Everton V Watford at Goodison Park : Match Preview

David Unsworth challenges senior Everton players to stand up against Watford

David Unsworth has urged the likes of Wayne Rooney to play a leading role when Everton bid to halt their slide against Watford on Sunday.

The Toffees have lost their last five games, three of them under caretaker manager Unsworth, and sit in the Premier League relegation zone.

Unsworth left Rooney, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka at home for Everton's 3-0 loss to Lyon on Thursday, which ended their Europa League qualification hopes.

All three are set to be involved on Sunday, and Unsworth said: "Senior players are always important and they're all top players with many appearances under their names.

"We've got a few young players in and around the squad as well so their importance to those young players is vital. Any time you go into big games, and Sunday's a big game, a cup final for me, you always need your senior players who you can rely on and trust."

After a seventh-placed finish last season and a summer of big spending, expectations among the blue half of Merseyside were sky high, making their current difficulties all the harder to swallow.

Unsworth, who has stepped up from the under-23s and is hoping to be given the job on a permanent basis, believes Everton's problems are collective.

He said: "It's very difficult. For most of the games I've been in charge we've competed, the effort's there. Occasionally we've made silly mistakes that have conceded goals so we need to tighten that up.

"We need to try to create a few more opportunities to give everybody the opportunity to try and hit the back of the net.

"It's a little bit of everything and you try to tweak that as best as you can and you try and pick the best team and individuals for the next game, because all that matters is winning the next game."

Watford boss Marco Silva insists he has not been approached by Everton over their vacant managerial post.

The Portuguese is reported to be on Everton's shortlist to replace Ronald Koeman after he was sacked last month.

Silva has impressed during his stint in the Premier League, first at Hull during the second half of last season, and then during his short spell at Vicarage Road this term, too.

Everton will be keen to act quickly, but Silva said he had not been in contact with anyone from the Merseyside club.

"Nobody has approached me and I am staying focused on the next match," the 40-year-old said.

"We need to respect our club, our opponent and our sole focus is to prepare our players for the match on Sunday, and do the best we can to win.

"They will play at home. They are strong and they want to change the situation they are in. But regarding these rumours, now is not the moment to talk about them."

Source: PAR

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