David Unsworth has lifted the lid on the pain Everton felt in sacking Roberto Martinez – but has backed the deposed Spaniard to land another top job soon.
Unsworth played more than 300 games for Everton in two spells and returned to the club in 2013 to work with the under-21s, later being promoted to manage the side.
He worked closely with Martinez, who was never afraid to give young players a chance, and it was the Spaniard to whom Unsworth spoke first after being placed in charge.
Martinez’s stock has undoubtedly taken a hit but Unsworth expects the former Wigan boss to be in demand.
“Obviously he was very disappointed,” said Unsworth. “I spoke to him on the phone, he was very, very disappointed that he couldn’t see out the job but understood the reasons behind it.
“The chairman was devastated as well. It’s not nice, it’s not easy when these things happen but it has happened.
“I saw Roberto (on Friday morning) and we had a big hug. He’s fine and he’ll go off and recharge his batteries, and I’m sure he’ll be in a top job very, very soon.”
Unsworth on Norwich clash
The relationship between Martinez and Everton’s fans had been deteriorating all season and the Toffees’ hierarchy may well have felt they had no choice but to act to prevent a toxic atmosphere at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Everton have won only five matches at home in the Premier League all season, and Unsworth accepted that Martinez’s departure should make it a much more positive place when they face Norwich on Sunday.
“I think there’ll be a change of mood,” he said. “It’s not been an easy place to play recently.
“I think the Evertonians will turn out in force. I’m sure they’ll get behind us. We have to give them something to shout about. I said to the players that we owe them a performance and we owe them a win.”