Everton captain Seamus Coleman believes last season’s narrow escape from relegation can have a positive effect as they seek to drag themselves clear of the bottom three again.
A year ago the club were mired in a survival battle when the right-back scored in a win over Leeds which was the start of a sequence of six victories which ultimate saved their top-flight status with a game to spare.
Fast-forward 12 months and the Republic of Ireland international grabbed a goal of potentially even greater value to beat the Elland Road side 1-0 to make it back-to-back wins at Goodison Park.
Already the club, with new manager Sean Dyche just three games into his spell, feels in a better position to stave off a first relegation since 1951 and part of that comes with the former Burnley boss’s organisational skills but also due to the squad’s experience of what is required to survive.
“Unfortunately, having been through it before, it does feel different this time,” said Coleman.
“Maybe last year you’re carrying it so much on your shoulders and you’re thinking ‘Oh my God, this club can’t be where it is’.
“But this year you realise that we’ve been here before, we know what it takes, we know that we’ve got to stick together – that’s the most important – and the manager’s played a big part in that in the last couple of weeks.
“The manager (Dyche) has come in, he’s got experience, he’s tough, he’s confident in himself.”
Coleman’s first goal in a year was, if he is believed, all down to vision and skill of execution even if at first glance it appeared a wayward 64th-minute cross from out wide had embarrassed goalkeeper Illan Meslier at his near post.
“I knew that maybe the keeper would have anticipated a cross. I could’ve hit it another 30 times and never hit it as sweet but thankfully I did,” said the Irishman.
“It was important. That felt big. This means so much to the people of the Everton side of Liverpool and we’re living and breathing it every day.
“There’s no getting away from it – it’s hard. That’s only three points for us and it’s been an extremely tough couple of years but I’m a fighter, have always been a fighter and (in the dressing room) we’ve got fighters in there.
“In the last couple of years, there’s no getting away from it, it’s not where this football club should be, fighting at the wrong end of the table but we will keep fighting.
“We’ve got an incredible fanbase behind us to push us over the line.”
Leeds dropped to 19th place after a 10th match without a win and a game against a relegation rival which finished with no shots on target.
They cannot afford a repeat at home to bottom side Southampton next weekend and caretaker manager Michael Skubala is confident the squad has what it takes to end a run which has brought just four points from a possible 30.
“We have good players in the club. We have good midfielders, good defenders, good strikers,” he said.
“We’ve just got to get it right and keep pushing and keep moving forward. I’m full of confidence we can get out of it.”