By Joe Ellis

23rd Jan, 2022 | 1:40pm

All is not lost at Everton despite defeat in 'uplifting' display

The final score of Everton 1-0 Aston Villa might not show much difference from previous games, but there is reason to stay optimistic for Toffees fans.

But there was a lot different about this game with Duncan Ferguson taking caretaker charge for the first time after Rafael Benitez’s sacking one week ago.

As detailed by The Athletic’s Greg O’Keeffe, there was much more desire and willingness to fight for the shirt than ever seen under the Spaniard and on another day, they could have taken something from the game.

“There was intensity and work — in bag loads — and initially that was uplifting,” O’Keeffe writes, “with an almost derby like feel to the first 20 minutes, the crowd bought into Everton’s pressing and determination.

“But when the game settled and the proper pattern emerged, it was a tale of two contrasting teams. One with the incision, quality and belief — then Everton with little penetration and no end to their damaging propensity to concede the first goal in games.”

Heading in the right direction

As much as he and Everton fans would have wanted it, Ferguson was never going to sort every single problem in a week.

It takes more than seven days to completely change a side but he did what he could in that time to give them a fighting chance against Aston Villa.

For supporters, the desire to win and never give up is the absolute minimum they expect and the majority of fans can accept getting beaten if they can see the players have given it everything.

And the one thing you can guarantee from a Ferguson side is that they will do exactly that, and they did.

Sure the quality in the final third wasn’t there but that comes from a confidence crisis a lot of the squad are suffering from.

In time, the goals will come and Everton will start to climb away from the relegation zone because they are too good to be this near it at the moment.

In other Everton news, one Toffees player went to speak to protestors after Saturday’s game in a bid to calm tensions.