Dominic Calvert-Lewin has become the first Everton player to speak on the club’s points deduction, insisting the squad remain unfazed by the decision and that he’s “sensed a lot of unity and togetherness” among the group since the sanction was imposed.

Last Friday, an independent commission handed Everton an immediate 10-point deduction – the heaviest such penalty in the 135-year history of the English top flight – after they were found to have breached the Premier League’s financial rules. Although interim chief executive Colin Chong issued a video message on the same day stating: “We believe the sanction is disproportionate and wholly unjust,” until yesterday, nobody on the football side of the club had spoken out.

Director of football Kevin Thelwell broke that silence on Wednesday, insisting Everton’s efforts will now have “the additional fuel of what we believe is a wholly disproportionate ruling.” Manager Sean Dyche will face the media at Finch Farm in his pre-match press conference for the game against Manchester United at 1:30pm on Friday but before then, Calvert-Lewin has now become the first member of the squad to address the matter.

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Speaking on the club’s website, he said: “I’ve played in a lot of games against United at Goodison, and the atmosphere is always incredible.

“I expect the weekend to be no different – if not, more electric. I’m sure the fans will be ready. Us as players, we’ll prepare the same as normal and make sure we’re ready to put in a performance and collect the three points.

“I think, given the circumstances, I’ve sensed a lot of unity and togetherness. We were off on the international break when the news broke, but coming back in this week, I don’t feel like it’s fazed us players.

“We know, as a group, we can’t affect that. All we can affect is what’s in front of us, and that’s the game on Sunday, so we’re looking forward to that.”

Despite being plunged to joint bottom of the Premier League for off-the-field matters, the Blues go into the game having picked up seven points from their previous three fixtures and Calvert-Lewin is determined to keep up their recent good form. He said: “Confidence is as high as it can be, and as high as it should be.

“Within those games, we’ve ground out a couple of results, but we’ve also won convincingly in some of them. We’re taking the momentum into this weekend, and not letting the external things that we can’t really affect have an impact on us in the camp.

“We have to focus on how we have been winning games and how we have been playing well. The weekend should be no different.”

Having become only the fourth player to have scored 50 Premier League goals for Everton on netting the winner in the 1-0 victory at West Ham United on October 29 – following Romelu Lukaku (68); Duncan Ferguson (60) and Tim Cahill (56), the 26-year-old has expressed his appetite to reach the century mark. Calvert-Lewin said: “I’m proud to reach 50 goals. I think it’s something that kind of crept up, really.

“I wasn’t totally aware of it until I was one off. But it’s a great milestone for myself, and I’m hungry to get to 100.

“My favourite would have to be the Palace goal. Palace at home.

“Scoring that goal, I’ve never experienced emotion in a stadium like it. That’s something that will stay with me forever, and obviously, given the significance of the goal, I think that’s my favourite one.”