Duncan Ferguson says he has made it clear to his players what it means to play for Everton as he prepares to take interim charge of the club for a second time.
Ferguson is back at the helm following Rafael Benitez’s dismissal a little over two years since he did the same following the departure of Marco Silva.
They take on Aston Villa on Saturday looking to arrest a desperate slide in form that has seen them win just one of their last 12 matches stretching back to October.
Ferguson inspired a response from the players during his first spell in caretaker charge, including that rousing Goodison afternoon against Chelsea, and he has clearly worked hard at Finch Farm this week to remind the players of their responsibilities.
“It’s been a good week. The players are upbeat, the sessions went well and I’m happy with how the players have worked.
“I think it’s just a different voice isn’t it? That’s the big difference, you always get a reaction with the players. I pushed them as hard as we can. I want them to keep the intensity.
They’re determined to show their true colours, they were on the floor. It’s very difficult to turn that around. On the training ground they look good, but let’s hope they can do it in a game. That’s where it counts.”
Asked whether the players know what to takes to play for Everton, Ferguson said:
“I think they do know. They should know, but they know now put it that way.”
Ferguson revealed he has spoken to owner Farhad Moshiri and he has been assured he has his full backing.
Moshiri reiterated his commitment to the club in a statement on Friday morning as well as confirming has increased his stake by converting loans into equity.
“The owner has put in an incredible amount of money, what a backing. With the money he’s put in and with the stadium coming he’s shown total commitment to the club and we’re lucky to have him.”
Ferguson unsurprisingly is one of the names put forward for the permanent position having spent eight years coaching the first-team squad under six different managers.
The 50-year-old played down the prospect of taking on the job full time, though he hardly counted himself out either.
“I think maybe down the line, one day I always dream about it. Of course I’ve not quite got that experience. The club will go through a process identifying a new manager and then bring him in. You never know if football do you?
“What happens down the line will be down to the club. We’re always looking for the best managers in the world.
“I’ve got a bit of experience now, going through these emotions. Last time it came very quickly for me, this time I’ve had thinking time. I’m a bit more relaxed about it.
We’re here to steady the ship and we’ve got a connection to the fans so at this moment in time it’s a good option. I think down the line they’ll pick the best manager they can find.”
Another name put forward for the job is Wayne Rooney, a man Ferguson knows well.
Rooney has already confirmed he has not spoken to the Toffees about the role, though reports suggest he would find it hard to turn down if offered.
“Certainly, Wayne has done very well at Derby. He’s an Evertonian. The fans love him. Proved himself at Derby as a very good manager.”
“In the past it’s not been good enough, we need to show the fans what you’re all about and fighting for the shirt.”