Few former players wear their Toffee hearts on their sleeves like Duncan Ferguson does, and he brought that passion with a sense of humour to his first press conference as the Everton manager today ahead of the game against Chelsea tomorrow.
When asked what was the one key element he needs to correct in this side to get results back on track, Big Dun was in no doubt whatsoever.
“It’s confidence isn’t it? You’re losing games, getting beat by Liverpool 5-2, that doesn’t help, does it?
“We need to get the players on side and in a good frame of mind, and pick them up quickly. In football we say there’s always another big game coming. There’s few bigger than Chelsea at home.
“We need to move on, unfortunately, and look to the next game. We’re desperate for points aren’t we, so that’s really been the message.”
On how he was going to go about restoring the confidence, Ferguson was keeping it simple.
“Just sending a positive message really. I know it’s been a difficult time but we’re going to the training ground and trying to lift the players.
“Of course we’re a good team. We believe we’re a good team, we’ve got good players in the squad, so they’ve got to believe that as well.”
Regarding the training session today that he took with his caretaker coaching staff of former players John Ebbrell, Francis Jeffers and Alan Kelly, Ferguson added -
“It was good, the boys seemed okay, they trained well, never looked like there was any problems.”
The club announced that he would be in the role on an interim basis, but what were his thoughts around the permanent position.
“It’s a fantastic club isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be Everton manager?!
“It’s an attractive club, we’re not so many points off midtable, so if we can string a few results together, I’m sure we can start climbing the table. It’s a great job, so I’m sure there will be many top managers looking for this job.
“Sounds easy, but right now we’re just focusing on tomorrow.”
Would he like to take the job himself fulltime?
“I’m a coach at the moment so I don’t think it’s something I’m considering at the moment! I’m sure the club will find a real top manager and attract him to the club.
“Of course it’s a dream of mine to be the Everton manager, but I’m also realistic. My focus is only on tomorrow, my aim is to get some points tomorrow.
I’m a loyal guy, been loyal to the club. I’d love to work with whoever the new manager is coming in to the club.”
On how he would approach Chelsea, who have overcome a rocky start with Frank Lampard at the helm.
“They’re doing a great job and they’re a top team. He’s doing a very good job isn’t he? Has he got any tips?
“We need to compete at their level. We need to cover every blade of grass and fight for every ball. We’ll put a gameplan together and hopefully it’ll come off.
“We need them [the home fans] up for it. Obviously they know the position we’re in in the league, and have just lost a manager. And you know, they need to make sure the atmosphere is spot on on Saturday.”
There is no respite for the squad from the physio’s office.
“No unfortunately. Seamus Coleman no, Fabian Delph no, any of the long term injuries, no.
“Yerry Mina has been assessed, is a doubt, but he was back at training this morning so we’re confident.”
Have Everton been victims of the injury bug and VAR decisions going against them, though to his credit Silva didn’t attempt to pass off the blame either?
“It is what it is, we are where we are. We just got to try and change all that tomorrow. The focus is on tomorrow.”
Ferguson’s family is woven into the fabric of the club, and he spoke of his pride at leading out the side tomorrow, starting with his kids who are season ticket holders and sing along to the ‘Duncan... Duncan Ferguson’ chant heard often.
“They’ll be in the Lower Gwladys Street End tomorrow. Of course my brother-in-law John Parrott [host of BBC’s ‘A Question of Sport’] will be there. I’ve got a lot of connections here.
“It will be a very proud moment for my family and myself. Let’s hope they’re singing tomorrow ey?!”
Here’s wishing Big Dunc all the best tomorrow as he realizes his dream of being Everton manager.