Everton manager Sean Dyche has said he sees signs of significant improvement in the team with increased competitiveness, but work is still needed.
On Sunday the Blues’ dropped two crucial points at Nottingham Forest when they were leading with a quarter of the match to go.
That draw was costly, at least in the short-term. A point away from home for Everton might still be of some value in the end, but certainly straight afterwards it felt a very disappointing result.
There was an inevitability about the Toffees’ failing to hold onto that lead. We’ve seen it time and again with this team and so it proved in Sunday’s game.
I think there has been a genuine improvement in the general play of this side since Dyche took over from Frank Lampard at the end of January.
We’ve seen this particularly in the home matches and the wins against Arsenal and Leeds United at Goodison Park.
In those games – especially in that first win against Arsenal – there was a tangible improvement in the energy, cohesion and competitiveness of the team.
Everton also kept their shape well and the players seemed more comfortable knowing simply what they had to do to make the new manager’s tactics work.
But, for all that it has still been very hit and miss with unsurprisingly, two very poor away displays at Liverpool and then Arsenal before a defeat against Aston Villa spoiling the home record.
There are obviously continuing major problems with this side, most of all scoring goals of course.
Unusually, the Blues’ managed to net twice against Forest something they haven’t done since beating Crystal Palace in October, but once again mistakes cost them and allowed their hosts to grab a share of the points.
Dyche is aware of this and wants to find ways to erradicate the errors and failings that are undermining any positives and progress made.
Everton now need a minimum of probably five wins from twelve games, at least, to have a chance of staying up and that seems a tall order.
A win is essential from at least four of the remaining home games as a bare minimum. It all starts again this weekend with the visit of Brentford to Goodison Park next Saturday afternoon.