David Unsworth called on his Everton team to respond from the ‘tough situation’ they find themselves in and prepare for “a massive week for the Club”.
The Blues suffered a 4-1 defeat at Southampton to stay 16th in the Premier League table, with Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half leveller the only bright spot on a forgettable afternoon on the south coast.
Unsworth admitted Everton’s performance at St Mary’s was not good enough, but set his sights on making the most of the Goodison factor, with a home match against West Ham on Wednesday followed by the visit of Huddersfield three days later.
“I think we’re in a tough moment,” said the former Toffees defender. “We have a massive week ahead and we’re desperate to get back to home comforts and play in front of our home fans because I’ve never known a team that needs its fans more than our team does at the moment.
“The second and third goals were really poor. Teams at the moment are not having to work very hard to score against us. Whether we play three centre-backs, two centre-backs, a back three or a back four it doesn’t matter because individuals are underperforming and we are conceding far too many goals.
“Something’s not right when we are going into games because training has been great, there’s been good spirit and I’ve been getting everything I want out of them. But when we come into a game situation, because our confidence is very, very low, we are conceding far too easy for what is required at this level – the players know that.
“If they didn’t know they were in a tough situation they must do now. They must do – it’s evident. It’s a massive week for the Club. It’s not good enough and it’s got to change. It has to change.”
Everton’s forgettable afternoon was compounded when Leighton Baines was forced off with a calf injury before the half-hour mark, while Michael Keane was also substituted with 15 minutes to go.
Unsworth revealed Baines was a doubt for the visit of the Hammers, but had to check on Keane.
“Leighton has done his calf, unfortunately,” he added. “We’ll probably assess him more tomorrow. We’ll reassess him but it looks like he’s going to be struggling for Wednesday.
“Michael was a bit different. I don’t know whether it was concussion. He was with the doctor at the end of the game and I haven’t had the chance to speak to either yet.”