Everton manager Sean Dyche insisted staying in the Premier League is the “be-all and end-all” but claimed his side would “respect” the FA Cup by going into the game with the right mentality.
Dyche takes the Toffees, five-times FA Cup winners, to top-flight rivals Crystal Palace for a third-round tie on Thursday.
Everton recovered well after being hit with a 10-point deduction for breaching Premier League profit and sustainability rules in November by winning four successive games last month.
But defeat in their last three has left the Merseysiders just one point above the relegation zone.
“The reality of the current situation is – as it often is — the Premier League is the number one, the be-all and end-all, but my respect to the FA Cup has always been clear and I want the players to understand that,” Dyche told as pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“I thought it was very clear from the last cup we were trying to put a team out that could win, so I will certainly be putting a team out with the mentality to go and win. We want to win every game.”
Everton lost to Tottenham and Manchester City either side of Christmas and it appeared a packed schedule was catching up with Dyche’s squad during a 3-0 defeat by Wolves last time out.
“We didn’t get the results against City and Spurs but the performances were there,” said Dyche.
“Wolves was the first time we’ve dipped in our performance levels really but there were different aspects to it — injuries, suspensions all taking their toll and the game schedule — don’t get me wrong, we all get on with it, but it did catch up with us.”
Palace’s win over Brentford last weekend was a timely first victory in nine games for Roy Hodgson’s side.
“They got the result they needed after a tough run of games and they’ve got a very wise manager, that’s for sure,” said Dyche of former England boss Hodgson.
“I don’t know if they’ll make changes or they’ll stick with the team. Cup situations sometimes see changes to sides and the feel of a game, but we’ll have to make sure we’re ready to get the feel right and the mentality right.”
Dyche added he had no plans to bring in a raft of players during the January transfer window given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding a proposed takeover of Everton by US-based investment firm 777 Partners.
“You never know with the twists and turns of football, how deals present themselves but it is very likely to be quiet,” said Dyche.
“We’ve had a very casual chat about life at Everton, to help them become better informed, but that was it.
“They could promise all sorts but, until it’s a done deal, there’s no point. I prefer facts.”
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