Duncan Ferguson does not want his Everton players calling him “gaffer” yet, but Mason Holgate knows the side can go some way to keeping their interim manager in post with a good performance at Manchester United today.
After an impressive start on home territory against Chelsea last weekend, Ferguson’s credentials face another stern test at Old Trafford.
Holgate says the new manager “bounce” is there to see.
“If you look any time there is a new manager, in any club in any league, there is always going to be a reaction,” said the 23-year-old.
“That is just what you get when a new manager comes in.
“Everybody is trying to prove things, and everything changes. It unsettles everything, but there is always a reaction.
“People might pin on that you weren’t trying before and you are trying now, but it was never like that. We always put 100 per cent in, but it just seemed to work against Chelsea.
“Before the game, there was a lot of pressure. Results have not been going our way and afterwards it was a big release. It was something we were pushing for and were hoping would come, to have a result like that which can hopefully turn us round.”
Holgate said Ferguson’s motivational talks were like nothing he had previously experienced.
“Dunc loves the club, more than anybody really. That is a fact,” said Holgate. “You can see that straight away how much it meant to him, even just getting the chance.
“When someone has that much passion about something, it passes on to you. The way he was talking, he way he got us motivated, it showed.
“Even when we were scoring goals, you could see how much it meant to him. It gives us an extra boost.
“It was a unique team talk. There are not many people who love Everton more than Duncan.
“It’s easy to see as soon as he starts talking what the club means to him. That is not something you see every day. He just tried to get us fired up and it worked. Hopefully we can do the same on Sunday.”
Everton may need more tactical variation today, although Holgate is sure the players can show the flexibility required.
“We can play any kind of way. We’ve got good footballers and it’s trying to combine them both which will be the key,” he said.
“There is an Everton way of playing and it was on Saturday, but in this league now there are so many different teams and it’s so diverse, it’s about putting everything together.
“There are points in a game where people are getting momentum and you’ve just got to try and keep the ball, that’s when it comes down to the experience in our team to realise that and deal with it.”
With Everton in dialogue with several candidates, it is no surprise Ferguson is not getting ahead of himself. He is still referred to as Dunc – although even the players have commented on the change from training gear to suit on the touchline.
“I thought he looked well in it – it’s a nice suit! It was surprising. I don’t think many of us saw it coming but I thought he looked all right,” said Holgate.
“Everyone has always got on well with Dunc. He’s always been great with everyone.
“Obviously he’s a bit more vocal now because he’s the one taking the training. Apart from that he’s the same Dunc really.
“We were just buzzing that we could see it meant so much to him that we managed to get the result last week. Of the managers I’ve had, temporarily at the time, a few have gone on to be permanent.
“Then you end up having to calling them ‘gaffer’.”