Everton manager Sean Dyche admits nerves are inhibiting his team’s hopes of escaping relegation.
The Toffees boss has spoken about correcting minor details and being encouraged by aspects of certain performances, but his acceptance that the perilous situation the club find themselves in, as they seek to safeguard their current 69-year existence in the top flight, It’s affecting the team. bodes well for Monday’s must-win game for Leicester.
Asked why he thought the results, now just one win in 10 games, had dropped, Dyche said: “Nerves, tension, concentration, preparation for the games.
“There have been injuries, suspensions, different players coming in and out of the side, all of those things go into it.
“You are looking to work in those periods when the challenges come. Like we did at Chelsea and Tottenham, we got good points.
“The two (occasions) that stick to me a bit are the second half against Fulham (losing 3-1 having tied) and the second half on Thursday (when they conceded three goals in 10 minutes in the 4-1 defeat against Newcastle ) without a shadow of a doubt.
“It’s hard when the games are fast because there’s not much you can do to prepare a team, it’s usually rest, recovery, some tactical planning and some tactical work.
“This (Newcastle loss) has to be brought to a close quickly because we have to be ready for Monday.
“I spoke to the players earlier in the week about the current mindset around performance. At this point in the season, everything comes down to the will, the demand and the mentality to face the games”.
Dyche hopes the return of captain Seamus Coleman will help bring some much-needed leadership to his relegation-threatened side.
The Republic of Ireland international has missed the last three games with a hamstring problem and in that time the Toffees have only picked up one point, conceded seven times and even in the goalless draw at Crystal Palace they looked overexposed on the right side.
Coleman is expected to be fit to regain his place in the squad and bolster a flank in which substitutes Mason Holgate, who was sent off for two yellow cards at Selhurst Park, and Ben Godfrey look out of reach.
The 34-year-old is also the more forward-thinking option of the three when it comes to having the confidence to overlap in attack, but it’s his experience that may be most needed as they head into a must-win game against the leicester.
“He is a very important player with his history and understanding of the club,” Dyche said.
“He has been a loss for us, so we hope he will return. Until the second goal (in Thursday’s 4-1 home loss to Newcastle) it was a very good performance, but after the second goal that’s the big challenge for me.
“Where did the mentality go? How quickly did that change? Who gets him again? Who on our team says ‘okay, okay, let’s get back on track with what we’re doing here’ because we weren’t a million miles away? You can’t wait for it to happen.”
Newcastle’s defeat was very damaging, not just because it left them with just two more home games, one of which is against Manchester City, to extend their 69-year stay in the top flight, but because of the effect it had on the moral.
The players looked fired up when the final whistle blew, by which time Goodison Park was half empty as the fans who had lined the streets to greet the team’s manager with their pyrotechnics and flags headed for the exits after the game came on. third for Newcastle.
Asked if he thought the team had lost the fans, Dyche added: “I don’t think so. I think they will support the club until the end.”