Everton's John Stones sees areas to work on but predicts improvement


John Stones admits that Everton still have a few Premier League issues to iron out but believes they are heading in a positive direction.

Everton have gone six games without a win in all competitions, but there is cause for optimism on Merseyside.

The Toffees displayed commendable fighting spirit against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday to take a point in a 1-1 draw.

Roberto Martinez’s side fell behind at Goodison Park to an effort from Fernandinho, but hit back through Steven Naismith just four minutes later to claim a share of the spoils.

John Stones believes recent displays suggest that positive results are coming, with Everton refusing to roll over.

They will get another opportunity to rediscover that winning feeling in midweek when they take in an FA Cup third round replay with West Ham United, and that game could prove to be a turning point in their season.

Stones, who has recently returned to the fold following a niggling ankle injury, told evertontv: "It's good to be back. Hopefully I'll be pushing for another spot in the team on Tuesday.

"I think we've set ourselves a great benchmark to go and get a victory there, particularly with how we've come back into games.

"I think we need to manage the games better and get the first goal. It was a scrappy one to concede [against City] but we can adjust those things. You could see out there that we weren't going to lose - for the fans, for everyone.

"I think we'll do really well now and pick up some points after hopefully going to West Ham and reaching the next round of the cup."

A draw with City saw Everton break a run of four straight defeats in the league, with a mid-season wobble dropping them into the bottom half of the table.

They have slipped 12 points adrift of the top five, with European qualification through their domestic standing looking like a big ask.

Martinez’s men are, however, still in the Europa League and FA Cup and will be hoping that the 2014/15 campaign can be a memorable one.

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