David Unsworth says he is proud of the performance his Everton side put in against Chelsea, despite the defeat and exit from the Carabao Cup.
The Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat against the defending Premier League champions but put in one of their best performances of the season, giving the travelling fans a sense of optimism that has been lacking since the start of the campaign.
Speaking to EvertonFC.com, Unsworth said his side "had a game plan and the players stuck to that.” For that performance, the interim boss added he is “very proud of them” and whilst “nobody likes losing” he saw so much to work with as his side put in “a great, committed performance.”
Beni Baningime shines on debut
The Everton interim boss handed a shock full debut to one of his under-23s bright stars, Beni Baningime. The 19-year-old was a late replacement for Morgan Schneiderlin after the Frenchman took ill.
Speaking highly of the midfielder, Unsworth said he had “no hesitation in playing Beni” as for a period of around 18 months, “he has been outstanding” for the under-23s side.
Unsworth added that Baningime “has the ability, the physicality and certainly the temperament” to perform as he did against the Premier League champions.
Yet the Blues interim boss admitted he “didn’t think he would be as good as he was” and was "very proud of his display.”
Baningime’s shining moment in the game was a tackle with Ethan Ampadu that gave the Blues a shot in the arm during the second-half.
According to Unsworth, those sorts of tackles are “a regular thing” that the 19-year-old does equally as well in in training as well in games.
It’s certainly something that Evertonians “better get used to that” if he goes on to play a bit more, Unsworth added.
Mixture of youth and experience works well
Baningime wasn’t the only youthful flavour to Unsworth’s squad. Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny also started for the Blues after both had been in and out of the side on a regular basis under Ronald Koeman.
Unsworth also brought back Aaron Lennon from the sidelines to make his first start since the last season. James McCarthy returned from injury to play for just over an hour before being replaced by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The interim boss said his side “started with a great display” but “want to now go and start a winning streak.”
Everton’s interim boss added that seeing and hearing “older pros helping the young lads out like they did,” makes him “quite excited” as the Blues now look to go forward and Unsworth gets a chance to "work with everybody” in the squad.