hard yards, as well. They work hard as well as being a fine football side. There is a lot of good to like about them, but you have got to play them all, so we certainly go there and take it on.”

Everton picked up a handy point last time out, earning a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park.

In the game, the Blues displayed an organised system of defending from the front, winning the ball 18 times in the attacking third – the most any Premier League team has accumulated in a single game since Liverpool against Norwich City in February 2020.

Everton's pressing ranks among the league’s finest, with the Toffees recording more high turnovers (240) than any other Premier League.

That tactic will be difficult to execute against this weekend’s opponent, admits Dyche, who will be absent from the touchline on Saturday after picking up this third booking of the season against Tottenham.

He spoke about the need for his side to be intelligent in their approach at Manchester City, while maintaining a confidence to be competitive.

“You have to press wisely,” he acknowledged. “It has to be by design because they’re a good outfit. They’re used to it – don’t forget, that’s how they play, and they’ve played against many sides who press. You have to be clever with your pressing. You can’t just go crisp bags in the wind. It has to be an organised press.

“I think the players have showed they can do that this season. It is more difficult with the way Man City play because they’re used to teams doing that. They’re well versed and practised in trying to break down teams who do that. So, maybe a shift in our game plan; maybe a shift in our thinking.

“You have to focus on the opposition, quite obviously. But you have to focus on you and your performance. So far this season, we’ve done well on that. It’s important to remember that – even when you’re going to places like Man City.

“I certainly think you have to have a group belief that you can challenge these teams. I think being competitive is the start point in performing.

“I’ve spoken about it endlessly with the group about that competitive edge in performances, but also that consistency in performances. We’ve made some ground in that. We have to lay a marker down and that’s to play well. That’s the minimum we have to do. We have to play well.”