Marco Silva says Everton’s composure under pressure is instrumental in his side successfully converting their purposeful football into victories.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s second-half strike against Cardiff City on Saturday stretched Everton’s winning Goodison Park run to a fourth match.
Silva’s team have claimed 16 points from their past seven Premier League games. If the half-time scorelines in those matches had remained unchanged at the final whistle, however, Everton would have banked 10 points fewer across the period.
Everton fired 16 shots at goal – eight of them on target – and restricted Cardiff to 30 per cent possession at the weekend.
They nevertheless had to wait until the 59th minute, when Sigurdsson stroked in his sixth Premier League goal of the season, to make their supremacy count.
“It is really important for us to keep enough emotional balance to win the match,” manager Silva told evertontv.
“Even if for some reason we are not performing very well, or the opponents are causing problems for us – not in our box, but like Cardiff did… making it difficult for us to create enough chances to score.
“It is important we keep this balance in our mind and remain patient then, if we can, to do things faster to create the chances and disorganise the opponent.
“That is what we did again against Cardiff, better clearly in the second half than the first. We showed patience in the game and a good emotional balance. And we achieved one more important win.”
Everton had struck twice after half-time to crack the cussed resistance of Brighton & Hove Albion and seal an ultimately convincing 3-1 win in their previous home fixture.
A fortnight earlier Silva’s side was taken to the wire by Crystal Palace, with the Blues scoring two goals in the final three minutes to claim three points from a match in which they had 60 per cent of the ball, unleashed 20 shots and made more than 500 passes.
The numbers were similarly weighted in Everton’s favour against Fulham when the Blues embarked on their sequence of Goodison successes by hitting the Londoners for three second-half goals back in September.
Equally, Everton’s victory at Leicester City last month was secured when Sigurdsson thundered home the deciding goal with only 13 minutes remaining, while Silva’s men had to retain their cool in the face of a second-half onslaught to earn a point from their trip to Chelsea a fortnight ago.
Icelander Sigurdsson – who has directly contributed to eight Premier League goals and is one of only five top-flight players to create more than 30 scoring chances this term – revealed his side never lost faith in their ability to unpick Cardiff.
And his boss insisted Everton’s mental resolve and footballing intelligence have been key ingredients in their rise to sixth place – albeit Silva is reluctant to read too much into league positions just yet.
“When we don’t score the first goal [at home] it is always like that: your opponent keeping a strong defensive organisation and marking individually all over the pitch,” said Silva, who is preparing for his first Merseyside derby, with Everton playing Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday at the outset of a period of eight matches in 31 days.
“We have to play with more mobility, play faster and more forward than we did in the first half against Cardiff.
“In the first half we did everything a little bit slower than we can and should do.
“The second half was different, we did play faster and more forward. We had more mobility in our game and started to create more chances.
“The league position is not the most important thing for us. We did our work [before the Cardiff game], we won and deserved to win.
“It is important to analyse the match, to talk to the players during the week and prepare well for the next game – that is always our way.”