Sean Dyche is confident of more strong Everton performances to help get the team’s Premier League form back on track while also revealing that rumours indicating Arnaut Danjuma is nearing a Goodison exit are wide off the mark.
Everton return to action this Sunday (2pm GMT kick-off) when they welcome Aston Villa to Goodison Park. This weekend’s contest will be the Blues’ first since the battling 0-0 FA Cup draw at Crystal Palace, where they were reduced to 10 men late in the clash after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sent off for a challenge on Nathaniel Clyne.
That red card has since been overturned following a successful Club appeal.
Meanwhile, Everton’s last fixture in the Premier League was the defeat at Wolves nearly two weeks ago. Dyche acknowledged the team’s very recent form in the league has tailed off in comparison to the fine start made to last month, but is confident his side can get back on track quickly should they continue to produce positive collective performances that have been a staple for much of the campaign so far.
Speaking at Friday’s press conference held at Finch Farm, Dyche explained: “You mix [the form] in with the longer run of games, and you go: ‘Actually, it’s a decent run.’ But the facts are the facts.
“The idea of the last few games – we’ve played some very good sides, and I think we’ve played very well in a couple of them. A couple of errors have cost us quite badly and there was one where we stepped off the mark down at Wolves.
“Within the performance levels, I think there have been clear signs of still remaining consistent. That’s what we have to do – still remain consistent to our performance levels. I preach it all the time to the players. The longer we do that; the more times we do that over a season, it pays you back, and it is a season’s work – never more so than this season, having 10 points currently gone.”
Going into Sunday’s contest, the Blues have been boosted by the re-availability of Calvert-Lewin who will no longer serve a three-game suspension.
He scored the decisive strike in the 2-1 Everton win when the two sides met in the Carabao Cup in September and Dyche admitted he was pleased that common sense prevailed concerning the sending-off decision.
“It [the decision] was bizarre on the day, wasn’t it?” he said. “I don’t think anyone will be shocked. Don’t get me wrong, we are thankful for the process, but I am a bit concerned about how it ended up there in the first place given how long it took to check it.
“I don’t think it needed all that, but the decision was made and at least the powers that be have changed it back.”
Another player who Dyche expects to be involved on Sunday is winger Danjuma. The attacker, on a season-long loan from Villarreal, has been rumoured to make a move away from Merseyside in the January transfer window, with some reports even suggesting that he’d reached a personal agreement with French side Lyon.
Dyche, however, downplayed the rumours and insisted the 26-year-old remains firmly in his plans for the remainder of the term.
“The situation is very simple, he is an Everton player – that’s it,” said Dyche. “He played the last game and has a fair chance of playing the next one. He has certainly never been out of our plans.
“He remains an Everton player and there isn’t really a story. I keep hearing quotes about him not being in our plans, I don’t know where they have come from. Nobody has asked me, but as I have been asked now, he is an Everton player and is part of what we do.”