Rafael Benitez says he is determined to shape an Everton side that “fights for the shirt from the first minute to the last” and brings a winning mentality to every fixture the Blues contest.
Benitez was speaking at his first press conference as Everton manager on Wednesday. The Spaniard revealed his excitement about the “great challenge” ahead and declared his confidence that the Club boasts the foundations for success.
Benitez – who has won 13 major trophies as a manager – outlined the qualities he will demand his players show every time they step out on the pitch.
"We have to create a team that will be competitive, that fights for the shirt from the first minute until the last and doesn't give up,” he said.
"It doesn't matter the name of the other team. We will try to win.
"We will try to play good football and we know the fans want to see the team playing well – but winning. We will try to do that.
"I know about the Club, the tradition and its history, the ambition of the owners and the fanbase.
“I want to compete. It is a great opportunity and a challenge for me.
"I will fight for my team, like I did in every place I was working. I will do my best every single game.
“We want to be pushing and pushing, trying to get three points in every game and going as far as we can in the cup competitions.
“I know how the team finished last season. We will try to do better. But, as people say, it is not about talking the talk, it is about walking the walk. I prefer to do this.”
Benitez explained how the Club is working to bolster his squad during the transfer window.
He added he has been encouraged by the attitude and application of the players since they returned to USM Finch Farm for pre-season training last week.
Benitez says their hunger to improve and achieve success has particularly impressed in one-to-one conversations.
"My idea is to be sure the team has confidence and the players can stick together,” Benitez said.
“I am happy with the commitment of the lads. They are training well. I believe we can improve the players we have and, if we can add players that are good for us, that is the objective.
"We want to bring some players that can help us be even more competitive, to be sure we are better than in the last seasons.
“We have a good communication with all the people here. We, of course, have to manage the financial restrictions, but we can still be ambitious.
“The target is to improve.
"I have had some conversations with some senior players and all of them are ambitious and all of them realise something was missing. This is something we have to be sure we find.
"For me, there has to be a winning mentality from the first day until the last day. These conversations have been in this direction. They [the players] want to do well and are desperate for the team to improve.
“That is very important to me, to have these senior players that continue pushing and can be an example for the younger players.”
Benitez also underlined the importance of the Everton fans in driving the Club forwards – and paid tribute to the backing he has received so far.
“The Evertonians have been very supportive,” he added. "They have been encouraging me to do well and I am very happy about that.
“I like to see people enjoying the team, and the best way we can do that is winning. I have confidence we can do that. I am sure we can do it now.
"All the people here have been very supportive and we are creating an atmosphere that will allow us to compete at the maximum level.”
Benitez has confirmed Duncan Ferguson will be one his Assistant Managers, alongside Francisco de Miguel Moreno.
He outlined why he was eager to appoint Ferguson to such a key position in his coaching team – and highlighted Everton captain Seamus Coleman's positive influence during the Blues manager’s short time at the Club.
"Duncan is a legend here,” he said.
“He will be an important part of the staff. He knows the players, the Club, and the fans. He can be an inspiration for a lot of them and he will be very helpful for me.
"Another thing I did was watch some of his goals he scored. He could really play. Maybe if we need a striker, he can still play!
"Also, since I have been here, I have been talking with Seamus so many times.
"He is a very good professional. He is very helpful for me. He can be a key player. I like him as a player and as a person. He is an inspiration for everyone.”