Sean Dyche wants his players to work ‘hard and smart’ in relegation battle

Everton coach Sean Dyche is hoping his team can find the right balance in Saturday's crucial match against fellow strugglers Leeds at Goodison Park.

The Toffees enter the game in the bottom three, one place and one point behind their managerless opponents, who have not won in the Premier League since early November.

It will be Dyche’s third match in charge, following a dream start with a victory over Arsenal and a difficult 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby on Monday.

He said:

“Over the two games – of course the derby is a different importance, I’m well aware of that – taking three points, I think most people would go, ‘OK, that’s a reasonable start’.

“Two performances, similar in one way, against two good sides. Not that much in it, not as much as people were suggesting. We didn’t create as much against Liverpool – it’s hard creating really good opportunities away from home. I thought we did create enough against Arsenal”.

“So finding that balance of making the team tight but also having enough freedom to go and operate and play forwards and affect the opposition”.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about with the players moving into the next game – not just being solid and working hard, which is of course a real prerequisite of mine, but working smart and opening the game up.”

“The Premier League is a very, very unforgiving part of football, every game’s important”.

“People could have written off the Arsenal game but we go and win. That’s a very important three points. My focus is on the next game regardless of who it is”.

“We’re learning about the players, we’re pushing them hard, we’re pushing their boundaries. Something I’ve been obsessed with for many years is raising the minimum. How can we stop off-days? That’s got to go into performances, and I’m aware we have to do it rapid style.”

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