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Monday, December 6, 2021

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Fun but challenging times at Everton – MacIver

Everton are currently 10th in the WSL table with two wins from six gamesEverton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver says that the first two weeks of Jean-Luc Vasseur’s reign as manager have been “fun but challenging” for the squad.

The 52-year-old was appointed in October, replacing Willie Kirk.

The Toffees, who have won just two of their opening six games, take on Manchester United on Sunday (12:30).

“It’s been exciting,” MacIver told BBC Sport. “That’s always the case when someone new comes in with their take on things and their own ideas.”

Having won the 2019-20 treble with former club Lyon, Vasseur won his first game in charge with victory over Leicester in the League Cup, but lost out to Brighton in his first WSL outing.

“It’s been a fun but challenging time for us all getting to know how he works and how he wants us to progress,” said MacIver.

“Straight away he’s come in with a way in which he wants us to play; possession based, keeping the ball, small changes in our positioning, there are a number of things he’s trying to implement – small, key changes but changes we feel are already helping us.”

A platform to build but patience is keyVasseur is looking for his first WSL win as Everton manager this weekendAfter a summer of recruitment, the Toffees’ aim at the start of the season was to close the gap on the WSL’s top three.

Qualification for the Champions League was a realistic aim, but with just two wins from their opening six league games, a top three finish is slipping further away as they currently sit seven points adrift in 10th.

“It hasn’t been the start any of us wanted or expected,” MacIver added.

“With the new manager coming in the ideology changes and it shifts to what he wants and how he wants us to play and progress.

“It’s hard coming in midway through a season, it’s not always the best time for a manager to implement his style but the goal for the remainder of this season is to try and bridge that gap as best we can and really try to set a good platform to build on next season.”

While bridging the gap remains the aim, MacIver insists that patience and consistency are key to the club progressing.

“It’s still early days, things aren’t going to change overnight and I think long term, looking at the rest of this season and as we start to build towards next season, we will start to see the changes and see the Everton that we know we’re capable of.

“As long as we keep progressing consistently results will start to turn our way, hopefully sooner rather than later.”

‘Two clubs who want Champions League football’ Two clubs on a similar journey in terms of “closing the gap”, both Everton and Manchester United started the season as potential challengers for the third Champions League spot.

United, who are just two points off third, currently sit five places above Everton in the table.

“There’s no doubt this is a big game. It’s two clubs who eventually want to be playing Champions League football regularly and consistently,” MacIver said.

“They’re a good team, they’ll be hard to break down and they’re well organised but these are the games you want to play in. You want to compare yourselves to the top teams and show that you can beat the best teams in the league.

“This game is huge for us. Hopefully we can put in a performance that we’re proud of and one that makes the fans proud to be there as well.”

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