Everton boss Sam Allardyce has warned his players they must not regard Monday’s home clash with Swansea as an easy assignment.
The Toffees, 10th in the Premier League having taken 10 points from their last four games, host a rock-bottom Swansea outfit who have been beaten in seven of their last nine.
Allardyce said ahead of the fixture: “I’m not expecting any complacency.
“It is my big word to the players – that this will not be an easy task, it will be a difficult task, as always, and don’t slip up against a side everybody expects you to beat.
“You will only get the opportunity to beat them if you play 100 per cent to your level, which is what we have had to do certainly in the last four games we have played.”
Everton registered only their second win since September when they thrashed West Ham 4-0 at Goodison Park on November 29, with Allardyce watching from the stands ahead of being appointed as manager the next day.
And they have gone on to beat Huddersfield at home 2-0, drawn 1-1 at Liverpool and won 1-0 at Newcastle.
Allardyce added: “I’m working with people who look like they are all on board, trying to go the right way.
“The club has had a difficult spell and hopefully we can continue to get through this difficult spell.
“The lads have done magnificent (sic) by getting 10 points out of 12 and it has given us a little bit of breathing space but not stopped us being as ambitious as we possibly can.”
Everton lost their 2016-17 top scorer over the summer when Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United and have had struggles in front of goal since, although Wayne Rooney has netted five times in the last four league games to take him to 10 for the season in all competitions.
Swansea have also had their leading scorer from last season depart, with Fernando Llorente moving to Tottenham, while another key attacker, Gylfi Sigurdsson, switched to Everton.
And they have registered the lowest number of goals in the division so far this term, just nine in 17 games.
Allardyce feels the loss of Llorente has been crucial for Paul Clement’s side.
He said: “I think Paul did an unbelievable job at Swansea when he came in last year (Clement took charge at the Welsh club in January with them in the relegation zone and guided them to a 15th-placed finish).
“He was so disappointed he hasn’t been able to take it on from there. But like everywhere, there was a change around in players.
“The impact Llorente had with Paul was one of the main reasons they stayed in the league and it has probably been his problem now, where they haven’t got enough goals, or as many as Llorente scored, and hence they have not picked up as many points as they would like.”