October 24, 2014

Though Everton are brimming with confidence following their most complete performance through two months of league play, they won't take anything for granted against a hungry Burnley side at Turf Moor this weekend.

Cautiously optimistic, the Toffees look to keep the Clarets winless in league action Sunday.

Everton (2-3-3) allowed six goals during an 0-1-2 slide that ended with last Saturday's 3-0 home victory over Aston Villa. That effort was more reminiscent of an Everton group whose 39 goals allowed where the third-fewest in league play last season, and not the one that's already yielded 16 this campaign.

"We know it has been an indifferent start. But at the same time, we have played well and we haven't panicked," midfielder Gareth Barry told Everton's official website. "When we get positive results like we did against Villa we know we have a strong enough squad to kick on.

"Hopefully this is the start of a good run."

After recording 15 clean sheets in 2013-14, Tim Howard faced just two shots on goal from the Villans to post his second league shutout this season. He also fared well Thursday as Everton played Ligue 1 resident Lille to a scoreless draw in an Europa League group match.

"We kept a lot of clean sheets last year and it was something we were very proud of," said defender Phil Jagielka, who has two goals in three matches. "Hopefully our confidence can come back now and we can climb the table."

Facing a Burnley club that's managed a league-low four goals in their first top-flight season since 2009-10 would seem to favour Everton in this contest, but Toffees manager Roberto Martinez has made a point to reign his side in from a mental standpoint.

The Clarets (0-4-4) have recorded three of those goals in the two matches that followed a five-game scoreless stretch.

"I think the start they are having in the Premier League is giving them great experience," said Martinez, whose team last posted consecutive league victories during a seven-match run March 1-April 12.

"They're playing an exciting brand of football. They never, ever stop competing. We know we have to be at our best."

Though Burnley fell 3-1 to West Ham United last Saturday for their second loss in three fixtures, manager Sean Dyche believes his club is feeling more comfortable competing in England's top division. That brand of confidence is a must if the Clarets are to break free from the bottom portion of the table. Sunderland managed to avoid relegation despite opening 0-1-7 last season.

"We have to keep learning and we have to get rid of our Premier League naivety," Dyche told Burnley's official website. "It's little things, but we have to grow with that. We know it's a challenge as a club, but we believe in these players and that's a given from me."

Hull-transfer George Boyd, who scored his first of the season against West Ham, knows this match presents a major opportunity for the Clarets to prove their worth.

"We've got to fancy our chances at home against anyone, but Everton are a top, top team and their position is a bit false at the minute," he said. "But we'll go into the game after a good week's training and try to build on the positive aspects from (the West Ham match)."

Everton and Burnley haven't met since splitting their two meetings during the 2009-10 season.

You May Like