Caretaker boss David Unsworth hailed the “incredible spirit” Everton showed after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Watford.
A remarkable Premier League contest at Goodison Park saw the hosts fight back from going 2-0 down in the 64th minute, with Leighton Baines scoring what proved the winner with a penalty in stoppage time and Watford’s ex-Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley then sending a last-gasp spot-kick wide.
It was the Merseyside outfit’s first win in nine games in all competitions, and halted a run of five successive losses, three of which had come since Unsworth took temporary charge following Ronald Koeman’s sacking.
They are out of the relegation zone, moving up from 19th to 15th, and Unsworth said: “I’m just absolutely delighted for the club that we got the win.
“I didn’t expect the second half to pan out quite like it did and there were mixed emotions, but there was an incredible spirit that this club lives and dies on.
“I’m proud of players and proud of fans. It was a much-needed win.
“We kept going, working and running and never gave in.
“Hopefully that can turn our season around.”
He added: “I’ve said that to the players – this must kick-start them. This must instil some belief and confidence moving forward.
“What we gave in the second half was what I would consider an Everton performance – full of heart, character and desire. That for me is how you should play.”
The dramatic events during 13 minutes of time added on at the end came after goals from Richarlison, in the first minute of the second half, and Christian Kabasele were cancelled out by efforts from Oumar Niasse and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
All three of Unsworth’s substitutes played key roles in the win, with Niasse having been set up by one in Ademola Lookman and Baines’ penalty being awarded when another, Aaron Lennon, was brought down by Jose Holebas.
Having taken great satisfaction from what was Everton’s first home game since Koeman’s departure, Unsworth will now wait to see what decision the club’s hierarchy make regarding the Dutchman’s permanent successor, with progress on that expected during the international break.
And Unsworth, who has made no secret of his desire to be the boss full-time, added: “Whoever gets the honour of being Everton manager, I will shake them by the hand and wish them all the best because I want this club to succeed and be flying high.
“If it is me, amazing. If it is not, then in terms of the experience, nobody will ever take that away from me.
“What will be will be and whoever gets the honour will have my backing.
“It’s very difficult to know what will happen until I have spoken to whoever I speak to.
“I’m sure the right decision will be made and whatever decision that will be, I will back. It’s not about me, it’s about this club being successful and however we get that is fine by me.”
Watford boss Marco Silva – someone to have been linked with the Everton job, along with the likes of Sam Allardyce and Sean Dyche – said after his ninth-placed side’s third successive defeat: “This is really disappointing, for us and our fans.
“I think we did everything well until it was 2-1. We controlled until that moment. In that moment we gave one chance for the Everton players to believe again, and we started to be a little bit uncomfortable.
“I think this afternoon everything happened with our team.”
Published at Sun, 05 Nov 2017 23:24:04 +0000