herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Stones: 'Toffees are back on song'

Everton defender John Stones believes a period of introspection and assessment has helped put wrong some of the side's problems.

The Toffees went into the 224th Merseyside derby with the fifth-worst defensive record in the Premier League but the goalless draw earned a third successive clean sheet.

Two of those, which have brought four points, have come since the squad returned from a warm-weather break in Qatar, where there was not only plenty of team-bonding but a large amount of time spent at looking where things have gone wrong this season.

"The break was massively important to regroup and regenerate and to look back on the games we played and look at the positives and negatives and try to put them straight," said the centre-back (above).

"We always have to keep in mind where we are going wrong but, especially for us, it was a great break to get away, pick a few key points which were going wrong in games."

If holding their near-neighbours, who have clicked into another gear since the turn of the year, at bay took organisation and determination that and more will be required against the Premier League leaders on Wednesday.

Everton have not won at Stamford Bridge since 1994 but Stones believes they can face Chelsea confident in playing their own game.

"We will approach it as any other game, go in with a positive attitude and see how we can do," he added.

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