Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson will demand Everton players ‘run themselves into the ground’ after dishing out a few ‘home truths’ following the sacking of Rafael Benitez.
Benitez spent less than seven months in charge at Goodison Park and lost his job following Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Norwich, a ninth defeat in 12 Premier League games.
The Toffees now sit just six points above the relegation zone, with former Liverpool boss Benitez paying the price for the poor run of form and Ferguson taking charge for the club’s ‘upcoming games’, starting with Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa.
Duncan Ferguson is demanding Everton players for more after dishing out a few home truths
It is Ferguson’s second spell as caretaker boss after taking charge of three games during December 2019 following the dismissal of manager Marco Silva and the combative former Everton striker has made his intentions clear.
‘The players have always worked hard but I am pushing them as hard as I possibly can, then they will feel great coming off the training pitch, as we all do when we put in a good day’s work,’ Ferguson told EvertonTV.
‘They are upbeat sessions, with hard work and clear and simple messages. I am getting among the players and telling a few home truths because the past has not been good enough.
‘But it is in the past. We move forwards, the game is coming and let’s get ready for it. They [Everton players] should give everything. They should run themselves into the ground.
Anthony Gordon (pictured) and his Everton team-mates sit just six points above the drop zone
Rafael Benitez was sacked following a seven month stint after Everton lost 2-1 to Norwich City
‘They should roll up their sleeves and fight for the club in every single game. Imagine if you asked a fan to put a shirt on and get on the pitch, what would they do? Well they need to do that.
‘I have confidence in the players and the team and think they can win every game and that will be no different on Saturday. We have a lot of great players in there and they will step up, I am sure.’
Ferguson’s first stint in caretaker charge began with a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park and the 50-year-old Scot has called on the club’s fans to recreate a similar atmosphere against a Villa side managed by former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard.
Ferguson in training has called on Toffees fans to create a similar atmosphere to his first stint as caretaker manager
‘We need everybody in our corner and to make sure we are all together. Everybody at Finch Farm, everybody at the stadium and everybody in the city,’ Ferguson added.
‘I feel very honoured the club turned to me again. I have spoken to the owner and chairman and they have been very supportive.
‘And we are all willing for us to get a result on Saturday. It is a difficult time, results have been really poor, to be honest.
‘It was an electric atmosphere [against Chelsea], one of the best I’ve experienced at Goodison, and I am sure they [the supporters] will be well, well up for it this weekend.
‘We really need them to push us across the line for the whole game.’
It has been reported that Wayne Rooney – the former Everton forward currently managing Derby – and ex-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard are set to be interviewed for the full-time job.
Derby County manager Wayne Rooney is being heavily linked with the Everton job
Former Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro has been interviewed for the vacant Everton job
It was also revealed that the Toffees have interviewed former Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro for their vacant managerial role.
Ferguson said he is happy with his caretaker role, adding: ‘I’ll only be in charge for the upcoming games. The club are in a process of going through their candidates.
‘They will go through that process and I am sure they will get the best man for the job.’
Yet there can be no hiding from the fact that Ferguson is not the fresh face that could lift spirits in that beleaguered dressing room.
The Scot returned to Everton as a youth coach during David Moyes’ tenure, before being promoted to the first-team coaching set up by the current West Ham manager in 2014.
As a result, Ferguson has been part of the backroom staff of no fewer than six departed managers at Goodison Park, including Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Silva, Carlos Ancelotti and Benitez.
There is no doubt that Ferguson has showed he can give his players the rocket needed to get them out of a slump, but with the dressing room so familiar with the Scot, his influence may not be as effective as it once was.