Dyche On Brighton Approach & Scoring 'Freedom'

Sean Dyche says Everton can take elements from last season’s outstanding 5-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion into Saturday’s game at the Amex Stadium.

The Blues head to the south coast at the weekend to take on the Seagulls in a 3pm (GMT) kick-off.

The Toffees’ trip to Brighton last season provided a highlight of the campaign, when Everton stunned the hosts, earning their biggest win of the year.

However, Roberto De Zerbi’s side have boasted an impressive home record of late, with Brighton unbeaten in their past 10 Premier League home games (winning five, drawing five).

Dyche recognises his side will need a strong performance to overcome their opponents, as he explained in his pre-match press conference: “They’re a good outfit and we know that. They’ve re-blended the team having missed a few players and players leaving, and they’re still a good outfit. Their home record has been good for a number of seasons.

“I thought at home [the 1-1 draw in November] we gave a good performance and kept them to very minimal chances. We didn’t create as many as we’d like ourselves, but it was a good tactical performance. I think you have to do that against these. I think, tactically, you have to be right.

“Equally, you have to be right on transition. Most teams who do well against them have worked well on transition, including ourselves, of course, last season.

“You can’t just rely on that. We have to play as well. We have to work with the ball in possession, as well as getting the tactical framework of the side right.

“I think [the 5-1 win] was probably a hiccup in their season at that time. We made that happen, don’t get me wrong. I think we focused on our own performance that night. We normally do and we have to do that again because they’re still a very strong outfit and their home record suggests that.”

Everton have impressed defensively this season, with only Arsenal (15) conceding more goals from open play than the Toffees (17).

In front of goal, however, the Blues have struggled to convert from attacking opportunities, underperforming their expected-goals figure by the biggest total in 2024 so far in the Premier League (three goals from 8.03 xG).

Dyche, acknowledging both areas of the field are team efforts, thinks his side can be encouraged by an improved second-half display against Crystal Palace last time out.  

“You have to look at the stats and facts, and of course, your feel, and I thought the other night was a good example of that,” he said, reflecting on his side’s 1-1 draw at Goodison. “First half, we were off it. Second half, it was a very good performance. A very good performance, statistically, but the feel was that it wasn’t as good as the stats show.  

“My job is to look at both - the feel I have for the performance and the stats. Set pieces have been very good over the season so far. We want that to continue.

“Like all of these things, the details aren’t just the stats and facts. It’s the quality moment and the detail in the moment. They’re often the deciding moment. Defensively, we’ve been good with that. Attacking wise, we haven’t been as good with those details, and that’s what we’re going to continue to work to correct.”

Having a “freedom to finish” could be a key factor to adding a clinical edge in Saturday’s encounter, says Dyche, who added: “I think it’s like we spoke about - how do you find the freedom to finish? How do you find the freedom to miss, even?

"These are things that are going into the final moment, and I think trying to work with the players on literally freeing that up. I'm not on them for missing. I'm on them for not being in the right place, going to the right areas, but if you miss, you miss. It’s the way it goes.

"So, you want that freedom to be in there and be in the right areas. Then the final moment of truth is - whoever that comes to - finding the clarity to find a finish.”