Everton manager Frank Lampard admits it did not take long for reality to kick in after the relegation-threatened side’s morale-boosting win over Chelsea last weekend.
Despite making it 10 points from the last 12 available at home the Toffees were still two points from safety, with a match in hand.
And with two away matches to come next, on Sunday at Leicester and next weekend at second-bottom Watford, Lampard knows his side have to find a way to do something they have not done in the Premier League since August – win away from Goodison Park.
“There was a nice bounce and feeling for everybody after beating Chelsea but reality kicks in a day later,” he said.
“The next games are the most important and they are away games, where we haven’t performed as well as we want all season.
“It is a different challenge now against a fantastic team away from home, where we’ve struggled for results, then we face Watford.
“I have to try to get us in the best possible shape for those games. The players have to retain that nature that makes us difficult to play and score against.
“We have a group of players who are hungry and fighting and that has to stay and get better.”
Roared on by a raucous Goodison, Everton were everything they had to be against Chelsea – positive, committed and organised.
But without 37,000 fans behind them at the King Power Stadium the challenge presented is somewhat different and requires the players to drum up their own motivation.
“We showed fantastic spirit and work ethic and gave a fantastic performance last week,” added Lampard.
“There was a really good collective feeling of players and fans and the stadium all being together.
“In our position, we need everyone to work in the same direction, it makes you so much stronger, and we felt that.
“The fans showed their passion and desire and the players have to reflect that on the pitch.
“We did that – and it is important we sustain it.”
The Everton manager admitted to “prodding” some of his players about their own form and how it could affect the club’s predicament and got the result he wanted.
He has not ruled out similar words prior to Leicester.
“It was very important (before Chelsea) that the players understood our position and what they could do individually to help us out of it,” he said.
“They are long weeks before the games (so) some days you come away from players… on other days they have to really focus on what is at hand.”