Pickford: Why Our Fans Are Key

Jordan Pickford has thanked passionate Evertonians for their backing during a challenging season, as the shot-stopper spoke of how he thrives off his strong bond with Blues fans.

Pickford registered his 13th clean sheet of the season on Saturday as Everton equalled their Premier League best of five successive home wins without conceding a goal courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United at Goodison.

Only Arsenal’s David Raya has totalled more shutouts in 2023/24 with 14, while Pickford’s ninth clean sheet at the Grand Old Lady is the most at home in the Premier League.

Despite two separate points deductions this season, Everton sit 15th in the table, 14 points clear of 18th-placed Luton, while collecting 13 wins – one more than Brighton & Hove Albion in 10th.

A job well done for Sean Dyche’s men was marked with a lap of appreciation after the 1-0 win over the Blades – courtesy of Abdoulaye Doucoure’s first-half header – with Blues players and their families getting to thank the Club’s fans for their superb support home and away.

Having been at the Club for seven years, Pickford revealed the impact of Evertonians’ backing on his game, and the importance of the Toffees’ defensive steel under Dyche.

“It's nice the fans have appreciated what we’ve done this season,” said the England No.1. “We appreciate their support, as always. We know how passionate they are.

“It was nice to go round with our families at the end. We haven’t done that for a while. To have that freedom to go and do that, the fans all staying behind – that’s what it’s all about, having that bond with the fans. I certainly feel like I’ve got that bond and I really thrive off it.”

On another clean sheet for Everton, the 30-year-old added: “It gives you a start, doesn’t it. It gives us that cutting edge and the lads know that if we work as a team, we’re going to get that opportunity.

"We’re not going to keep a clean sheet every game but we’ve kept them the last five at home. It’s been an amazing feeling but it’s just about winning football matches.

“Winning football matches is all I care about. The clean sheets gives us that ability to allow the forward players to express themselves. We work hard as a unit to defend and, when called on, I’ll make the saves so it’s really pleasing.”

Everton will look to end their season with a sixth match unbeaten when they take on title-chasing Arsenal at the Emirates next Sunday (4pm BST).

On that tough test, Pickford added: “We’ve just got to play the right game. The manager will set us up properly, we’ll have our travelling fans, and it’s about us taking on the game and being up for the challenge.”