Everton’s revival has felt like a long time coming for the fanbase, the bulk of which were brought up on title charges and European runs rather than relegation dogfights.
But, expectations have shifted dramatically since then, and the newer generation of Evertonians have instead known nothing but failure, never even seeing their side claim silverware despite coming closest in 2009.
Few demand elite honours or even surges up the table, but for a team like the Toffees, the prerequisite is an unwavering work rate.
Sean Dyche is the first manager arguably since David Moyes to understand this, with his team having been built accordingly.
At the heart of a system that is reconnecting fans with the players is Abdoulaye Doucoure, whose personal revival actually acts as a ‘symbol’ for the one the club have enjoyed under the 52-year-old’s leadership.
He would outline this sentiment, with the £20m midfielder sharing the two biggest things that have helped engineer their turnaround: ‘Everyone has been able to show their quality under the manager,” he said. “Since he came in he has put a lot of energy and confidence in the team.
‘I think we’ve tried to repay the faith he gives to us in the week. From a personal point of view, we have worked together well so far and I’m very happy.
‘The momentum is great. We knew we didn’t get the results at the start of the season but the performances were very good. At the moment we are winning games and that’s the most important thing in football. Our momentum is great, the team is working so hard so we deserve to have those points.’
How is Abdoulaye Doucoure playing this season?
Having shot the Toffees to Premier League safety last term with five integral goals in the second half of the season, it is a testament to his talent and desire to continue improving that the 30-year-old is just one shy of that tally after 12 league games this term.
Any goalscoring success Dyche’s side seem to enjoy has the Mali international at the heart of it, with his role in Everton‘s system far more important than just the goals he scores.
Alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the former Watford ace helps to spearhead their press and provide a link between the hulking marksman and his midfield.
As such, on top of those aforementioned strikes, Doucoure is also averaging 1.3 key passes, 1.5 tackles and 4.7 ball recoveries per game, via Sofascore.
Without him, the system crumbles, and although not the prettiest footballer, he is inarguably effective. He may praise his manager for their turnaround, but perhaps the £120k-per-week star should start looking inward for the real hero in this resurgence.