Sean Dyche insists Everton have made progress since his arrival despite being stuck in the bottom three and their emphatic midweek defeat at Arsenal.
Dyche won two of his first three matches after succeeding Frank Lampard as manager but Everton are back in the relegation zone after back-to-back losses against Aston Villa and the Premier League leaders. No team in the top four divisions of English football have scored fewer goals than Everton, who reduced their attacking options in January when selling Anthony Gordon and failing to sign anyone. But Dyche is adamant there has been an overall improvement.
“We can find a way of operating with this group,” he said. “My job is to look at the bigger picture and when I got here it was one point from the last five games, four points from the previous nine. Now it’s six points in the first five. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is when you’ve been in that form. If you’re getting four points from nine games and then six points from five that is a big shift, a factual shift.
“The work is not done but factually there is progress. Distance covered, more efforts on goal, more chances, more crosses – factual progress. It still doesn’t guarantee you anything but it does increase your chances of winning. It is a process.”
Everton are expected to be without Dominic Calvert-Lewin again on Sunday when they visit Nottingham Forest in a crucial game at the bottom of the table. The striker’s replacement, Neal Maupay, has scored only once in 20 appearances this season.
“Neal is doing the right things at the minute,” said Dyche. “He keeps getting in the box and finding chances, and it’s not easy just to find chances in the Premier League. They will go in. We want other players to do the same. We want wide players driving in on the back post because we’re flashing crosses across the six-yard area and not quite dominating the back post. They are basics but they still have to be done. We are trying to mix our game and affect the game in as many different ways as we can.”