Roberto Martinez says some of his Everton squad are playing for their futures in the final 11 games of the season.
The Toffees welcome Cardiff to Goodison Park in the Premier League on Saturday, in the first of back-to-back home games as they seek to improve the seventh-place position they currently occupy.
"The players are well aware," Martinez told the club's official website. "There's massive competition for places in the dressing room and we all know we've got six demanding games at Goodison.
"That's something we really enjoy, playing in front of our fans and making sure everyone is proud of what we do at Everton.
"We've got 33 points to fight for and it's an essential moment of the season."
Relegation-threatened Cardiff won at fellow strugglers Fulham at the weekend but remain in the bottom three, while Everton's hopes of silverware were ended in the FA Cup quarter-final at Arsenal.
"The only game that matters now is Cardiff," added Martinez. "They are very much in an intense period of their season because of the amount of games left and the number of points they need to achieve their aim.
"We are in the same situation, so it's going to be an intense game. We want that comforting feeling around Goodison again after the disappointment that we had in the cup, but with a real sense of pride and understanding that the players made us proud with their efforts and the character we showed for 70 minutes in a very contested game.
"We need to get back to enjoying our football at Goodison and being together, as we always are."