David Unsworth says “pumping confidence into the team” has been a key part of his job at Everton’s helm – and hailed the “incredible” contribution of his backroom staff since he took charge two weeks ago.
Unsworth saw his players hit back from two goals down to beat Watford on Sunday and halt a run of five successive defeats.
Matchwinner Leighton Baines revealed his team’s courageous performance was inspired by Unsworth’s rousing pre-match dressing room talk – but the former Toffees defender was keen to share the credit for a victory he said would “live in the memory a long time”.
“Whatever happens in the dressing room is between myself and the players,” Unsworth told evertontv.
“I just spoke honestly, thanked them… and whatever will be, will be. I was desperate for them to get the result.
“They players are giving everything. When you have a squad that is not winning games, confidence is low.
“We have tried to pump some confidence into them in the best way we know how. I thank my staff for that. John Ebbrell, Alan Kelly and Duncan Ferguson have been incredible… as have all the backroom staff.
“We all played our part and I stand here a very proud man as Everton manager.
“The players have been magnificent. They have given me everything. We have had a tough run of fixtures but that is no excuse.
“When you play for this great Club, you know you have to go away from home against big teams and give performances and get results, because our fans demand that.
“It is important we go into any game and try to win. But it was great to come home and get 40,000 Evertonians behind us – and that one is for them.”
The three points sealed when Baines converted a stoppage-time penalty propelled Everton out of the Premier League’s bottom three and to within touching distance of the top eight.
Unsworth was thrilled with his players’ application and bravery as they fought to rescue what had appeared a lost cause when Christian Kabasele’s header put Watford two goals ahead midway through the second half.
But the boss, whose three substitutes – Ademola Lookman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aaaron Lennon – all contributed to Everton goals, insists the Toffees’ second-half display must act as a template for the remainder of the campaign.
“The substitutes came on and clicked straight away,” said Unsworth. “It is a team game. When you make substitutions you do it for a reason, to be positive or shore up a game. And they certainly helped us win the game.
“The Club needed a win and that was the most important thing. It was not about me or individual players. It is about this great Club. We stood together with our fans and I thank them for that.
“This must give the team confidence to play on the front foot. You saw the way we want to play. When you are pressuring and chasing and all going together as a team, it looks great. It feels great as a player, as well, and it gets the crowd up.
“Our fans demand that at Goodison.
“It means the world to me. It has been a long two weeks with a lot of games. We now go into an international break with more calm around the place, a few smiles, hopefully, and that is the best thing for the Club.”