Michael Keane wants Everton to make the most out of the hectic festive schedule and start climbing the Premier League table.
The Toffees have been galvanised under interim boss Duncan Ferguson, who stepped in following the departure of Marco Silva.
The former Everton forward guided the team to a 3-1 home win over Chelsea last weekend and will be in the dugout again for Sunday’s trip to Manchester United.
With a Carabao Cup quarter-final with Leicester ahead before back-to-back home matches, against Arsenal and then Burnley on Boxing Day, the outlook could be much changed heading into 2020.
England defender Keane feels a strong showing in a run of four league fixtures in just 11 days would create a different perspective.
“The table is really tight this season, more so than normal, and a few wins in a row can catapult you right up that league,” Keane told Everton’s official website.
“We are still thinking we can get into the top half – and the top six isn’t out of the picture at the minute.
“It is really tight and anything can happen, but all we can do is focus on one game at a time and they obviously come thick and fast over Christmas – but the sooner we start winning consistently, the better.
“Big Dunc (Ferguson) came in and sort of galvanised us.
“He got us up for the game (against Chelsea) and we knew the fans would get right behind us, especially with Dunc being in charge.
“We were after a reaction and that’s what we got. What a day it was for him and all the fans – it was something they deserved.”
Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti has been linked with the Goodison Park hotseat, along with ex-Everton manager David Moyes and Mikel Arteta, the former Toffees midfielder who is currently assistant at Manchester City.
Keane feels whatever appointment is eventually decided upon by the club, Everton’s new manager will be inheriting a high-calibre team, no matter what the current table may suggest.
“The potential in the squad is massive,” said Keane, who started his career as a trainee at Manchester United.
“I see what everyone is like in training every day. The talent is there, no doubt about that.
“We’ve shown that to the fans at certain times, especially at the end of last season when we were brilliant for the last three or four months. It’s just something we need to get back to.
“We gained a bit of confidence from last weekend, but we know we’ve got a talented squad.”
Keane came through United’s academy system, playing five times for the senior side, and made a permanent move to Everton during the summer of 2017 following a spell at Burnley.
He is determined to make Sunday a memorable trip back to Old Trafford.
Keane said: “They will be full of confidence and obviously we have got a bit more confidence from the weekend.
“I will be going there firmly as an Everton player and trying to get a win.”
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