Morgan Schneiderlin believes Everton proved they have the “intensity” and “desire” to finish the season strongly after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swansea City.
The Blues matched a Swans side which went into the clash having won their past four league games at the Liberty Stadium – beating Arsenal, Liverpool, Burnley and West Ham – with Sam Allardyce’s men coming close to notching their second straight success on the road after the 2-1 victory at Stoke City last month.
Everton took a 43rd-minute lead in south Wales when Idrissa Gana Gueye’s rebound finish was saved by Lukasz Fabianski but the ball hit Kyle Naughton and crossed the line.
Although the Swans levelled through Jordan Ayew on 71 minutes, the Blues showed spirit to respond as Seamus Coleman smacked the crossbar with a volley from Theo Walcott’s cross, while substitute Ramiro Funes Mori – playing his first game in 11 months after a serious knee injury – was inches away from heading home Leighton Baines’ free-kick late on.
After coming back into the side and impressing in last weekend’s goalless Merseyside derby, Schneiderlin once again caught the eye with an energetic display mixed with neat passing and a composed presence alongside Gana and Wayne Rooney in midfield.
The Frenchman had the highest pass completion rate of 93 per cent in Saturday's game, making 53 accurate passes from his 57 attempts. He also had a perfect forward half completion record, finding a blue shirt with every one of his 15 balls into opposition territory.
Although Schneiderlin was disappointed not to come away with a victory, he felt the Blues’ performance showed their hunger to end the campaign on a high, with Everton now a point off Leicester City in eighth place.
“We had intensity,” said the 28-year-old, who signed from Manchester United in January 2017. “We wanted to win the ball but sometimes it’s not enough to want, you have to show a bit more quality.
“We have to show desire (to finish the season strongly). We have to respect everyone at the Club. We can’t relax because we are safe because that was not the target at the start of the season, it’s not the target now.
“We want to finish the season as well as possible and win games. We have a lot of desire so it’s up to us to finish strongly.
“When you are 1-0 up away from home you are disappointed not to win the game but Swansea are fighting for their lives. They’ve had some very good results at home so a draw is not that bad even if we wanted to win.
“We could see that at times our possession and our final pass was not good enough to create chances. We’ve created a few opportunities but when you see the ability that we have in training it has left us a bit frustrated because that bit more quality on the ball could have seen us create more and win the game.
“But it is a point to continue our improved away form and we now want to build on that and end the season well.”
Added to his impressive passing on Saturday, Schneiderlin also made the highest number of "recoveries" - when a player wins back the ball after it has gone loose - with his 15 the most for an outfield player. He also had 71 touches of the ball, a number bettered only by Michael Keane with 74.
The France international, who has 15 caps for his country, revealed he has been pleased with his past two performances in a blue shirt and is eager to build on that for everyone connected with the Club.
“I’m happy with my form,” Scheiderlin told evertontv. “I’ve always been confident in my qualities, confident of what I do. I have great support from people around me, including my teammates.
“I’ve just concentrated on my football and bring my best for myself, for the Club, for my teammates and I’m happy with my performance, although a win would have been better.”