Baines: We need more than draws
Leighton Baines has called on Everton to dig in and grind out results in order to secure a place in next season's Champions League.
David Moyes' side are looking for a lift as a frustrating February draws towards a close. Everton began the month lying fifth in the Premier League, just one point off a top-four spot, and with a place in the FA Cup's last-16 secured.
But they have since fallen six points adrift of the Champions League places after a 3-3 home draw against Aston Villa and a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United, while they face an awkward cup replay against Oldham next Tuesday after a 2-2 draw at Boundary Park last weekend.
Everton will seek their first win of the month this Saturday when they travel to Norwich, who have gone nine league games without a win.
Left-back Baines, 28, is keen to ensure a victory for a side whose European ambitions have been hindered by the fact that they have been held to 12 league draws this season. But he knows it will be tough against a Norwich side who have drawn their last three matches against Everton.
He told the Liverpool Echo: "They are a good side, Norwich. They started the season well. "We have found it tough against them and we had a tough game against them down there last season. They are strong at home.
"If we want to achieve something, draws aren't going to cut it. We have to find ways to get games won. Sometimes it may not be pretty, but it is about getting games won. We have got to keep clean sheets and get people scoring."
Everton's defence has been one of the more reliable in the Premier League this season, but they have become a little too generous for manager Moyes' liking of late, conceding seven goals in their last three matches.
They were in position to win their cup tie at Oldham last weekend after Phil Jagielka headed them into a 2-1 lead early in the second half. But Matt Smith headed a last-minute equaliser for the League One side to force a replay, leading Baines to state that Everton must get better at closing games out.
"It was a bit of a shock because the goal came so late," he added. "We were disappointed because we want to go through but we have got the replay at Goodison Park and so we will fancy our chances.
"We must now pick ourselves up and go again. We can't really ask for much more than a home tie against a side who play a couple of leagues below you. If we lose, then we only have ourselves to blame. Our destiny is in our own hands.
"We have got to look forward now. We would've liked more from the last two games but we still believe we can achieve something. The games coming up are very winnable."