Everton manager Sean Dyche warned his work in turning the Toffees around has only just begun after securing Premier League survival on Sunday.
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s stunning strike earned a 1-0 win over Bournemouth that will stretch Everton’s stay in the top flight to 70 years as Leicester and Leeds joined Southampton in heading down to the Championship.
Everton also needed a heroic victory in its final home game of last season to avoid the drop under Dyche’s predecessor Frank Lampard.
And the club’s woes are not restricted to their performance on the field.
Everton is facing Premier League charges over an alleged breach of financial fair play rules last season and is seeking external investment to be able to complete the club’s new stadium.
“It’s a big club, big history, but we are not performing like a big club,” said Dyche, who was only appointed as boss of the nine-time English champions in January.
“Evertonians have got to remember it’s a big project because it’s been going on for at least two years.
“I’ve not got magic dust. There is massive amounts of work to be done.”
Due to Everton’s financial difficulties, Dyche is unlikely to be handed much money to work with in the transfer market.
But after hundreds of millions have been wasted during Farhad Moshiri’s time in charge of the club, Dyche is putting a stronger emphasis on the character of new recruits.
“We’ve got to demand more internally,” he added. “We’re not ready to be up there yet. It’s going to be building to progress.
“I’ll be very surprised if they say ‘here is another war chest’. We’ve got to recruit players who understand this club.”
Dyche recalled Conor Coady to the starting line-up for the first time since February for what could be his final game for the club after a season-long loan from Wolves.
A Liverpool native, the England international said it had been the hardest season of his career, but he was relieved not to go down in history as part of a rare Everton relegation.
“We need to improve and reset. It’s been the hardest season of my life, and finally we’re there now,” said Coady.
“A lot of relief. We had a plan, we were focusing on ourselves. I actually thought we played really well considering the circumstances.
“You don’t want to be part of this giant of a football club going down. We reiterated that all season.
“We’re not, but now what we’ve got to do is not make this a common theme. This club has to rise and get better now.”
- Odisha FC 0-0 Mohun Bagan LIVE score, AFC Cup updates: Game stays goalless at half-time; OFC down to 10 men
- Asian Games: India beats Cambodia 3-0 to begin volleyball campaign on winning note
- CHN vs IND, Asian Games: Indian football opens Hangzhou 2023 campaign with a 1-5 loss to China
- Manchester City favourites to win Champions League, says Ancelotti
- Nischal wins silver with new national record at Shooting World Cup in Rio