(Reuters) - Everton manager Frank Lampard believes Saturday's goalless draw with Liverpool in their Merseyside derby was a clear sign that his team, who fought against the drop last season, are making real progress.
Everton had a Conor Coady effort disallowed by VAR which would have given them their first victory of the season but despite hovering just above the bottom three with four points from six games it was an encouraging display from the Toffees.
"I thought we were brilliant. It's one of the best 0-0s you're likely to see," said Lampard, who acknowledged the debt to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
"Pickford made some great saves, you need your keeper to be on it in games like this. It was a real game of two teams going for it. I can't fault the players and the spirit. We played well, we’re getting better," he said.
The central defensive pairing of Coady and James Tarkowski looked solid while new signing Amadou Onana and Tom Davies fought hard in the centre of midfield.
Alex Iwobi was busy in an advanced midfield role and winger Demarai Gray also had some bright moments as Everton showed a structure and shape that was missing for so much of last season.
But Lampard, who brought on new signing Idrissa Gueye in the second half, said it will take time for new arrivals to settle and the team to develop.
"I keep saying the same thing. We're not going from 'just staying up' to the team we want to be," he said.
"We’re trying to build up. You have to get personnel and work on the training ground. It feels like those wins will come. We feel like we deserve more – although maybe not today. The fans can see a team that fights for the badge and gives everything. That makes me proud."
Liverpool have nine points from a possible 18 but manager Juergen Klopp is hoping the return of players from injuries will help kick-start their campaign.
"The situation we’re in right now is not a dream. It’s good that players are coming back, but we have to make sure we use them in the right manner," he said.
"It’s not the start we wanted. Six games and nine points is not exactly a dream, but those are the points we’ve got and let’s go from there. If we get through these moments together we have a chance to create better moments in the future."