David Unsworth has been Everton manager for only a couple of weeks, but he appears to know the end is already in sight and admitted he needed to win the next two games, against Lyon and Watford, to have a realistic chance of replacing Ronald Koeman for the long term.
Unsworth has not tried to hide his ambition, but he sounds a man who suspects the club are moving in a different direction having asked him to take control of the first team on a temporary basis on the back of his impressive work with the under- 23 squad. Unsworth needed to do something spectacular to stop Everton flirting with other targets and, after defeats against Chelsea and Leicester since Koeman was sacked, his hopes are fading.
Unsworth did his best to keep a poker face when asked whether he knew the identity of any rivals for the job. Everton are keen to speak to Sam Allardyce to gauge his interest but he will not be surprised if others are chosen ahead of him. All Unsworth can do is prove he at least deserves to be considered when the time comes to make a permanent appointment.
“Do I need to win the next two games? Probably,” said Unsworth, who nonetheless left Wayne Rooney, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines in Liverpool, given Everton are bottom of their Europa League group with three games remaining.
“I’ve been in football a long time, you have to get results, so we need to start winning. But that doesn’t scare me. I’ve not looked at the other names linked, I’ve heard one or two people say a few things, but whoever has been linked with the job, it won’t surprise me because this is a wonderful club.