After the strict regimental nature of Ronald Koeman’s tenure at Everton, there is change in the air for the Blues with interim manager David Unsworth.
Speaking to the media for the first time since taking over for the Dutchman, Unsworth was respectful of his predecessor but at the same time made it quite clear that he had a different style and approach to the team, and that he was going to put it in effect right away.
Press conference time with David Unsworth...Posted by Everton Football Club on Tuesday, October 24, 2017
After talking about his pride and honour at being offered the job even on an interim basis, he got down to the brass tacks about what he would be doing to change the course of how this season is going.
When asked about making this step up from the Under-23s -
“Yeah I want to manage. This is an amazing club to be manager of. Yeah I think I want to manage and the time has come to say that. I make no secret of it at all.
“However, I have a wonderful, wonderful job (already), that is a challenge and something I really enjoy.
“What will be will be. I will give my best on the training ground every day and in games, with the staff that I have got and with the players we’ve got, and hopefully win a few games.”
How is he planning to lift the squad?
“Steve Walsh and I got the players in this morning. Steve spoke to the group and I wanted to speak to them on my own and I did. I won’t divulge what I said because that is between myself and the players.
“We had a great session. The spirit was great. Within five-ten minutes of the ball rolling the players were fine, they were buzzing and I felt it was a really good session.
“Similar to the last time we took the team, the players reacted straight away. We've done a little bit of work for the game tomorrow. I felt it went really well this morning.”
What was the root of the problem this season?
“We’ll all have our own opinions, and we’ll look at individuals and formations, but the bottom line is we haven’t won enough games.
“Performances have been okay, for spells. I don’t think there’s been a lack of effort, the commitment to the cause has been there, and we just haven’t won enough games. It’s very simple.
“It’s a collective thing. The problem is the team hasn’t won enough games, and we have to burden the responsibility together, not down to individuals leaving or individuals not coming in.
“It’s a team game and we burden that together.”
Why have the newcomers not bedded down well yet, players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Sandro Ramirez?
“It's always difficult when new players come into a team that's struggling. The team hasn’t been playing particularly well, we haven’t won as many games as this club would expect.
“For any new player that’s always tough. A new player would ideally like to come into a squad that is performing and winning games because it’s a lot easier and your confidence is high.
“I think confidence looks low in certain individuals but like I said I don’t want to pinpoint any individuals. I'm not going to pick anyone out and say “He’s not playing well” or “You’re not playing well”.
“It's a team thing and as a team we have not performed as well as we should do and not won enough games.”
Has he had a chance to formulate a game plan for Chelsea tomorrow?
“Last night I got the staff in and we started talking about it yesterday afternoon and evening, and we were in early this morning.
“We put something together and we spent an hour and a half on the pitch this morning. We’ll continue to talk this afternoon and while we’re in London tomorrow.
“I’ve got a good idea of the team and how I want to play, and the way Everton fans will respond to how we want to play.
“What time we do have it has to be quality time. We have to be fully prepared. We probably have to work a lot harder as a staff off the pitch because the games are coming thick and fast.
“We haven’t got as much time on the training ground as we want. The players will take up all the information we give them, we’ll try to keep it simplistic between games because they are coming thick and fast.”
When asked if he thought things would have eventually clicked for Koeman, Unsworth was frank -
“I’m sure Ronald will tell you that he thoroughly believed that, but who knows.
“Just because you’ve spent money gives you no desired right to win a football match. You’ve got to earn it in the Premier League, and you’ve got to earn it by sometimes not playing nice football, you’ve got to battle for every single point in the Premier League.
“Just because you spend an amount of money doesn’t give you any guarantees that you can play winning football.
“The demands of this club demand that you have to. What we’ve got to do is get back to winning ways. Whatever team we put out, be it the big money signings, we’ve got to come together as a team.
“I certainly enjoyed working with them this morning. They were very receptive to what we were doing. The quality was there, the atmosphere was there.
“First impressions of a new squad were really good this morning.”
The final question was pretty tough - what can he do with these players that Koeman couldn’t.
“Well, I have a set of values, a way of playing. I’ll keep those to myself and the players, if you don’t mind, that’s the right thing to do.
“Sometimes a change of manager gives a squad or a set of players a lift, sometimes it doesn’t.
“I won’t change what I believe in. The game should be played a certain way. I believe the Evertonians want to play a certain way.
“I’ve been there and done it. I need to use that experience as a player here. I will pass all that experience on to the players here in the right way.
“Big changes no, maybe some tweaks here and there. Like I said, I need to try and spend as much time as I can with the players on the training ground or in meetings, get my point across.”
Certainly sounds like he’s gotten off on the right foot with the players, now let’s see how they react on the pitch tomorrow and what Unsworth does tactically.