Ferguson urges Goodison to be 'bear pit' for Leicester

An animated Duncan Ferguson rousing his Everton players during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Scot will likely be in charge of one more match before Carlo Ancelotti takes over, according to reports yesterday.
An animated Duncan Ferguson rousing his Everton players during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Scot will likely be in charge of one more match before Carlo Ancelotti takes over, according to reports yesterday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
An animated Duncan Ferguson rousing his Everton players during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Scot will likely be in charge of one more match before Carlo Ancelotti takes over, according to reports yesterday.
An animated Duncan Ferguson rousing his Everton players during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Scot will likely be in charge of one more match before Carlo Ancelotti takes over, according to reports yesterday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON • Duncan Ferguson looks set to take charge of his final match - today's League Cup quarter-final home clash with Leicester - after multiple British media reports yesterday said Carlo Ancelotti had agreed a deal in principle to take over as Everton's manager.

But as the caretaker boss prepares to step aside for the former Napoli coach, he has called for the Goodison Park faithful to make the stadium "a bear pit" as they bid to take a step closer towards their first trophy since the 1995 FA Cup.

The Toffees great, known affectionately as "Big Dunc", has masterminded a mini revival since taking over on an interim basis after Marco Silva was sacked earlier this month, with Everton dropping into the relegation zone.

The hosts have since clawed three points clear of the bottom three after beating Chelsea 3-1 at home and holding Manchester United 1-1 away in the Premier League last Sunday.

Despite their form picking up, Ferguson is expecting today's opponents Leicester, who are unbeaten in nine league games, to provide a "real tough test".

The 47-year-old told Everton TV yesterday: "It's a quick turnover, but when you get a few results, everybody is happy and looking forward to the next match. That's what the players are prepared for - to go again on Wednesday.

"After the Chelsea result and that atmosphere at the ground, which was incredible, I'm sure they'll want us all to pull together again.

"We need them and I am sure they will deliver... it's going to be a big ask. But we're at Goodison, we're at the fortress."

Progression will be another fillip for the home fans, who have been enthused by the coup of securing Ancelotti's signature.

While former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher yesterday told Sky Sports he was "surprised that he would take the job, (given) the position they are in", the 60-year-old Italian has proven pedigree.

He has spent most of his career coaching teams in the Champions League, winning three European Cups, but is said to be attracted to the task of revitalising Everton.

According to Sky, he has been offered a 41/2-year contract while The Sun claimed he would be paid an annual salary of £11.5 million (S$20.5 million).

In the other last-eight Cup ties today, holders Manchester City travel to third-tier Oxford, boosted by the possibility of Sergio Aguero playing his first game in almost a month, while Manchester United host fourth-tier Colchester.

However, Paul Pogba will miss the clash after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed on Sunday the Frenchman had been "struck down ill". The Red Devils midfielder had been hopeful of making his first appearance since September owing to an ankle injury.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2019, with the headline 'Ferguson urges Goodison to be 'bear pit' for Leicester'. Print Edition | Subscribe