I would not be a gamble, insists Unsworth as he stakes his claim to the Everton job
David Unsworth lacks experience of Premier League management, but he makes up for it in confidence, and hopes to persuade Everton to keep him in charge permanently.
The caretaker-manager takes the reins for just his second top-flight match today at Leicester City, with owner Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright still deliberating over who should replace Ronald Koeman.
Unsworth, who was part of the last Everton team to win any silverware – the 1995 FA Cup – has had success as a coach, having guided the club’s under-23 side to the Premier League 2 title last season.
And though he concedes managing the senior side would be a step up, he does not feel his appointment would be a risk for the Everton hierarchy.
“I don’t think I’m a gamble. I’m a realist, not a dreamer, and any manager coming into any club is a gamble,” he said. “There are no guarantees with anybody. But I know the club inside out. I know our fans and their demands of what is needed.
“I can’t decide my future. Other peo- ple will decide that. All I’ll do is give it my best shot, but I don’t think I’m a gamble at all. It’s a great challenge and it’s a challenge I’m not afraid of. It’s a challenge I’m excited about.
“I want to be a manager, and I want to be Everton manager. I have a real burning desire to manage and be successful and I hope that can happen here.”
Unsworth has been tasked with turning around results that left Koeman’s side in the relegation zone before the latter’s sacking after last week’s 5-2 defeat by Arsenal.
Despite spending more than £140million during the summer, the Dutch coach frequently changed formation and personnel in an attempt to find a winning formula. His side won just twice in their opening nine league matches of the season.
Unsworth is determined to bring fast, attacking play back to the club, though he will not compromise the fighting instinct that characterised the Everton sides he played in.
“What I really want to do is play players in their right position and where they are comfortable within a team structure. I wouldn’t want to be moving players into unfamiliar positions too often.
“I like playing with width, I like crossing the ball and creating opportunities. I like to play on the front foot and get in people’s faces. It’s what has worked well for me as a coach.
“I know this club and I know, particularly at Goodison Park, you’ve got to play on the front foot and show the desire that our fans expect and deserve.
“Away from home everyone needs to fight and scrap for every point. I’ve been there. I know we can climb out of trouble.”
Unsworth was also stand-in manager at Everton 17 months ago, when he took over the side after Roberto Martinez was sacked.