Press Association

Everton defender Ashley Williams says the arrival of Sam Allardyce is just what the club needed to turn around their struggles this season.

Ronald Koeman was sacked in October and Everton were languishing near the relegation zone after David Unsworth’s caretaker spell in charge, as they picked up just 12 points from their first 13 Premier League matches.

However, they have won three of their last four games and Williams says Allardyce’s personality has boosted the players and improved performances.

“I think it’s just his personality and his style of football,” he told Soccer Saturday.

“He makes it very clear what he wants, so you’re left with no doubt when you go on the pitch.

“His personality is quite lively, everyone knows what he’s like, and he picks the mood of the place up.

“It’s just what we needed at that point in time, someone to come in and settle us down and get us playing a certain style of football

“It seems to have worked in the results and in the way we are performing. That’s what was required with the position we found ourselves in.

“I don’t think he’s one to be messed with, I don’t think anyone will be taking any liberties in the team, but at the same time he makes you feel welcome.

“He’s a friendly character and you can speak to him about anything at any time. He made that clear straight away.

“I just think he makes everyone feel comfortable around the place and he has something about him that makes you want to do good for him and do what he’s asking to try and please him.”

Wayne Rooney has scored five goals in Everton’s last four matches and fellow summer arrival Gylfi Sigurdsson has enjoyed a goal and an assist in those games.

And Williams has backed both of the high-profile stars, insisting a lot of their hard work often goes unnoticed.

He added: “In terms of Gylfi, he’s had a good season. He hasn’t had the eye-catching stuff that he can produce, but the work that he’s putting in off the ball is something I knew that he did.

“A lot of people didn’t know that he did that and thought he was a bit of a luxury. I know he lives for goals and assists so if he can get a few more of them that would be great as well.

“I’m really pleased for Wayne that he’s been getting on the scoresheet. He’s been doing a really good job for the team, working really hard. With his quality he can score a goal at any time.”

Everton are in the top half of the table ahead of the Monday clash with Swansea City and while Williams refused to specify a target for the season, he insists the players are looking up.

“With the start we’ve had I’m not sure,” he said.

“I think it’s one of them where we have to not look too far forward, concentrate on what we have ahead of us and see how far we can get up that table.

“If we can keep the form that we’re in I think we can finish pretty strong and pretty high up the table.”

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