Marco Silva insists the commitment of his Everton players cannot be called into question after their battling performance in Sunday`s dramatic late defeat to Leicester.
Everton were seconds away from securing a priceless away point for their beleaguered manager at the King Power Stadium but were floored by late VAR drama as Kelechi Iheanacho secured a 2-1 victory for the Foxes deep into stoppage time.
The agonising defeat leaves the Toffees and Silva hovering precariously over the relegation zone ahead of Wednesday`s Merseyside derby, but the Portuguese is adamant he has the players behind him.
It`s a harsh result for my players, Silva told Sky Sports. But nobody can say anything about their commitment, about their attitude or about their ambition for this game - it was clear.
We showed that because we knew we had to show a reaction after the performance against Norwich.
It`s just the people who are not with us daily who are not seeing how we are together in this fight. The players are proving this. No one can say anything about their commitment. We will go to Anfield with the commitment we had this afternoon.
Silva promises derby-day fight
Silva takes his Everton side across Stanley Park to face Premier League pacesetters Liverpool on Wednesday.
The Toffees are 26 points and 16 places behind their arch-rivals, but Silva has guaranteed his team will arrive at Anfield in the belief they can cause an upset.
It is our obligation as a club to [go with belief], he added. We know they are in good moment, but everything today and last season should give us confidence.
It will be tough, but we go there to fight and with the commitment of this afternoon and we should improve the results.
Iheanacho seizes chance to shine
In a contrast of emotions, there were scenes of jubilation at the King Power Stadium as Iheanacho`s injury-time goal was allowed to stand, handing Leicester a sixth successive Premier League victory.
It capped a stunning cameo from the bench for the Nigerian, who set up Jamie Vardy for Leicester`s equaliser before ending his year-long goal drought in the most dramatic fashion.
I`ve been waiting for this opportunity and I knew one day it was going to come, Iheanacho told Sky Sports.
I`ve been working hard in training every day to make sure I keep up to the standard, so I`m happy today to get a goal and to assist Jamie. I`ve had to be strong, mentally.
Rodgers hails Iheanacho influence
Leicester`s comeback saw them secure six consecutive top-flight victories for the first time since their club-record run of seven in March 1963.
Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers hailed the impact Iheanacho had from the bench to turn the game in Leicester`s favour.
In the second half we had an idea of changing the pattern, Rodgers told Sky Sports.
Just before we scored, we started to break through, and after the first goal we got good momentum.
But young Kelechi coming onto the pitch was a big turning point for us. I`m happy for him and the other guys because they don`t play as much. I`m so, so pleased.
Rodgers responds to Arsenal rumours
Leicester`s latest victory under Rodgers once again fuelled speculation over the Northern Irishman`s future, with Arsenal said to be potential suitors following the sacking of Unai Emery.
But Rodgers is adamant his focus remains solely on Leicester, adding: I don`t think much about it [rumours]. It`s something that is not in my control, really.
I made a move to come here eight-and-a-half months ago, and I came here to help the project and bring it forward. I`m at a great club who work how I like to work. I absolutely love it here.
Managers lose their jobs all the time, looking to be replaced, it`s part and parcel of the game now. Names will be thrown left right and centre.
With the Arsenal job there is probably about 10 names. But for me, my focus is very much on Leicester City.