Everton manager Marco Silva highlighted the threat of Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic after insisting he is fully focused on this weekend’s trip to Selhurst Park.
Silva is determined to end this season with a flourish and Everton will visit Palace having won four of their last five games, a run which includes victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Last weekend’s 4-0 thumping of United at Goodison Park will live long in the memory for Toffees fans, but Silva insisted his side – currently ninth in the Premier League table, two points behind seventh-placed Wolves – cannot afford to underestimate Roy Hodgson’s side.
While most observers pinpoint Wilfried Zaha as the Eagles’ talisman, Silva knows Milivojevic can be a formidable opponent, having managed the Serbian midfielder at Greek side Olympiacos.
Silva said at his pre-match press conference: “I’m really happy when I can see our team perform like we did (against United), our players enjoying the game and our fans also. But it was just three points for us.
“We have to keep working hard to achieve what we want the week after.
“This season hasn’t finished yet, there are many things to keep winning until the end, even if you are talking just about three games.
“Next season will be the same, in the right moment we will talk about next season, it is not the moment to talk now.
“Now, for us, it is really important to put full focus on the Palace match, nothing more.
“In my opinion, they have really high quality in their attack line with one player who is the key player who I know very well: Luka will play in the middle zone and can support really well their attack line.
“They will be tough, it is a tough place to play but in my opinion, it is a good place to play, also. It’s up to us to do our best and if we reach our best level we can win the match.”
Richarlison started the rout against United with a magnificent acrobatic overhead kick but was later withdrawn, clutching his left side as he went off minutes after half-time.
Silva revealed Richarlison is a major doubt to face Palace on Saturday afternoon while Theo Walcott, the Brazilian forward’s replacement against United and who completed the scoring, is struggling with sickness.
However, Lucas Digne, another on the scoresheet last weekend, has recovered from a knock he suffered which forced his late withdrawal while fellow defender Yerry Mina has resumed full training.
Everton’s last trip to London ended in a surprise 2-0 defeat at already-relegated Fulham two weeks ago – the only setback in their recent purple patch.
But Silva bristled at suggestions the loss showed Everton’s inconsistent levels of performance.
He added: “For me when we lose one game away or at home, it can happen.
“It’s not the moment to talk about inconsistencies in our team because we lost that game against Fulham.
“All of you expect after three wins in a row to go down there and to win easy. I told you how it would be difficult against Fulham.
“Of course they were better than us, we didn’t perform in the way that I wanted but it’s not a matter of inconsistency because if you look for our form, it’s really good.”
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