Michael Ball has told Rafa Benitez in his column for the Liverpool Echo that Everton must produce an organised performance if they are to take any points against Manchester City.
The Toffees travel to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to resume their Premier League season after the international break.
Everton are chasing a first win in six games against the title-holders after three losses and two draws. Snapping their losing streak with a goalless stalemate with Tottenham Hotspur.
Everton impressed Ball with how their structure restricted what Tottenham could attempt at Goodison Park earlier this month. And the former Toffees defender believes it will be key for the Merseysiders to replicate that performance against Manchester City.
“We all know how good Manchester City are. They’re going to dictate the play, it’s so easy for them to keep the ball,” Ball wrote.
“You realise that’s going to happen. But you have to go in with the belief that you’re going to get something out of the game.
“Benitez has already said that we need to be concentrating in every game and he needs to set up a team that will be organised and switched on like we were in the Tottenham game.
“We’ll have to be the same against City. They’ll try and tire us out with their amount of possession and moving the ball. It’s going to be both mentally and physically tough for the players.”
Can Everton beat Manchester City?
Benitez will be desperate for Everton to take all three-points in a game soon after the international break. But the Blues will have their work cut out to do so at Manchester City.
The Citizens have beaten the Toffees in their last eight meetings in all competitions, seven in the Premier League. Everton have also not won at the Etihad since December 2010.
Yet the Blues showed against Tottenham that they can limit what opposing sides try. And – as Ball notes – Benitez will want Everton to replicate that at Manchester City this weekend.
Everton comfortably contained Spurs, despite Antonio Conte’s arrival seeing the north Londoners produce more intensity than under Nuno Espirito Santo.