Sam Allardyce has reiterated his desire to remain in place as Everton manager as speculation over his future continues in the press.
The 63-year-old spoke to the press (h/t Liverpool Echo) ahead of the Blues' final home game of the season against relegation-threatened Southampton, and explained why he wanted the opportunity to conduct a good pre-season and bring new players to the club in the summer.
Allardyce has been the subject of intense criticism from sections of Everton's fanbase over the style of football he's employed and mixed results since his appointment six months ago, but the ex-England boss stated that he hoped to stay in charge and lead the Toffees into next term.
Evertonians ARE grateful that Sam Allardyce has ensured they won't be relegated, they appreciate the job he has done. They do not appreciate belittling comments, sheer arrogance and absolutely dreadful football. You can say the latter about any football fan in the land.— Sean Lunt (@Sean_Lunt) 28 April 2018
He said: "I’m here because things were not going well and I don’t think anyone expected that. You use your experience to pull the players through that and build the confidence.
"I would like a pre-season very much so with these players. There’s the difficulty of the World Cup (but) the pre-season plans are all in place.
"What happens with recruitment with players in and out is pure speculation at the moment. You have to realistically see what is available and what is out there. It’s a volatile market. With the market closing before the season starts and the World Cup, it is tough.”
Allardyce confirms Holgate is back in training but not in contention for tomorrow. Calvert-Lewin also out.— Adam Jones (@Adam_Jones94) 4 May 2018
Everton lie in eighth position in the Premier League after finding themselves in the bottom half upon Allardyce's appointment, and his players could easily have put their flips flops on and ended the season poorly after they secured their top flight status for next season.
Allardyce, though, credited his squad for continuing to perform - Everton are currently on a four-match unbeaten run and have only lost one of the last seven games - as the Blues eye a strong finish to a below-par campaign.
SA: "I'm surprised to see all three teams in the bottom three. At the start of the season you wouldn't have expected it, but it can happen for many reasons"— Adam Jones (@Adam_Jones94) 4 May 2018
(You may also be interested in Ex-Watford Boss Linked With Everton Post Again As Allardyce Exit Rumours Fail to Go Away)
He added: "One thing you need to give the lads credit for is not switching off. They have achieved performances and results when there is no threat of relegation. To continue to win matches is always important. You have seem teams drop off before and that hasn’t happened.”
"We need to keep winning and playing better. A small minority have a big voice in our game. It’s an entertainment game. You’re trying to capture hearts and minds. There’s always room for improvement and hopefully that will be tomorrow.”