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Thursday 18 January 2018

Unsworth's big chance

Everton caretaker boss David Unsworth aims to send a message to his employers in tonight’s League Cup clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Everton caretaker boss David Unsworth aims to send a message to his employers in tonight’s League Cup clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

David Unsworth has confirmed he wants to become Everton's new manager after taking temporary charge following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.

Dutchman Koeman was dismissed on Monday after the 5-2 home defeat to Arsenal dropped the club into the Premier League's bottom three and made it just two wins in 13 matches.

Everton under-23 boss Unsworth has been placed in temporary charge of the senior side and will lead them in their League Cup tie at Chelsea tonight.

Unsworth, a former Everton defender, who also stepped into the breach when Roberto Martinez was fired in May 2016, said: "I'll repeat myself from the last time I was sat here, 18 months ago - who wouldn't want this job?

Amazing

"It's a wonderful football club with amazing fans and it's a top job for any manager, myself included.

"The chairman (Bill Kenwright) has given me an opportunity, (major shareholder) Farhad (Moshiri) has given me an opportunity, the board has given me an opportunity to hopefully get a run of games where performances go up and we produce some wins as well.

"From that - performances and results - will dictate any future for me as Everton manager."

Unsworth added: "I want to manage and this is an amazing club to be a manager of. I think the time has come to say that, I make no secret of that, I want to manage. 

"However, I do have a wonderful, wonderful job that is a challenge and something I enjoy so what will be, will be."  Unsworth's reputation has grown over the last year after guiding the under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

The 44-year-old, who had two spells as a player at Goodison from 1992-97 and 1998-2004 making 350 appearances and scoring 40 goals, is likely to remain in place for the Premier League visits to Leicester and Watford - either side of the Europa League trip to Lyon - before the international break.

He admitted his pride at taking the reins again, adding: "I'll lead Everton out - it doesn't matter for how many games - I'll stand there a proud man and give it everything I've got.

"It's a very easy decision to make. I spent the afternoon with the chairman yesterday. We spoke everything Everton.

"From how many games (I'll be in charge) to individual players, from long-term, short-term (goals). 

"I had a great chat with the chairman. It's not a difficult decision to stand as Everton manager. If you're an Evertonian, that makes you very proud."

Unsworth's previous one match in charge on the final day of the 2015-16 season saw him oversee a 3-0 win over Norwich, notable for handing academy graduate and now first-team regular Tom Davies his first Premier League start and giving Jonjoe Kenny a senior debut off the bench.

His installation as a short-term measure will be popular with fans, who believe Unsworth can inject some life into a lacklustre squad - which Koeman was criticised for failing to do.

Ahead of tonight's League Cup clash at Stamford Bridge, Unsworth hailed the players' spirit on the training pitch as they head to London looking for a reaction to their five-match winless run in all competitions.

He added: "We had a great (training) session. The spirit was great. Within five or 10 minutes of the ball rolling, the players were fine, they were buzzing.

"I thought it was a really good session, very similar to last time when we took the team - the players reacted right away. We've done a little bit of work for the game tomorrow and we'll travel down to London this afternoon.

"I've got a good idea of the team and how I want to play and the way the Everton fans will respond to the way we want to play."

After the trip to Chelsea Everton have Premier League visits to Leicester and Watford, with a Europa League trip to Lyon in between, before the international break.

With not much time to regroup between fixtures, Unsworth believes preparation will be key.

He said: "We probably have to work harder as a staff off the pitch now as the games are coming thick and fast.

"We haven't got as much time on the training ground as we would want but the players will take on board the information we give them and we'll have to try to keep it as simplistic as we can in between games."

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