Nathan Jones wants his Southampton side to replicate their “complete performance” in the EFL Cup victory over Manchester City as they prepare to take on fellow strugglers Everton at Goodison Park.
Though Jones has lost all four of his Premier League games since taking over from the sacked Ralph Hasenhuttl, he has found relief in the cup competitions, with wins over Crystal Palace and City in the FA Cup and EFL Cup respectively.
The latter particularly was a surprise as Saints held the Premier League champions to no shots on target in reaching the semi-finals.
But with Southampton bottom of the league, Jones wants his players to take that cup form into Saturday’s fixture with 18th-placed Everton, telling reporters: “It’s about keeping consistency really in our performances.
“Against Manchester City last night, it was a complete performance.
“We’re going to prepare a team that’s going to go up there to win a football game.”
Everton were not able to find similar solace, with a 3-1 FA Cup defeat at Manchester United their sixth loss in their last seven matches across all competitions.
Manager Frank Lampard is hoping for signings in January to help the Toffees in their battle against relegation, saying: “There hasn’t been a loose eye, we have to find players that improve us.
“I talk about attacking players, it’s probably the hardest players to recruit, a lot of money, we have to work as hard as we can to find players to improve us. It’s our responsibility to move the team forward.
“We want to stay in this league. The priority is results.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton – Demarai Gray
Since the start of last season, Gray has scored more league goals than any other current Toffees player. He scored an exquisite equaliser against City on New Year’s Eve, and Everton could need another big performance from him here if they are to pick up three points.
Southampton – Moussa Djenepo
The Mali international has started just six league games for Saints this campaign, but he scored a delightful chip in their shock cup victory over City in midweek. Southampton will be hoping he can provide more of that quality if he gets on the field at Goodison Park.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Following their 2-1 win at St Mary’s in October, Everton are looking to complete their first Premier League double over Southampton since the 2001-02 season.
– Southampton are winless in their last 17 Premier League away games against Everton (drawn five, lost 12), since a 2-0 victory in November 1997.
– Everton have lost their last two Premier League games against sides bottom of the table, going down 2-1 against both Norwich (January 2022) and Wolves (December 2022). None of the six ever-present Premier League sides have ever lost three in a row against teams starting the day at the foot of the table before.
– Southampton have lost their last six Premier League games – they have never lost seven consecutive league games in their history.
– Everton have lost their last three home Premier League games. The Toffees have not lost four in a row on home soil in the league since a run of seven defeats between April and September 1958.