Everton manager Frank Lampard wants his side to build on their first win of the season and fully capitalize on the compressed nature of the next part of the season.
After waiting seven games for a maiden league win just before the international break, Lampard sees eight games in six weeks as a key factor in building a five-game unbeaten run.
“We have to get as many points as possible in the eight games we have before the World Cup break. It’s like a mini-league,” he said.
“We entered an international break after beating West Ham, which gave us a good feeling. Mentally, I feel we are in a good place.
“It’s exciting for us to see how many points we can get in those eight games to put ourselves in a good position for the restart.”
Everton had back-to-back clean sheets – their first two in the league this season – and it was particularly crucial in securing three points against West Ham.
Last season they managed just eight shutouts throughout the campaign, but a new partnership of summer signings centre-back Conor Coady and James Tarkowski has already made a significant difference.
The return of Idrissa Gana Gueye from Paris Saint-Germain as a defensive midfielder also helped.
“Defending is a collective,” Lampard added ahead of the trip to Southampton.
“Sometimes last season we didn’t defend well enough, and that was important in my thinking and in the club’s thinking during the summer recruitment process.
“Conor and Tarky have been a big plus for us. They have great attitudes. They are both captains in their own way.
“Their performance and consistency levels have been really good. This is what (coherence) we aspire to, to have this solid base.
“The improvement is down to the work we’re doing on the training ground and the consistency of it – and nobody gets complacent because there’s a good feeling in the team and we got a good result against West Ham.
“If we can back up that good result on Saturday then it will show progress. This must continue game after game, week after week.
“This Premier League is so ruthless that if you leave you will give in. It is important that we continue this work.
Lampard will be boosted by the return of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who, due to the international break schedule, has only missed one game in a month with a thigh injury.