Roy Hodgson says a Monday night clash with Brighton and Hove Albion offers the perfect opportunity for his side to put recent performances behind them.
“The fact that it’s Brighton adds that extra spice," he said at his pre-match press conference, "because it’s a match very important to the fans – and everyone at the club is aware of that.
“I think whatever team we’d have played after the last two results, where we’ve been below par, we’d have been anxious to show that we were better than that.
“It’s important to get out there and show the fans that the last two performances are not what they can expect from us.”
Hodgson says his side are determined to prove that the defeat to Burnley was not representative.
“This is something we take seriously,” he said. “When the fans are upset, you take that seriously – we play football for the fans, they are the lifeblood of the club.
“But as a manager you have to keep things in perspective. There are players, when you’re not doing well, who are showing things but won’t get recognised because everyone wants to dismiss the performance as showing no desire, when it’s more complicated than that.
“We know we need to play better. We need to get some points on the board, but the only way to do that is to keep working, to keep ensuring that the players are aware of what’s required from them.”
The manager pointed out that the squad has been unfortunate at times with fitness concerns, in this busiest of seasons.
“No doubt in a club like ours where the squad is not as profuse as it is in some of the clubs above us, we do suffer greatly when injuries come our way.
“We need to get the players in good shape mentally, physically and tactically to play against Brighton, and we hope we can play well and put the two bad performances behind us.”