Carlo Ancelotti knows Everton still have a lot of work to do if they are to achieve their aims for the season as he prepares to take charge of his 100th Premier League fixture.
The veteran Italian manager previously won the top-flight crown in 2009-10 with Chelsea and is now enjoying a good time of things in his spell at Goodison Park. Everton have won their first six games of the season in all competitions for the first time in 82 years, three of those victories coming in the Premier League.
With James Rodriguez and Allan settling in well, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring eight times in five games, Everton have been tipped as serious top-four contenders. But Ancelotti is experienced enough to know how hard it can be to sustain a fast start across the course of a whole season, particularly when injuries take hold.
"We are really pleased for the start, we have done really well. But we want to focus on what is going on," he said. "The start has been good but it is only the start.
"The season is long. I advised them that there would be difficulties. We have to focus every game, but the atmosphere, the spirit of the team is really good. The new players adapted really well and really fast. Everything is okay in this moment but tomorrow it will be more difficult because we have some injuries."
Ancelotti has been impressed by next opponents Brighton and Hove Albion in the early stages of the season, but good performances have not always equated to maximum points.
Albion were unfortunate to lose against Chelsea and Manchester United, either side of a 3-0 victory at Newcastle United, and Graham Potter accepts winning games is the most important thing.
"We feel that we could have had an extra couple of points so far. But at the same time, that's an indication of what we need to do to improve," he said. "The job is to be consistent whether you win or lose. The group have always been good in terms of their perspective and the challenge is to be ready for Saturday."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton - Fabian Delph
Allan is one of those to have been ruled out of this match with a groin problem and will be a huge miss for Everton, as will Andre Gomes alongside him. Experienced England international Delph seems the most likely bet to slot into central midfield and, having looked solid in his two cup outings so far, he will be eager to impress here.
Brighton - Leandro Trossard
Brighton were extremely unlucky not to take anything off Manchester United last weekend as they hit the frame of the goal a record five times. Trossard may have been responsible for three of those post hits, but he did at least keep cropping up in dangerous areas, which Everton will have to be careful of on Saturday.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Everton have won all three of their Premier League home meetings with Brighton, scoring six goals and conceding just one.
- Brighton have never won away at Everton in all competitions, drawing two and losing six of their eight visits.
- The hosts are looking to win each of their opening four games to a top-flight season for the first time since 1969-70, when they went on to win the title.
- Brighton are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League away games (W3 D5). They have won three of their last four on the road, as many as they had in their previous 27 (W3 D9 L15).
- Ancelotti has won 59 of his previous 99 Premier League matches. Only five manager have won more of their first 100 in the competition than the Italian - Jose Mourinho (73), Pep Guardiola (73), Manuel Pellegrini (65), Alex Ferguson (62) and Roberto Mancini (62).