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Published: 16:21 | 2/1/18

Everton are improving under Allardyce, says Pickford

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford insists that the Toffees are heading in the right direction under new boss Sam Allardyce despite back-to-back defeats.

Allardyce was undefeated in his first seven games in charge after replacing Ronald Koeman in November, but Everton lost 2-1 at Bournemouth on Saturday and followed that up with a 2-0 reverse at home to Manchester United on New Year's Day.

It leaves the Merseyside club ninth in the table, three points adrift of eighth place Leicester and two points ahead of Watford in 10th.

Everton now face a mouthwatering FA Cup third round tie with city rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Friday, a game that is live live on eir Sport 1 [kick off 7.55pm].

England international Pickford told the club website: He [Allardyce] has brought a good structure and balance to the side.

"I feel like we know where we stand with him. He is all about the basics and that is where we need to start. If we get the basics right, then we can go and play our football.

"The past couple of games have been a bit sloppy from us. We do enough with the gaffer on the training ground two or three days before the game. We do attack vs defence, which is about blocking shots and stopping crosses."

Pickford joined Everton in the summer for £30m from Sunderland. It was a British record price for a goalkeeper and the third biggest fee for a keeper in the world.

The 23-year-old has impressed in a largely disappointing campaign for Everton and earned his full England debut against Germany in a friendly at Wembley in November.

"I feel in a good place," he added. "I don't feel under any pressure - I just want to keep getting better each week in training and in games.

"We know we need to work hard and when we work, we work properly. It is about getting the balance right on and off the pitch.

"The gaffer is good at that, he has a joke when it is the right time and when we need to work hard, we work hard."

Liverpool face Everton in the FA Cup third round on Friday, 5 January, a match which is live on eir Sport 1 [kick off 7.55pm].

Image: Getty/ Alex Livesey

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