August 16, 2019 / 3:45 PM / 2 months ago

Silva hails solid Everton but wants attack to be sharper

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Everton - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - August 10, 2019 Everton manager Marco Silva reacts REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

(Reuters) - Everton’s ability to shut out rivals is a sign of their steadily improving defence but they will only win matches by being more clinical at the other end, manager Marco Silva said on Friday.

The Merseyside club have kept nine clean sheets in the last 12 Premier League matches going back to last season — including four against the league’s ‘Big Six’ — despite not adhering to a defensive philosophy under Silva.

“If you keep a clean sheet you’re closer to winning... now, we have to be more clinical in the other box to convert chances we keep creating,” Silva told reporters before Saturday’s home clash with his former side Watford in the league.

“To have nine clean sheets in 12 games is fantastic in a tough competition like the Premier League... that means we as a team — not just the backline and the goalkeeper — are working really well and hard... we improve clearly in this situation.”

Silva’s praise for his squad’s solid defence comes after last weekend’s goalless draw with Crystal Palace.

The Portuguese had said before the opener that the club’s failure to bolster their defence in the close season was not the ideal scenario, with only three senior centre backs available for selection.

“I like that the team is solid like we are — we’re not a defensive team at all. We play using a full pitch, and we like to press high,” Silva added.

“We have to put quality in our work... the players have to understand the idea and philosophy, and we have to make them believe this is the way we can be stronger as a team.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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