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10th Dec 2019

Why footballers up their game for caretaker managers

Reuben Pinder

Sponsored by Paddy Power

“That’s what football’s all about.”

Everton bounced back from a poor run of form to beat Chelsea 3-1 at Goodison Park this weekend, completely re-energised under caretaker boss and club legend Duncan Ferguson. They made 37 tackles – the most one team has made in a match in a decade. It’s safe to say they approached the game with a more desire and intensity than they had been in the latter days of Marco Silva’s regime.

On this week’s episode of Liquid Football, Steve Sidwell and Wayne Bridge praised Everton’s first performance under Ferguson. Steve Sidwell remarked that “He’s brought back what it is to wear that shirt. Especially at Goodison. That’s what football’s all about.”

Host Kelly Cates asked by players often seem to raise their effort levels for a caretaker manager.

“Those players have looked so lacklustre for so much of the season,” Kelly said.

“Duncan Ferguson has gone in and the players look lifted,” she added.

Sidwell explained how the atmosphere at Goodison Park can have a huge effect on a team’s performance, recalling playing there during his career.

“Throughout my career, to come away from Goodison with a point, you know you’ve earned it,” Sidwell said.

“The biggest thing with Duncan going in there, he’s just got a presence hasn’t he?”

Highlighting Ferguson’s long-term presence in the Everton coaching set-up, Sidwell explained that “With him being around the background the whole time, the players would [already] like him first and foremost.”

“You’ve got a likability straight away. If that person gets in the hot seat, you’re going to want to play for them,” Sidwell added.

“Because you like him, you wanna do well for him, regardless of if he’s going to be there one week, two weeks or, he might even get the job.”

Subscribe to the Liquid Football podcast here.