Jordan Pickford says a unified Duncan Ferguson-led Everton must puff out their chests and “get Goodison Park bouncing” for Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa.
The magnetic Ferguson, whose appointment as caretaker manager was confirmed on Tuesday, orchestrated a rousing Goodison occasion at the outset of a similar spell in charge back in December 2019.
Everton blew away high-flying Chelsea amid jubilant scenes to send a renewed surge of optimism through the Club and prompt an impressive run of results.
Pickford is among the five Everton players from the starting line-up against Chelsea who could feature this weekend. The 27-year-old has barely put a foot wrong during a fine season personally but individual form, insists Pickford, is irrelevant when it’s not accompanied by collective success.
“Football is all about results, it starts on Saturday and we know we need to get the feelgood factor in the building and get momentum going again,” Pickford told evertontv.
“Duncan and his staff will have us right up for the game.
“Our only motivation this weekend is to get three points, to give the fans something they want and what we haven’t given them for the past few months.
“That’s not been us not trying, it hasn’t clicked in games.
“But now it is about us going out there, chests out and chins up, getting that result and getting Goodison bouncing again.
“It’ll be a good, tasty game and the fans will be right up for it.
“You could see the difference Duncan made last time.
“He is such a legend of the Club, it was a perfect fit and performances were really good.
“Training has been brilliant, everyone respects him and he is the ideal person to lead us out on Saturday.
“The respect the players have for him, we will work our socks off for him and do everything he wants on the pitch.
“He will make sure we are hard to beat but will want us to get the ball in the box and create opportunities.
“Training is fun but always high intensity and hard work.
“We know after the Chelsea game how proud Duncan is to lead us, so to get a result for him again would be incredible.”
Pickford could conceivably make his 200th Everton appearance in the closing stages of this season.
The player signed from Sunderland in summer 2017 was the second-longest serving member of the side – behind Seamus Coleman – that started at Norwich City last week.
He is in line for game number 181 against Villa and that seniority, says Pickford, demands an increased level of responsibility.
“I know Seamus, as captain, needs other the leaders on the pitch to create team togetherness,” said Pickford.
“I feel we have that [togetherness] and that I can help Seamus.
“I have always talked on the pitch to try to help my teammates and I am more than capable of helping on and off the field.
“I have been consistent but it is not about my performances, it is about winning.
“I am in a good place and working hard on the training pitch.
“I want to continue that and, hopefully, in the next few months, we can get results and clean sheets and restore that feelgood factor.
“There is nothing worse as a player than not winning.
“We are motivated to win games and when it’s not going well, how can we change that?
“It is about working hard on the training pitch and that will breed into the games.
“It all starts from training well and I think we will get a good result on Saturday.”
Pickford, who has kept clean sheets in exactly half of his 42 senior England appearances, is well positioned to deliver insight on two of Ferguson’s coaching staff.
Alan Kelly works daily with Pickford in his job as Everton Goalkeeping Coach.
Leighton Baines, meanwhile, retired only 18 months ago and played in the same Everton team as Pickford on 43 occasions.
“Bainesy has been in the building the past 18 months as a coach and his knowledge of the game is second to none,” said Pickford.
“He was one of the best left-backs in the world for 10 years and it will be good to have his knowledge and input into our defensive work.
“Kells is brilliant, he has been brilliant with me since I was with him at Preston [on loan in the first half of 2015/16].
“He teaches me so much using the experience from his own playing career and his keeping coaching.
“I am constantly learning from him and there is always something we can improve.
“Having him as my keeper coach has been brilliant for me and my form.”
Pickford arrived at Everton four-and-a-half years ago sounding his ambition to taste tangible success with the Club.
He reiterated that stance after signing a new six-year contract in September 2018 to stay at Goodison Park until at least June 2024.
And nothing at all has changed in respect of Pickford’s long-term goals.
“We have the history behind the Club, but as players we want to create our own history,” added Pickford.
“We want to win stuff here.
“It is harder than you think, sometimes.
“It is about working hard and digging in and having a goal and going after that goal and trying to achieve it.
“We want that as players and the Board and owner and fans want it.
“That is what Everton is about, winning and being successful.
“We know it has been tough over the past few years.
“How can we change that?
“By going and winning games.”