Sam Allardyce says Everton’s game with Brighton & Hove Albion is “massively important” and his side needs to “obviously get a win.”
The Blues have been in wretched form recently, losing three of their last five games and it gets no easier against an in-form Seagulls side who picked up a 2-1 win over Arsenal last time out.
Chris Hughton has seen his side rise to 10th in the Premier League table, going above Everton who now sit in 11th.
The Seagulls could leapfrog Watford in ninth place with a victory on Saturday and Allardyce complimented the work the Brighton boss has been able to do during his time on the South Coast.
He said: “Chris Hughton, outstanding what he’s done at Brighton. I think that he’s a fantastic manager and has proven to be over a number of years now and Brighton are reaping the benefits of his managerial experience of many years now.
“I think that they’ve accumulated a very good and a been shrewd in the market and that’s proved in the way they’re organised,” the 63-year-old continued.
“It’s not just that they’re surviving now, it’s that they’re playing exceptionally well, scoring goals, picking up points home and away, so it’ll be a hugely difficult game for us and it’s not one we can underestimate at all on Saturday.”
Turning it around
The game has become of utmost importance to the home side due to their torrid away form and inability to turn last week’s lead at Burnley into a result of some capacity.
When quizzed about how big of a game this is, for both sides, Allardyce said: “It’s massively important, I think we’re all aware of the disappointment away from home but we have to look at the home results and say that that’s where, at the moment, our bread and butter lies - that’s where we’ve been good.”
“We’ve won the last two home games and I think we’ve only conceded two goals that were two penalties,” he added.
“We’ve played very well at home, the club has played very well at home over recent seasons but our away form is the big problem we have at the moment and we have to put that behind us at the moment and make sure there’s no legacy of the last two away performances and hope to be in top form on Saturday because we need to obviously get a win.”
Everton could welcome back Leighton Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori and Phil Jagielka for Saturday’s clash with the Seagulls.
Allardyce said: “Mori and Jagielka could return - and Leighton Baines as well. I think that our injury list is not too bad at all. Obviously, we’ve got long-term injuries with Mangala and McCarthy but the rest of the players are ok.”
They will, of course, be without Ashley Williams through suspension after he saw red against Burnley last weekend.
“We’ve got a number of centre-halves to choose from who can make the replacement for Ash,” Allardyce stated.