I was at Everton’s training ground last week, before the Lyon game, and you could sense the depressed state that the club had found itself in. There was no feeling that a corner was about to be turned.
Defeat to Lyon and then Arsenal duly followed, so it was no surprise that manager Ronald Koeman was sacked on Monday. Jose Mourinho got into a similarly irretrievable position at Chelsea two years ago. And just as he had to go, so did Koeman.
There is no shortage of candidates to replace the Dutchman, from global names like Thomas Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti to Marco Silva, Sean Dyche, and Sam Allardyce.
Read more: Everton have sacked manager Ronald Koeman
Tuchel, who replaced Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and led them to a German cup before leaving in the summer, is quite an attractive option on the face of it.
There are some questions about whether he created friction at Dortmund, however, and taking on Everton would represent a risk for him and the club.
Marco Silva has started well at Watford but I think he’d consider it a massive gamble to abandon a team that is flying high for an Everton side in the relegation zone.
Former Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and AC Milan boss Ancelotti, meanwhile, is used to operating at the very top end and I think you have to pick horses for courses.
Allardyce has a track record of rescuing struggling teams so you’d expect him to be on the list of candidates. This season could yet turn into a disaster for Everton; with Big Sam they would at least be likely to be safe from relegation.
Dyche’s success with Burnley means he certainly has the credentials for some good jobs. On the other hand, we don’t know how he would adapt to the players at a club like Everton, the style of play demanded by supporters and the expectation levels.
Why Unsworth deserves a chance
To me, there is nobody better placed to take on the job than a man who is already at the club: former defender and now coach of Everton’s title-winning Under-23 team David Unsworth.
I think fans would like to see Unsworth, who has been put in temporary charge starting with Wednesday’s Carabao Cup trip to Chelsea, given a chance. He knows the club well, understands what Evertonians want and would be capable of bringing players and supporters back together again.
He also has a winning mentality. Leading the U23 side to the Premier League 2 title last season was no mean feat and, uniquely among the candidates, has at least lifted silverware in Everton colours. His time working with the youngsters also means that he already knows some of the first team who have come through the ranks.
Unsworth clearly wants the job. I watched him making that clear in Tuesday’s press conference and he was confident and determined. He came across well and I liked the cut of his jib.
It remains to be seen whether all that amounts to the experience needed to take charge of the seniors, but Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane both progressed from the B teams of Barcelona and Real Madrid with great success. You need the players’ respect but I think he has it.
I’d like to see Unsworth given until the end of November and if there are signs of improvement then reassess his position again in January. Then, if Everton are still in trouble, it might be time to turn to Dyche or preferably Allardyce.