West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini admits he did not expect to see Everton struggle this season.
The Toffees have lost five of their first eight Premier League matches and currently lie in the bottom three.
Pellegrini can ramp up the pressure on manager Marco Silva if West Ham can inflict another defeat on them at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Yet Pellegrini knows how Silva feels, with West Ham losing their opening four matches of last season before securing their first victory, at Everton.
“Am I surprised? Maybe, yes,” he said. “They have very good players, they are strong every year so I suppose they expected not to be in this position.
“It’s a difficult situation. They are always a difficult team, they have very good players.
“Last season we beat them there 3-1 when we were in a similar position that they are now, but seasons are different, games are different.
“I’m sure we will find an Everton team with a high pace, trying to recover as soon as they can from the bad results.
“It doesn’t matter if they won or lost their last games, it will be difficult.”
West Ham have made an encouraging start to the campaign, despite slipping to a home defeat against Crystal Palace before the international break.
They currently lie eighth, three points off Arsenal in third, and Pellegrini added: “I think that we are where we deserve to be.
“Of course, winning the last game against Palace would have meant an excellent season so far but we don’t need to balance this moment.
“We must be clear what we need to improve. We must play better, offensive football and defend better.
“I am very pleased with the style of football. We scored a beautiful goal against Crystal Palace, we are making chances and trying to score, we play the most amount of time in the opposite half, we have more shots on target.
“The fans deserve to have our style of football and we will not change that whether we are winning or losing.”
Declan Rice is fit to face Everton despite struggling with a virus on international duty with England.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is out until next year after surgery on a hip injury, while defender Winston Reid and winger Michail Antonio are still out.
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