06.12.2023 17:27 h

Dyche warns Everton to ignore rivals in fight for survival

Sean Dyche has warned his Everton players to ignore their relegation rivals' results as they battle to climb out of the bottom three.

A 10-point deduction for breaching financial regulations means Everton are scrapping it out with Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United at the bottom of the table.

The Goodison Park club, third from bottom, host Newcastle on Thursday, knowing a victory would lift them out of the relegation zone.

The clubs around Everton are struggling but Dyche says his team cannot afford to be complacent, insisting that they face a difficult fight to beat the drop.

"I think that people are referring to the fact the teams who have come up, who everyone thinks are likely to have a tough season," he said on Wednesday.

"I don't look at it and say 'Ah well, we are OK because these teams are deemed by everyone else to be struggling'. I don't see it like that.

"They are three teams who have earned the right to be in the Premier League so we have to earn the right to be above those three teams as a minimum."

The outcome of an appeal against the points sanction could improve Everton's fortunes.

But Dyche has told his players to earn their Premier League status on the pitch, a task he believes will be easier if they block out the fortunes of their fellow strugglers.

"The 10 points has changed the situation quite obviously, the idea of an appeal and whether we get some of those points back is in no-man's land, so it's back to us to figure out ways of winning games," he said.

"I think that challenge is never-ending in the Premier League, I don't think it is just because of 10 points (being deducted).

"I'm a great believer in realities -- positive realities. I believe in the positivity of what we can do and achieving things.

"There has been no excuse from me about it. This is the reality, this is the challenge. Let's crack on."

The nine-time English champions have been a continuous presence in the top flight since 1954 and have never been relegated from the Premier League.

But they only avoided the drop by two points last season and have spent years in the shadow of city rivals Liverpool, last winning a trophy in 1995.