Duncan Ferguson has called on Everton to “make a big statement” and “fight for the Club and fans” in a bid to finish the season on a high in their remaining five Premier League games.
The Blues first-team coach spoke of the progress the Toffees have made under manager Sam Allardyce. Everton currently sit just two points behind Leicester City in eighth place, having been two points above the relegation zone when the boss watched from the Goodison Park stands in the 4-0 win over West Ham United on 30 November on the eve of his appointment.
Former Toffees striker Ferguson believes Everton can take encouragement from last weekend’s Merseyside derby when they reduced Liverpool to just three shots on target and went close to snatching all three points late on in the goalless draw at Goodison.
The Scot - who played 273 games and scored 72 goals during two spells with the Blues - says the Club’s passionate fans can help the team as they look to end their campaign with a winning run, starting with Saturday’s trip to Swansea City.
“We want to make a big statement, we want to kick on,” Ferguson told evertontv. “These teams [we are playing] are fighting for their lives so we need to be competitive and show we are at it and motivated to win those games.
“We need to show a winning mentality. We want that drive and show that we are aggressive and fighting for the Club and fans to try to finish on a high.
“At one point this season we were in the bottom three - in fact, we were only two points above the relegation zone when the manager walked in the door - so we were worried about relegation.
"But since the manager has come in he has managed to turn that around. The players have taken his message on board and managed to climb the table. That is incredibly positive for the Club and for the team. We are looking to finish the season strongly and push for Europe.
"That was probably unthinkable three or four months ago when we were worried about relegation, so you have to give the manager and team credit for that."
Ferguson added: “I think it was a positive result against Liverpool and, of course, the last 15 to 20 minutes of the game we put them on the back foot and we should have nicked it. We’re hoping to do that from the start of games and hopefully that will happen, starting at the weekend.
“The fans have got a massive role to play, as they always have, and I’m sure that will continue from now until the end of the season. They’ve been fantastic for the team. We need them behind us and supporting us from now until the end of the season and we can get some results.”
Ferguson believes Allardyce’s work on the training pitch has laid the foundations for Everton’s rise up the table.
The ex-forward says the Toffees manager has “a presence” and pointed to the manager's attention to detail as a key factor behind the improved defensive form.
“He’s brought his vast experience and he’s got tremendous knowledge,” said Ferguson. “He brought that wee bit of defensive solidity that we needed, and that’s been his main qualities. And he’s a leader.
"He has respect, he has the presence and has been there and done it. He has been the England manager and has managed a lot of clubs so has a lot of respect in the game. That is one thing I took when he first came in the building, he has a presence.
“The manager gave me a lot of leeway with my coaching, he has a lot of experience so I have learnt a lot from him.”