Everton manager Sean Dyche insists scoring goals is a responsibility shared by the entire team
The England striker is set to miss Wednesday's trip to Arsenal as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem. The 25-year-old's long-standing injury woes - he has made only 12 appearances and scored one goal this term - are a big part of the problem for an Everton side whose 17 goals from 24 league games is the lowest tally in the Premier League. Fixing that will be crucial to the Toffees' chances of getting out of and staying out of the bottom three, and although the focus has fallen on the likes of summer signing Neal Maupay, who has one goal in 19 games, Dyche said they cannot rely on individuals. "That's been the theme of the season," he said. "There's lots of work to be done. The team mentality has to be 'we're all allowed to score'. It's not about one player. I ask that of them defensively - clean sheets start from the front. "It's only fair to ask it the other way around. Players have to take responsibility as a group as we all do in making enough chances and taking enough chances." Everton's lack of cutting edge cost them on Saturday, when they had the better opportunities against Aston Villa but failed to convert any and conceded twice in the second half, one from the penalty spot, in a 2-0 defeat.
Such a quandary is not new for Dyche, who last April was urging his Burnley players to "kick it in the net" during their own goal drought. Everton's problems pre-date his arrival at the start of February but the 51-year-old has had conversations like these before. "It's simple to talk about it but it's not easy to deliver," he added. "I'm working with a different group of players but the mentality has been good. "We've got to ask the players to create different ways of affecting games and while doing that not lose sight of the fact the shape has to be good, the defensive shape. The Premier League is unforgiving at both ends. "We've shown good signs of developing the side being tighter and more structured in their defending. Now it's how can we open the door when attacking. "Certainly if you look at Saturday, we'd won two of the previous three and Saturday was a slightly more powerful performance but that's how the big moments count, that's how important they are to change a performance and people's view of it… "The players are working diligently. They know the stats and facts, I don't have to remind them of that, but I've said 'even if you're not scoring, as long as you're doing the right things it will come your way'." Dyche's first game in charge at Goodison was against Arsenal on February 4, and the Toffees upset Mikel Arteta's title hopefuls thanks to James Tarkowski's header in a 1-0 win. But Arsenal have dropped only five points at home this season and a trip to the Emirates will be an entirely different proposition. "They're having a fine season for sure," Dyche said. "They're being very creative home and away but particularly at home, and they've proved they're a force to be reckoned with. "We've got to go down and be ready for that, and also give a performance ourselves like we did at home. It's not as easy, the crowd at home were fantastic and made it a real dominant feel to our performance. "We won't have that away but we want the mentality to be there for our performance."
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