David Unsworth says some Everton players need to ‘stand up and be counted’ ahead of Wednesday nights game with West Ham United at Goodison Park.
The Blues are winless in three after failing to pick up results against Crystal Palace and Southampton in the Premier League in recent weeks whilst also failing to put in a performance required of them in the Blues’ current state.
Sitting 16th in the league table and seemingly being set for a relegation battle, Everton are set to turn to Sam Allardyce to take over as permanent manager to stop the club slipping out of the Premier League.
Yet to avoid relegation, mental toughness is required and it’s something the current interim Everton boss is calling on from his players.
Speaking to the media at Finch Farm, Unsworth explained: “The players need to stand up and be counted. We need men and we need mental toughness. Those players who have not got the bottle to stand up for the fight need to be honest and say it.
“In January we might need to recruit proven Premier League players who are up for the fight.”
It’s been a difficult period for the interim boss who has made no bones about taking on the role.
“I’m hurting. I don’t ever want to see Everton lose a game, concede a goal,” Unsworth said.
“I am a proud man and when you’re giving your all and not getting results then it hurts. I take responsibility. That’s absolutely fine, but I just want the players to be ready for a fight. I will stand side-to-side with them if they give me that attitude.”
Unsworth on West Ham
After conceding a combined 11 goals and failing to win in any of their last three games and with Wednesday quite possibly being his last game in charge as interim boss, Unsworth will want to sign off with a win if that is indeed the case.
He said: “It’s a must win game. Every Everton fan won’t care how we play, it’s important we win the game.”
The Blues will also take on a number of familiar faces in the Hammers dugout on Wednesday night in the form of David Moyes and Alan Irvine.
Everton’s interim boss said he is “looking forward” to seeing the pair, that he has “total respect for,” again.
Time in charge
The 44-year-old also spoke about the feelings from some that he is being ‘hung out to dry’ by the club and certain players in the squad.
“I’m fine, I’m hurting. As a proud Everton man, I’m hurting,” Unsworth said.
“I think I have to tell the Everton fans how much it hurts me, just as much as it hurts them. If people see that, it’s fine. I don’t think you ever turn down the opportunity to stand where I am standing.”