Leighton Baines calls on Everton to build on festive success
Defender Leighton Baines believes a profitable festive programme has given Everton a platform to build on for the second half of the season.
The 3-0 win over Southampton made it seven points from a possible nine over Christmas and New Year and with only one team - Manchester City - to face who is above them between now and March there is a real chance to gather some momentum.
"It is tough going for everyone over this period but to come away with a 3-0 victory is good for us," said the left-back.
"It gives us confidence, that comes with wining games. The important thing is now to go and build on it.
"We have an important game in the FA Cup (at home to Leicester) and if we can get a win in that the place will be lifted.
"We had good cup runs last year (getting to the semi-finals of both the FA and League Cups) so we'll look to do that little bit better this year."
Against Southampton, Everton were the first Premier League team this season to start with two teenagers and although Dominic Calvert-Lewin was forced off early on with an ankle injury, 18-year-old Tom Davies impressed in midfield.
Manager Ronald Koeman is looking to strengthen the squad in January and is keen to bring in Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin but until that deal gets done Baines believes Davies can help fill the void left by Idrissa Gana Gueye's involvement with Senegal in the African Nations Cup.
"With young players you expect energy and the work-rate to be good but on top of that you can see the quality," Baines told evertontv.
"Tom Davies is a really important player for us. We are going to be missing Idrissa so between Tom and the other lads who are here - James McCarthy is coming back from injury - there is a good chance they will be needed."
While Everton had a profitable Christmas the exact opposite was true for Southampton, who lost three on the bounce.
The schedule saw them play three matches in under five days and the effects were plain to see as the Toffees scored three times in the final 17 minutes as the visitors ran out of steam.
A tricky trip to Norwich in the FA Cup follows this weekend but manager Claude Puel is confident there will be a response from his weary players.
"It's important to continue with good spirit and prepare for a good answer from all the squad," said the Frenchman.
"Now it's important to continue with this character, spirit and come back with good intentions for the next games.
"It's always important for us, the cup games, and of course the other games in the Premier League.
"It's important to prepare for this, to recover in our bodies and in our heads, because it has been a difficult moment, and it's important now to have other games with a little more luck."