Belfast Telegraph

Sam Allardyce warns Everton players they risk slide towards relegation trouble

Sam Allardyce has conceded his honeymoon period in charge of Everton is over and fears the club could be sucked into a relegation dogfight.

Allardyce was unbeaten in his opening seven fixtures after he was handed the Goodison Park reigns following Ronald Koeman's dismissal.

But following their 4-0 drubbing by Tottenham on Saturday, the former England manager has overseen four consecutive defeats, with his side out of the FA Cup and once more looking over their shoulder in the Premier League.

Everton host West Brom next Saturday, and Allardyce insists it is a must-win fixture for his out-of-sorts team.

"The honeymoon period is over and the players have got to get back to listening to what we need to do to make sure we don't get drawn back into the relegation zone," Allardyce said.

"That is exactly what we are doing at the moment. We have faced facts that we can't hide behind the wonderful run we had without being defeated.

"We have got to realise that we are threatening ourselves with a relegation fight again. That is a fact. We need to make sure we adjust and put that right as quickly as we can by putting points on the board.

"Next week's game is massive for us now, as to whether we are going to start slipping into the relegation zone or decide we don't want to be there and put three points on the board against West Brom."

Everton failed to muster a shot on target against a Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham team who ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

Allardyce, who is hopeful of securing the services of Arsenal forward Theo Walcott over the next fortnight, will sit down with his squad this week and implore that they take his advice on board.

"When you get a shock like that you absorb it, observe it and then explain to the players, 'Here is why you did not perform in the second half, lads'," Allardyce added.

"If we show any complacency or lack of desire this Premier League will punish you because anybody can beat anybody so we have to make sure we are on song."

In contrast, Spurs are now unbeaten in their last six matches following last month's 4-1 drubbing by runaway league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane scored twice against Everton on Saturday to surpass Teddy Sheringham as the club's record scorer in the Premier League, but boss Mauricio Pochettino believes all of his players deserve credit for their recent strong run.

"It is normal that when Harry Kane scores goals, or Dele Alli or Christian Eriksen, it is always the offensive players who take more credit," Pochettino said.

"For me, the other players, such as Hugo Lloris, Davison Sanchez, Ben Davies, Eric Dier, they deserve credit, too.

"Of course, Harry Kane scored twice and Christian also, but we did not concede one shot on target and to keep your goal safe is so important. So we give credit to the whole team."

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