That’s more like it! With robust challenges and players hurrying around, Duncan Ferguson’s Everton showed owner Farhad Moshiri exactly what the club should be all about
- The Everton players showed more desire in their victory over Chelsea
- Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson inspired a ruthless performance
- It was the Scot’s return to basics which gave fans joy at Goodison Park
- He may not get the permanent job but he showed what the club is about
The first five minutes of the second half were a jump-start to the senses; this was how it should be. Robust tackles sent roars of approval rolling around the stadium; players were scurrying with an extra yard of speed. In a flash, a goal was scored and Duncan Ferguson was running to down the touchline to engulf a ball boy in spontaneous glee.
It was not the product of intricate passing or hours of practice on the training ground. It was rudimentary football but it was not to be criticised. The decision to go back to basics gave Everton’s long-suffering fans more joy than they have had in years.
Yes, there have been some fine afternoons during the era of Farhad Moshiri, such as 4-0 wins over Manchester City (January 2017) and Manchester United (April 2019), but none of them had this ingredient. If you were to describe it, the term would be ‘Evertonism’.
Duncan Ferguson showed Everton owner Farhad Moshiri how Everton should be
Ferguson, a club idol, knew what the public wanted. He put himself under almost intolerable pressure to deliver, needing two sleeping tablets to get through Friday night, but the pride he felt at overseeing this 3-1 slaying of Chelsea was almost bursting out of him.
‘Losing would have been devastating,’ said Ferguson. ‘I’d have had to live with it forever. We were in the bottom three. Relegation. It would be incredible. For the community, for everybody in the stadium. It’s their club. Heaven forbid anything went wrong. That’s what goes through your mind.
‘We were worried about the situation. Unfortunately there has been a change of manager but you tend to get a reaction in these circumstances. We found the extra yard. The fans were really up for it and they pushed the players on. I tried to do the same. It’s all about body language.
The Scot oversaw and improved display from the Toffees which resulted in a win over Chelsea
‘We are at the bottom of the league. So we have got to make sure the work ethic, running around and covering the grass — doing the things they should be doing, anyway — remains. There is no walking. Cover the full backs. You MUST run.’
It has been fascinating to observe Ferguson since Thursday when Marco Silva became the fourth manager that Moshiri has sacked. He kept himself locked away from the media during his playing days, barely even bringing himself to say ‘hello’ at the training ground.
So to see how much this responsibility meant to him was revealing. He showed more passion in a seven-minute debrief after this game than the last three managers — Ronald Koeman, Silva and Sam Allardyce — combined.
Increased passion from the interim and the players appears to have given Everton a lift
‘He was very in the moment and I understand how much passion he has,’ said Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who was taken by surprise when Ferguson planted a kiss on his head at the final whistle. ‘I hate to lose but you have to respect someone like Duncan. I’m sure it meant a great deal to him.’
Ferguson gets this club. He wore a tatty blue Everton sweat band on his left wrist under his suit, while on his right he wore a broken Armani watch, the time stuck at 8.20, that had been given to him by Howard Kendall’s widow, Lily.
‘I’ll tell you a wee story,’ said Ferguson, who held the man who once made him Everton captain in the highest regard. ‘She came to see me and said she wanted me to wear it on the bench for Howard. I loved him. It was very emotional.’
The atmosphere around the club over the last four years has changed — and not for the better. It is why this defeat of Chelsea, which fittingly featured a wonderfully aggressive display by Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the No 9 shirt, needs to register with Moshiri.
While the display may not get Ferguson the job permanently, it sent a message to Moshiri
When Everton run and press, when they scuffle and don’t give up, they make their historic home a nightmare for visitors. For once, there was positivity and a sense of unity — all thanks to Ferguson.
By his own admission, the towering Scot is not ready to be the permanent manager. What he can provide for the next man, however, is education and guidance.
What Moshiri and director of football Marcel Brands have to understand is that if Everton are going to go flourish they cannot abandon the qualities that once made them special.
They were given a history lesson as Chelsea were sent packing. Moshiri would be foolish in the extreme if he did not learn from it.
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