Marco Silva calls for cup final performances for rest of season

Everton manager Marco Silva has urged his side to treat every one of their remaining nine Premier League fixtures of the season as a cup final.

A goalless draw against Merseyside rivals Liverpool last weekend kept Everton 10th in the top-flight, 12 points above the relegation zone but 19 adrift of the top six.

Yet another mid-table finish is seemingly on the cards for the Toffees despite a significant outlay on players last summer but Silva is determined not to let his players rest on their laurels.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s trip to Newcastle, Silva said: “Each game, each moment for us is to play a final and do our maximum to achieve the three points and do everything in a good way.

“(We want) to finish on a good run and in a good spot in the table.

“Everything is open for us, it’s not important to talk about the last position, we have to look now for ourselves and to play each game as a final.”

Everton built on last week’s victory over Cardiff by holding title challengers Liverpool to a stalemate at Goodison Park, where Jordan Pickford made an excellent save to deny Reds forward Mohamed Salah from point-blank range.

Pickford’s error in the dying seconds at Anfield gave Liverpool a last-gasp derby victory at in December but Silva insisted the England goalkeeper had nothing to prove last Sunday.

Silva said: “Even at Anfield he did good saves. Not just at Goodison. I know you just look at the last seconds of the match but even in that game he did what is normal.

“His performance (last week), of course he did well, he did a good save in that moment. He didn’t have many, many moments to do a good save because our opponent didn’t have big chances to give more work to Jordan.

“It was a good save but to change something about three months ago doesn’t make sense. Even in that match he did very good saves also.”

Full-back Leighton Baines has returned to light training but will be unavailable for the trip to St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

Fellow defender and club captain Phil Jagielka is a doubt, having missed Everton’s last two training sessions.

Jagielka made only his third appearance of the season in the 3-0 win at Cardiff while he was an unused substitute against Liverpool.

Silva added: “Leighton is not ready, he has started to work with the team but not full, he’s not ready.

“Even Jags is out of the last two sessions also. All the others are OK and we are ready to go, play a tough match and one idea in our mind is to win the match.”

- Press Association

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