Everton interim manager Duncan Ferguson has revealed what Carlo Ancelotti has sent him in a text message after stepping in for the sacked Rafa Benitez. The Toffees ended Benitez’s short but largely unpopular reign after defeat to relegation-threatened Norwich City last week.
It has left Ferguson in caretaker charge for a second time and he will start another temporary reign against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Benitez replaced Ancelotti last summer after the latter’s sudden Merseyside exit to return to Real Madrid.
Ferguson was the Italian’s right-hand man in the dugout, and he has revealed the inspirational message he sent him ahead of the test against Villa.
He told reporters: “We had a good chat, we talked about football, we talked about me as a coach, my journey, these type of things, where I want to go and some messages I need to get out there to the players.
“Carlo said to me: ‘Be yourself. You’re ready.’ That gave me a bit of confidence. I worked with Carlo for a couple of seasons, and he told me to go for it, to be myself, ‘you know what you’re doing, and you’ve got the experience on the training ground’.
“He said: ‘You’re ready.’ That gave me a bit of a boost, to be honest with you, hearing it from a guy like that who has done it all. That was good.”
Ancelotti will have taught Ferguson plenty throughout last season, but the Scot has insisted he wants to place his own authority on the squad.
“Obviously, Carlo was calm, wasn’t he? He has seen it all. Things like that,” Ferguson added.
“His calmness, tactically he was fantastic, and I picked up loads of things from him, but to be honest, you have to be yourself.
“I just want to be myself. You pick up experiences but I just want to be myself. That’s what you’ll see in this game and that’s what you see on the training ground.”
Ferguson inherits an Everton side in disarray and struggling in 16th in the Premier League.
But he has suggested the week since taking charge has been used to drill into his squad what it means to play for the Toffees.
He continued: “I think they do now. I think they should know, but obviously, they know now – put it that way.
“Getting into them a wee bit and digging them out a little bit, I believe I have them on board and that is why I trust them.”