Leighton Baines is “confident” Everton have the team and players to produce an upturn in form – and certain “big character” David Unsworth can help the Toffees banish memories of their slow start to the campaign.
Unsworth took charge eight days ago and has seen his side muster a courageous performance in defeat at Chelsea, before going down to a Premier League loss at Leicester on Sunday, when Baines admitted Everton “could have done better".
Baines first encountered his current boss when the pair were together at Wigan Athletic a decade ago – and was on the pitch when Unsworth scored the final-day penalty against Sheffield United that secured the Latics’ 2006/07 Premier League survival at the expense of their beaten opponents.
And despite the limited time Unsworth has been able to spend working with his charges on the training pitch in the past week, Everton left-back Baines says the 1995 FA Cup winner's personality is already having a galvanising effect on the squad.
“It has been good, everyone knows Unsy and he is a big character,” Baines told evertonfc.com. “There is a lot of his character in the sessions.
“He demands high-tempo training sessions and the lads have been enjoying them.
“That was a big pressure moment for Wigan. He had only come on as a first-half substitute, as well.
“That is him in a nutshell, really – it was a big moment with a lot of responsibility... and he stepped forward.
“We have only had two games under Unsy and, before the Leicester game, a similar number of training sessions with him.
“It is tough to come in, pick things up and put your stamp on it in such a short space of time – especially with so little time out on the training field.
“The more time we do spend out there, the better we will get.”
Everton have won two and lost six of their opening 10 Premier League matches this term to sit 18th in the table.
Baines is nevertheless refusing to be downbeat, with three quarters of the season remaining and the Toffees only seven points adrift of this weekend’s visitors Watford, who lie eighth.
He accepts, though, that Everton – who face Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday before returning to domestic action on Sunday – cannot afford to be caught off guard by Marco Silva’s team, as they were by Leicester three days ago.
“We had a plan but the opposition lined up slightly differently from their usual set up," said Baines. "Football can be like that sometimes, that is the chess match that is involved, in a sense.
“Their goals came from a breakaway and an unfortunate deflection, so there was not a great deal in it, at all. But we could have done better.
“We figured things out and did do a lot better in the second half but could not get back into it.
“The key for us is trying to get in front in a game, which is what we will be aiming to do against Watford.
“I have felt confident when we have been going into games, because I have that confidence in the team and the players – but you could understand why people on the outside would not share that confidence at the moment.
"The matches we have played, we knew we were absolutely capable of winning them. We just have to find that performance and, I am sure, once we do, we will get on a run and put it (the disappointing start) behind us.”