Everton FC assistant manager Graeme Jones has hailed how the Ferguson Factor has galvanised the Blues’ training ground.
Goodison striking hero Duncan was promoted to Roberto Martinez’s back-room team in February, after impressing with the impact he had on the club’s youth players
Ferguson, who had previously been Kevin Sheedy’s assistant for the Under-18s, joined a coaching set-up that had worked together for a number of years; Martinez, Jones, Dennis Lawrence and Inaki Bergara were a close-kit team at Swansea City and Wigan Athletic before all moving to Merseyside last summer.
Duncan Ferguson oversees the Everton players in training at Finch Farm
But Jones insists the former number nine fitted straight in and has welcomed the way Ferguson has delivered his own ideas to the players on the training pitches at Finch Farm.
He said: “I’ve not been surprised because I didn’t know Duncan before [joining Everton] but he is a really humble guy who is down to earth.
“He lets everybody know how important Everton Football Club is to him – he is a true Evertonian. Having that attitude within the Club has to be there and it has to remain.
“Duncan has obviously got an attacking outlook on the game. Duncan has got a passion for technical players and is a creative coach. He puts on some great finishing and passing drills.
“He has assisted the coaching team and definitely played his part in terms of getting the best out of the players.
“He’s been a really good addition and has slotted in without any effort.
Everton’s coaching staff have spent this week working closely with the players who are not on international duty, helping them to recover psychologically and physically from a roller-coaster start to the campaign.
And despite losing 6-3 to Chelsea last Saturday, Jones said spirits are high at Finch Farm.
Everton legend Duncan Ferguson looks at today’s training schedule
“The mood has improved by the day,” he said. “With any group of players you have to work and tick boxes. In terms of their disappointment at what happened at the weekend you have to look at it and work on it, and we’ve certainly done that so far this week. Then you start to feel positive about yourself again.
There were actually plenty of positives from Saturday but clearly when you concede six goals there’s an area you need to work on and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“It wasn’t a freak result because if you concede six you’d be a fool not to look into it. It was not a clear representation of what we are though.
“Certain events that happened led to the abnormal scoreline. But Chelsea, more than any team pride themselves on their back six work, their back eight work, and even their back 11 work because they do pride themselves on their ability to keep clean sheets and we cut them open time and time again so there are huge positives. But we need to get the balance right and that’s what we’re working.”
Jones, himself a former striker, ahs been happy with how the Blues have attacked so far this term, even if their defending has room for improvement,
“We’ve scored seven goals and six from free play so far,” he said. “That’s a reward from how we prioritise our work. We’re an open play team; that’s where the priority of our work is so you feel proud when you see that reflected. We ask questions of Chelsea individually and as a group but that was tarred at the other end. We’ll always pride ourselves on being an attacking team though, that’s our philosophy.”
The last four days have also allowed the Blues coaching staff to continue vital work on building-up fitness levels in the squad after a disjointed summer.
He added: “Now it’s work, work work. It’s been a difficult pre-season for many clubs with players who were at the world cup coming back at different spells. We’ve had five different groups coming bac at various stages.
“We need to get everyone on the same page physically and that’s where the challenge is. We’ll work with Samuel and get him some game time privately behind closed doors later in the week.
Everton legend Duncan Ferguson is all smiles during a kick-a-bout
“He played 27 mins on Sat and had a good level of fitness We’re pleased but we need to add to it.”
Although players such as Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Kevin Mirallas to name but a few are away, Jones said they have still managed to do some good work with key men left behind.
“We never really work on the starting 11,” he said. “We treat everybody the same. We have a squad of 25 players and everyone gets the same experiences. So none internationals this week you’ve got Antolin Alcaraz, Sylvain Distin, Gareth Barry, Bryan Oviedo, Leon Osman, Tyias Browning. They’re all important players. There have certainly been things we can work out to help us against West Brom.”
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