Marco Silva says Everton’s victory over Chelsea represents a “really important” step towards convincing his players they can mix it with the Premier League’s elite teams.
Everton got the better of the top-four chasing Londoners courtesy of a second-half display packed with “aggression, desire and quality” at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Manager Silva’s side has consistently run the division’s leading sides close this term. They drew the reverse fixture with Chelsea and also claimed a point from their meeting with Liverpool earlier this month.
Everton’s success against Maurizio Sarri’s team nevertheless marked the Blues’ first win over any of the league’s current top-six sides since the 4-0 dismantling of Manchester City in January 2017.
Chelsea forced Everton back for long periods of the opening half. But roared on by a characteristically fired-up Goodison the home team seized control after the break and won with goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
“It was a really important win for our players and our fans,” Silva told evertontv.
“I never had doubts about the players’ quality. I have to put in their minds they have that quality.
“When they are working together, with that confidence and desire to win the match, we are able to challenge all our opponents at Goodison.
“It is important for the players to realise that if we do what we did in the second half against Chelsea, we can do that [match any opponent].
“That second-half performance has to be our way… our image.
“We did what we planned and put our strategy on the pitch. We need to be consistent and play that way for 95 minutes.
“It was an important moment for our fans after our tough afternoon at Newcastle. They deserved the three points.
“Thanks to them for their support, even when we did not perform well in the first half, they were behind us.
“They were the key, again, to us achieving a result at home.”
Richarlison and Sigurdsson, both currently away on international duty, have 12 Premier League goals each for the season following their weekend efforts.
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Brazilian Richarlison will hope to add to his six full caps – all won since joining Everton last summer – when the South Americans take on Panama and Czech Republic in the next seven days.
Sigurdsson, meanwhile, will lead Iceland’s bid to reach a third successive major tournament when the Scandinavians launch their European Championship qualifying campaign with games against Andorra and France.
Silva was pleased he could count on that reliable attacking duo to convert Everton’s superiority over Chelsea into three points – after the manager had instructed his side at the interval to inject more tempo and zip into their football.
“I was really happy and proud of our players,” added Silva.
“Everything was different in the second half. I said to our players, for us to win, and it was clearly our desire to win the game, we had to do everything differently, with and without the ball.
“I did not like the first half. But in the second, we had the aggression, quality and desire to win the match, the things we always need to put on the pitch.
“It is really important to have players who are consistently scoring. Gylfi and Richarlison are doing well and scoring important goals for us.
“I hope they can keep scoring. And we want goals from all the others. It is important for Bernard to achieve his first Premier League goal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman and Cenk Tosun have the quality to help the team.”