Sam Allardyce wants Everton to draw on their positive home form under his management in a bid to get back to winning ways against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Since Allardyce became boss at the end of November, the Blues have won three and drawn two of their six home matches, their only loss coming to second-placed Manchester United on New Year's Day.
The last time the Toffees played at the Grand Old Lady, they put in an impressive display to defeat in-form Leicester City 2-1 courtesy of a Theo Walcott double. That fine work was derailed last Saturday after a 5-1 defeat at Arsenal. But with Crystal Palace next up at Goodison Park this weekend, Allardyce has called on his team to take encouragement from their form on home soil and look to cement their position in the top half of the Premier League table.
"It is focusing on our own form," he said. "We have won three, drawn two and lost one out of six games since I have been here, so our home form is very good and it's our best way of staying in the top half.
"Our home form has to be continued, starting with Crystal Palace on Saturday, as it was against Leicester. As like Arsenal they go to Swansea and lose, come back and play well and beat us, we want to repeat that against Crystal Palace.
"Like you would expect, the lads have accepted that we weren’t able to compete with Arsenal but in reality an Arsenal side as good as that punishes a lot of teams and has punished a lot of teams on their home soil. It is a result we have to respond to in the right way."
In his pre-match press conference, Allardyce reiterated that last weekend's performance was "clearly below the levels we expect". But he pointed to the Blues' ability to come from behind this season - picking up a league-best 13 points from losing positions - as proof that his team can battle through adversity.
"(Arsenal) is one of those blips we have to get over and get over it quick," said Allardyce, who also confirmed that injured duo Leighton Baines (calf) and Maarten Stekelenburg (hernia) are due to return to first-team training in the next fortnight.
"We have created more points from going behind than most teams in the Premier League. We don’t always fall foul to a heavy defeat, we can lose a goal and get a result quite well, and as well as any team in the Premier League. We can’t forget that in one isolated incident."
He added: "(The injury situation) is the best since I have been here. Stekelenburg is nearly training, Leighton is not on the field but is in the full mode for recovery. He is running and we would expect by the time we play Watford that he will be clear, so the injuries have been pretty good, especially considering how many injuries there were when I arrived - and some were long-term."
Saturday's match against Palace has been dedicated to Everton in the Community as the Club’s official charity celebrates its 30th birthday.
Allardyce recently saw EitC's fine work first-hand when he attended a James Greenop Legacy Kicks’ football session. And he was once again full of praise for what the award-winning charity does across Merseyside.
"I only had a small time with the community and I can't speak highly enough of the community as a whole across every football club because they all do a fantastic job," said the Blues boss.
"I have never seen a club do as much for the community as Everton does. They have the Freedom of the City and rightly so because they do so much for the community and bring comfort to so many people."
Everton entertain Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon in a game that has been dedicated to Everton in the Community as the Club’s official charity celebrates its 30th birthday.
Fans are encouraged to arrive at Goodison in plenty of time ahead of kick-off at 3pm so they can join in the celebrations and find out more about the fantastic work of our award-winning charity.
Everton in the Community have been granted the street collection licence for its birthday fixture so please give generously if you see one of the charity’s volunteers around Goodison Park – anything you can donate will help EitC continue its life-changing work across Merseyside. Alternatively, you can text to donate by messaging EITC30 £3 to 70070.
Led by local band Hornography, Everton in the Community staff will take part in a flag parade around the stadium from 2.15pm before entering Goodison Park at 2.45pm just ahead of Goodison. Be sure to take your seats early to show your appreciation for EitC!
Nine mascot places and the Toffee Lady place for Saturday’s fixture have also been gifted to the charity by the Club for fundraising so please show your support to our young Evertonians as they lead the Blues out to the sound of Z Cars at kick-off.
There’s also still time to register to take part in the special crossbar challenge competition at half-time to win two tickets to the charity’s exclusive black-tie Gala Dinner on Tuesday 13 February. Find out more here -http://www.evertonfc.com/community/news/2018/02/06/can-you-hit-the-bar
As always, please share your matchday with us on social media using #EFCmatchday and #EITC30
With activity beginning at around 12pm, the FanZone is the perfect place to get in the matchday mood.
Live music comes from Flynn and Tonics, hosted by Gavin Pettiffor and Giulia Bould with team news reaction with former player James Beattie. There will be interviews with EitC key staff as well as videos showcasing the work of the charity.
Evertonians have the chance to win a £25 shop voucher through two competitions - a picture quiz competition and "Play Your Cards Right".
Don’t forget to collect your commemorative EitC30 flag from the Fan Zone and wave it with proud during the pre-match flag parade.
THE MATCHDAY HUB
The Matchday Hub will be open to the public from 12pm where there will be a games area, a DJ and also face painting and plenty of opportunities to find out more about EitC as the charity’s staff man a number of market stalls.
The Heritage Society will also be in attendance as well as Match Attax and, going right back to the early years of EitC, our resident Matchday Hub DJ will be playing music from 1988.
There will be a children's meal deal for £5, which includes chicken nuggets or a giant sausage roll with fries and a soft drink. Adults meals are on offer at £5.50 and include a steak and ale pie, chips, peas and gravy.
Everton in the Community staff will be delivering three football coaching sessions on Saturday. Ages 5-7 will be at 1pm, ages 8-10 will be at 1.30pm and ages 11+ will be at 2pm. Youngsters will also have chance to take part in a poster competition to celebrate EitC’s 30th birthday and be in with the chance of winning a £25 Everton gift voucher.
The Cruyff court area to be used by EitC’s Kicks team as they take on their Crystal Palace Kicks counterparts from 1pm-2pm.
Imperial Photo Booth have kindly donated the use of their photobooth to the charity free of charge for the game so come down and try out your best poses and take home a commemorative EitC30 photograph.
THE COMMUNITY HUB
Cafe open from 12pm until 2.30pm, with pre-packed sandwiches, tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks available.
ST LUKE’S CHURCH
The Everton FC Heritage Society will be located upstairs at St Luke's Church with displays covering the history of the Blues.
There will be stalls selling old programmes, memorabilia and merchandise. Tom Regan, a regular attender at St Luke's, will be showcasing his displays of "Toffee Art".
Visiting fans are always welcome and we have a feature on the opponents of the day, including a DVD showing goals from previous encounters.
Zaha is out for us for at least the next 6 games. Some on our forum think this may be a blessing in disguise for us as there is too much reliance on him, especially when he is not at the top of this game like he has been the last few weeks.
I see this, unusually for February, considering we are playing a team in 10th, as a proper 6 pointer. 7 & 3 points from the relegation zone respectively, it's a very important game for both teams.