David Unsworth hopes Everton’s “committed” performance at Chelsea is a turning point in their season.
The Blues may have bowed out of the Carabao Cup after goals from Antonio Rudiger and Willian saw them suffer a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, but they were unfortunate that their efforts were only rewarded with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late consolation.
Wayne Rooney was denied by a sprawling save from Willy Caballero and Ademola Lookman clipped the bar with a stunning effort from range.
But Unsworth saw enough from his charges to be excited the future, but has called on his players to build on a strong display in west London.
“Hopefully we will be as committed as that in every game that I am in charge of,” he said. “We want to get on a winning run but we can’t be where we are and expect to win every game. You have got to start with a performance.
“We started with a great display tonight but we want to know go and start a winning streak. But when I see and hear older pros helping the young lads out like they did, then it makes me quite excited to take us forward and work with everybody.
“We had a game plan and the players stuck to that. I am very proud of them. Nobody likes losing but I saw so much to work with in a great, committed performance.
“I’m pleased but not too pleased because we have lost the game. The players have gone over the white line and put in a committed display. I am sure every Evertonian watching that, be it here or at home, was proud of that.”
Unsworth raised eyebrows prior to kick off with the surprise inclusion in the starting line-up of Under-23s midfielder Beni Baningime.
But the 19-year-old repaid his manager’s faith with a performance that encapsulated everything Unsworth was pleased about from his side. However, it was only a stroke of misfortune for fellow midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin that allowed Baningime his chance.
“If I am honest, Beni Baningime was not in the team last night,” added Unsworth. “But Morgan was taken ill and sometimes things are forced on you. That then opens the door to another player and gives them an opportunity.
“I had no hesitation in playing Beni. Over a period of 18 months or so, he has been outstanding. I know he has the ability, the physicality and certainly the temperament to come to the home of the Premier League champions and put on that sort of display.”
“But I didn’t think he would be as good as he was! I was very proud of his display. For those who don’t know him, that tackle he put in in the second half is a regular thing. He’ll do it in training as well. Evertonians better get used to that if he goes on to play a bit more!”