After a brutal run in the starting XI, Everton club captain Phil Jagielka was dropped last weekend for the game against Manchester United, with Ramiro Funes Mori stepping in. Now with the Blues’ season slowly slipping into disarray, it is likely that manager Ronald Koeman will stick with him in the backline alongside Ashley Williams this weekend for the trip to Watford.
While the Argentine hasn’t been exactly spectacular in the back, he’s been a step above Jags whose mistakes have become much more frequent, and more costly as well. Funes Mori was in a back three for the mauling at Chelsea, then played in a center back pairing with Williams for the win against West Ham United and then last week’s draw with Manchester United.
He was widely criticized by the media for his delayed effort in chasing down Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s chip over a foolish charge by goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, with the ball bouncing tantalizingly off the bar before rolling in.
Now Funes Mori has said that he is willing to stay and win his place in the side.
“My first year at Everton was very good, personally, because I never expected to play a lot.
“I want to stay at the club and keep fighting for a spot and grow as a player.”
On Koeman’s decision to start Jagielka and Williams to start the season -
“I spoke to him and he said he was going to start Phil and Ashley.
“I accepted it, it wasn’t because I was playing badly but it was a change he wanted to make.
“But I stayed confident because it wasn’t because I was playing badly but you have to accept the changes and wait until you get another chance.
“I was at the Copa America so I was a little bit behind. They were already doing pre-season and I had a vacation at that time.
“To come back like that is a disadvantage with the manager but when I came back I started speaking with him and our talks were good.
“He’s a very serious manager and I have learnt from him a lot.”
He also commented on how he felt being a starter again -
“It feels good to be back, it’s been a while since I played.
“I started the season playing but the manager had his reasons and I didn’t play for a while but I’m starting now and I have to keep training and work hard.
“I knew I was going to get my chance again so I have to prove myself and play well to keep playing.
“I don’t like to be on the bench, I like to play every game, but the manager had his reasons so I coped with that, I stayed focused, kept training and knew I was going to get my chance again.”