Everton assistant manager Steve Round believes the form book should be thrown out of the window for their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Toffees go to Wembley to face their Merseyside rivals on the back of a confidence-boosting 4-0 win over Sunderland on Monday, and are now unbeaten in five games.
But Round, speaking after their victory over the Black Cats, thinks that while Everton’s form is good and confidence is high, it will not be a key factor in the semi-final.
“I think you’re better off having momentum and confidence going into any game,” he said. “But I think a semi-final at Wembley is a one-off.
“A local derby is also a one-off and we’re putting the two together. So whether you’ve got momentum or not, I don’t think it matters that much; I think it’s on the day and I think they’ll battle it out. Hopefully it’ll be a great game.”
Round was also keen to single out the performance of Steven Pienaar in their win over Sunderland. The South Africa international returned to Goodison Park on loan in January after an unsuccessful spell at Tottenham, and Round believes Everton is where he belongs.
“Pienaar’s been terrific ever since he’s come back,” he said. “You can play him off the left, through the middle, or in behind. He’s a terrific player for Everton.
“I think Everton might be his spiritual home. When he plays for us he seems to pull out the best in him.”
Manager David Moyes made five changes for their 4-0 win after their 2-2 draw with Norwich, clearly with the FA Cup in mind, but Round believes the Toffees have enough strength in their squad to be able to rotate.
“I think that’s important for any successful football club - that the competition for places is there,” he added.
“The boys went out there today and proved that, should the manager pick them, they’re ready.”