Ferguson's Everton Priority

Duncan Ferguson says “spirit and fighting mentality” are indispensable starting points for an upturn in Everton’s results following the Premier League winter break.

Caretaker manager Ferguson has a clear fortnight to work with his players following Saturday’s defeat by Aston Villa.

And the 50-year-old, appointed for the Club’s upcoming games, acknowledged the imperative of resuming the campaign in productive fashion.

Everton host Brentford in the FA Cup on 5 February, then go to Newcastle United, three days later, aiming to stretch seven points in front of Eddie Howe’s team.

Finding a way to put points on the board is the be-all-and-end-all right now, insists Ferguson, who maintains the new Everton manager will take charge of “the greatest club in the world”.

“We need to keep everybody galvanised and keep the spirit and fighting mentality there and try our best to get the next result,” Ferguson told evertontv.

“I thought our shape against Aston Villa was quite good.

“Every player on that pitch tried their absolute best and that is all you can ask for as a manager. You just want the players to work as hard as they possibly can and I am sure you saw that.

“But we need to work [over the two weeks between games] on trying to get a result.

“We are the greatest club in the world.

“We love it so much, don’t we?

“That is why the fans are so passionate, they are local people and love their club.

“This is an attractive club for somebody.

“But the first thing we need is to get results.”

Everton were undone by Villa after conceding the first goal of the game for the ninth straight Premier League fixture.

Ferguson’s side went on the offensive after half-time, creating a number of openings and playing with increasing fluidity and ambition.

The centre-forward pair of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison started together for the first time since 28 August and both might have converted Anthony Gordon crosses if operating at full speed.

Gordon supplied 10 deliveries in all following his introduction early in the second half, the Academy player sent on soon after midfielder Allan replaced Andre Gomes.

Duncan Ferguson
The fans are so passionate, they are local people and love their club. This is an attractive club for somebody.

Ferguson was forced into a third change when 18-year-old Academy graduate midfielder Tyler Onyango went on for Abdoulaye Doucoure, who sustained a groin injury.

“I love Tyler, I have a lot of history with him and he did well,” said Ferguson. “Doucs is a warrior but he had his injury.

“I made the earlier substitutions to change the momentum. Andre had a yellow card… and I wanted to put Allan in there because he has great fighting spirit.

“He’d been off for a week and only trained on Friday but he gave us everything.  

“I wanted Anthony to get at them, he gave us legs and I thought he did really well.

“It was a game of few chances in the first half, Villa had a couple but we never really had any. Then a set-piece did us.

“The boys pushed hard in the second half, there was plenty of effort and a few half chances and we should have put one of them in.

"We will go back to work and do all we can to get that result we need."