David Unsworth says he is “excited” about working with Everton’s players after seeing his team deliver a performance at Chelsea laced with “commitment” and “fighting spirit”.
The Toffees exited the Carabao Cup after being hit by goals either side of half-time from defender Antonio Rudiger and Brazilian attacker Willian.
Dominic-Calvert-Lewin sliced the Blues’ deficit in half in the game's dying embers but there was insufficient time remaining for Everton to force an equaliser.
And while confessing his disappointment at the final result, Unsworth was enormously encouraged by a display from his side he insisted could provide the foundation for an upturn in the Toffees’ fortunes.
“I do not like losing and we have spoken about that in the dressing room,” Unsworth told evertontv.
"But there were so many positives. There was a brilliant team spirit. We reconnected with the fans tonight… I felt the fans were brilliant with the players.
“It is not about me or any individual, it is about us as a team and club coming together and showing the fighting spirit and commitment we had throughout that 90 minutes.
“As much as I am not happy we lost, I am proud of the commitment everybody showed.”
Unsworth handed an Everton debut at Stamford Bridge to 19-year-old midfielder Beni Baningime and recalled James McCarthy to the side following the midfielder’s absence with a knee injury.
McCarthy put in a typically energetic and robust shift on what was his first start since 4 February, before being withdrawn for striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin on 64 minutes – in what Unsworth explained was a predetermined change.
“We had a gameplan for an hour, then knew from a tactical point of view we would have to turn it around because I knew James would only have 60 minutes in his legs,” said Unsworth.
“Then we knew we would change it to get a more offensive player on and start creating chances. And we did that – it worked perfectly.
“The two goals we conceded from set-pieces... I was not happy about but they were two great finishes.
“Even at 2-0 we kept going and got the goal. You could see the work rate, spirit and commitment – that is that we are looking for.
“We can iron out issues and problems and it is a great start, something to really build and work on.
"I thought Beni was terrific but I thought everybody was terrific. I could not be more proud of our players tonight, everybody, the staff, the players who did not get stripped, the substitutes – we all contributed to a committed performance."
The travelling Evertonians afforded Unsworth and his players a rousing reception at the final whistle.
And the former Blues defender is determined to start giving the Club’s supporters something to celebrate.
“It means the world (the ovation at the end),” added Unsworth. “I love our fans. They were brilliant tonight. They have been brilliant for me all my career.
“They know what this Club means to me. I am a fan as well. I am one of them, stood on the touchline.
“But I have a job to do, which is really important. I want to win for them as much as I want to win for the players, the board and the staff back at Finch Farm. We are all together and that is the mentality we need going forward.”