Everton need to show a ‘strong jaw’ away from home if they are to succeed in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League, according to manager Sean Dyche.
The Merseyside club fell back into the bottom three after a 2-0 home defeat by Aston Villa at the weekend and they face leaders Arsenal away on Wednesday.
Dyche’s first game in charge of the club after replacing Frank Lampard was a surprise 1-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park earlier this month thanks to a James Tarkowski goal.
But Everton have not won on the road in the league since Oct. 1 and Dyche knows that relying on their home form alone will be a risky strategy for survival.
“Most teams have stronger home forms for all kinds of scientific reasons but it’s about the consistency of performances home and away,” he told a news conference.
“We want our players to have a strong jaw and an edge to their play away from home.” Dyche has only lost once in six matches up against Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and while it would be a surprise if his side pulled off an unlikely double on Wednesday, the former Burnley manager insists they will have a positive mindset.
“People may think we won’t get anything but that doesn’t mean we think like that,” Dyche said.
“They’re having a fine season but we are going there with the intention to get something out of the game.” Dyche’s biggest puzzle will be trying to coax more goals out of a team that has managed only 17 all season in the league -- the worst return in the top flight.
Their leading scorer in the league this season is Demarai Gray with three while Anthony Gordon also scored three before being sold to Newcastle United in January.
Main striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains injured.
“That’s the challenge,” Dyche said. “The players know we have not been scoring freely but we have got to adapt and ask questions of the opposition.
“We have shown good signs through the way the team is trying to create the energy, the desire and the numbers getting into the box. It has to lead to something.”