Unsworth hails 'fantastic' Everton players

, 15 May, 28comments  |  Jump to most recent
David Unsworth was full of praise for his side as they finished the season with an uplifting performance and a 3-0 win over Norwich City at Goodison Park today.

Everton played with a tempo and intensity that has been noticeably lacking in recent weeks as they struggled under the last throes of the Roberto Martinez era and put the Canaries to the sword with three goals, a clean sheet and some hugely encouraging performances from the young players.

James McCarthy, Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas scored the goals but Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell made their full debuts and Jonjoe Kenny came off the bench to replace the injured Matthew Pennington, all of them playing their part as the Blues lift the gloom and secure an 11th place finish.

"If there was a script and I could have written it last night, it would have been exactly what's happened today. From minute one to the last minute I thought we were fantastic and I was a very proud man stood on the line today," said Unsworth who was installed alongside Joe Royle to take charge of the final match of the season following Martinez's departure on Thursday.

"It was the perfect afternoon, all credit goes to the players, they were fantastic. They took on board what we've done in two days — a real plus point from them that they have done that, I thought we were brilliant from start to finish. We got the goals, a clean sheet, and worked at a tempo that was outstanding for 90 minutes.

"There are some tired bodies in there and quite rightly so, that's how you should feel and I'm just delighted for the boys and delighted for the club that we can put a smile on the faces of everybody connected with Everton on their way home tonight because it has been a difficult week.

Unsworth reserved special praise for the Under-21 graduates that he blooded this afternoon, all four of whom acquitted themselves well and didn't look out of place in an excellent all-round display.

"I thought the young lads were terrific," Unsworth said. "I thought [Tom Davies's] performance was probably man of the match. For me he was everything we want in an Everton central midfielder.

"[T]he skill of the [next] manager [will be]: can he blend top established players with a new generation of unbelievable talent?

"It doesn't matter how old you are, if you watch that performance, you know that Kieran, Tom, Jonjoe and Matty are here to stay and basically you build a team around that."


Reader Comments (28)

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Ian Riley
1 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:33:38
Are any ex players interested in the top job! Director of football and a coach being Big Dunc or Unsworth. They would let the players know what it means to play for Everton!
Bob Hannigan
2 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:34:14
Finally, a very enjoyable match day
Paul Kernot
3 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:36:41
Hope. That's what David, Joe and the team brought us in just 3 days. Hope that we can rebuild to be the team we know we can be once again. Superb Unsy. Well done. And yes, the young guys were a breath of fresh air and more than held their own with the top pro's.
Colin Glassar
4 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:47:35
Was Unsy having a little dig there talking about players coming off tired as it should be?
John Roberts
5 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:54:45
Definite comment from Unsy about the current fitness of the players
Anthony Dwyer
6 Posted 15/05/2016 at 23:55:32
Spot on Unsy.
Jay Wood
7 Posted 16/05/2016 at 03:00:17
Take a pat on the back yourself Rhino.

A fun and shrewd team selection energised the team and galvanised the home support and was richly rewarded.

Getting everyone onside and producing that performance and result in just 48 hours, coming into the situation as you did, was no small feat.

One to keep an eye on, is David Unsworth.

Laurie Hartley
8 Posted 16/05/2016 at 06:23:37
He said before the game he was going to pick a team to win the game - which he did!

His team selection was courageous and his comment about Davies "everything we want in an Everton central midfielder" was significant. As Jay # 7 says - David Unsworth is one to watch.

Jason Davenport
9 Posted 16/05/2016 at 07:24:00
David Unsworth is a future Everton manager. Too bad he was not brought in right after the Anfield debacle.
Les Netherwood
10 Posted 16/05/2016 at 08:23:37
It feels really good being a Blue today....well done Unsy, fantastic result. Where have all these young players come from? They were well hidden by Martinez it seems.

The future is bright..........can't wait for next season now.

Jason Pullen
11 Posted 16/05/2016 at 08:47:24
The comment about taking onboard what they did in two days also suggests there was a definite intention to play in a different way to what we had been doing.
David Chait
12 Posted 16/05/2016 at 10:02:27
He was gushing like a proud dad over the youngsters, and rightly so.

Loved how he said Davies should be in the team to stay! Doubt any of us disagree. Great positive interview without the ridiculous bla bla or over sensitised to be meaningless.

Exactly how he has been in the u21 interviews.. on point and relevant! He does have a future. Really wish he had been given the reigns in March. But I don't think he can be given the job the start of next season, but would be perfect assistant manager!

Peter Gorman
13 Posted 16/05/2016 at 10:20:43
I wasn't able to see the match due to prior commitments but followed the score on the sly.

Question to those who were watching; how did we play with possession? Did we fanny about with it at the back as usual or were we more positive in getting it forward early? I think I know the answer but would like to be sure.

Eugene Ruane
14 Posted 16/05/2016 at 10:47:14
Peter (13) with a couple of days in charge, Unsworth/Royle couldn't do that much, but some 'instructions' had obviously been given.

Eg: Just about every time Howard had possession (eg: goal-kicks or having the ball in hands having made a save etc), he quickly punted it long and there was virtually no defensive 'fannying about.'

On top of that, it seemed our midfield was slightly more..um..'forward'.

The result was that although Lukaku (with two central defenders on him) achieved next to nothing, the headers he was losing to their centre-halves meant we actually got more second-ball in one game than we've had in the previous 10 games.

There was also (without doubt) more 'energy' which wasn't just down to the young lads (who were all excellent).

We got tighter all over the park and they were, for the most part, denied the time and space to play that we've afforded most/many other sides.

It should be kept in mind however that this was a relegated side and it would have been interesting to see the result if the game had mattered.


We are still physically not up to out-muscling sides.

We are still lacking real (scary damaging) speed.

We are still switching off because there's no (natural) leader/s to make sure we don't.

We are still far too quiet.

Hopefully, the new feller will find a way to get the best out of what we have and add the bits we're currently missing.

Brent Stephens
15 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:06:47
Yes, his references to taking things on board in 2 days, tempo for 90 minutes, tired bodies says it all.

If we can't immediately get the top man we want (whoever that might be), should we not play the long game, install Unsy as interim for as long as it takes to get who we want? I can only see us "heading north" in the Prem under Unsy, which in itself would make us more attractive to a top manager.

Eric Myles
16 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:11:42
Maybe that was Rhino's job interview Brent?
Brent Stephens
17 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:15:55
I just wonder, Eric. I just wonder. Worth a fiver now?
Colin Glassar
18 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:27:46
Joe and Unsy would be a popular choice but it was only one game, and a meaningless one at that. We need our head, not our hearts, to move us forward.
Peter Morris
19 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:50:28
There is an undertone of comment here about the basic lack of physical fitness and stamina that has taken root under the Martinez era, and I can't agree more with that sentiment. It's all very well drilling possession football into your charges, reserving all of your training sessions for work 'on the ball', but if the basic lack of strength, stamina and sheer physical power undermines the team's ability to last the whole game, you will pay for that big style in the Premier League.

How many games have Everton lost under Martinez due to failing physically in the last 30 minutes? I've lost count ! Fatigue results in untidy possession and a loss of focus, constantly giving the ball back to the opposition, and without it, all the tippy-tappy stuff is irrelevant. The sight of James McCarthy and Ross Barkley puffing and blowing in midfield before half time must give a massive lift to opposing teams. Get some lard off your arse Ross!

The first thing any new coach should do when the boys report back from summer break is to lock all footballs away for 10 days, and get the players doing fitness training up and down the sand dunes at Formby. Only get the footballs out when the squad are in tip top physical condition.

Eric Myles
20 Posted 16/05/2016 at 11:59:48
Agree Colin, but surely 'one for the future' so we needn't be too concerned about a Koeman or Mourhino type moving on after a few years.
Colin Glassar
21 Posted 16/05/2016 at 12:08:26
Absolutely Eric, I'd like to see Unsy as the next assistant manager. I've met Unsy and he absolutely loves Everton and he won't let us down.
Tony J Williams
22 Posted 16/05/2016 at 12:38:07
Amen Peter 19, say what you want about Moyes, he knew how to get them fit and run for the full 90+ minutes.

Discussing this after the game in pub yesterday and I still believe that the players have to share some of the blame here too.

If you are a professional athlete, you should know in yourself if you are in tip top shape or not and should do something about it yourself if the fitness level drops.

The sight of Barkley warming up with a Kevin Campbell arse said it all to me.

Jimmi James
23 Posted 16/05/2016 at 12:55:55
Shame the players couldn't or wouldn't give the same passion and work rate for Martinez. So they did down tools then, to my mind that's cheating.
Anthony Hawkins
24 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:02:41
Rhino did well in one game which didn't matter. I don't think that should be his interview or anyone should take something too serious from that.

The display and result was exactly what we wanted and should have had all season but it's so difficult to tell exactly what could happen going forward with Unsworth. He's definitely one to watch.

I hope we'll bring in an experienced, known quantity manager that has a proven record of delivering a winning team, with Unsworth working along side.

This team has an exciting future and I hope as many stay as are willing!

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:38:04
Tony 22, would it surprise many Evertonians, if Barkley got bombed out the England squad?

I thought Eugene, summed it up best, with him saying how well we suddenly started competing and also winning second balls.

It took me back to the first half at Wembley and how embarrassing we were against United. You don't win many football matches, if you don't get in and around the opposition.

Klopps getting praised to the hilt, for basically getting his team fit, which has given them a much better chance, and also done wonders for their confidence.

All the best teams and players keep it simple, which is why I enjoyed watching Tom Davies yesterday. After this kid made his debut the other week, my oldest son was on the phone saying that we needed players like him in our team, right now. I think my lad was right.

Mark Fitzgerald
26 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:50:18
Good shout lads re' Unsy as assistant manager, regardless of who gets the top job.

I also thought it was telling that after a strong home performance, clean sheet and 3 goals scored, the stats make interesting reading that very much contrast with RM's philosophy.

Less possession - 46%-54%
Less passes - 382 - 439

Yet shots on target were 8-2 in our favour.

It's great to see us play entertaining football but it's all about end product. Let's hope the new guy finds the right balance.

Peter Gorman
27 Posted 16/05/2016 at 13:50:22
Thanks for the insight Eugene, I look forward to catching up on the match later.
Les Netherwood
28 Posted 17/05/2016 at 17:49:33
Where did these super young players come from? Martinez must have hidden them, what a difference now that he is history.

Lets hope the new manager brings them along and they become our future stars and encourage the likes of Barkley to show a lot more urgency.....he has become a bit of a lazy lump...like Lukaku.

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