Chelsea slipped to their third Premier League defeat in four matches on Saturday as Everton bounced back from their Merseyside derby humiliation to win 3-1 and escape from the relegation zone.
Former fans’ favourite Duncan Ferguson is in interim control at Goodison Park after Marco Silva was sacked on Thursday and the former forward had an instant impact.
Goals early in each half from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin put the home side 2-0 up and although Mateo Kovacic pulled one back, Calvert-Lewin struck again late to seal the win.
The three points for Everton lifts them to the relative comfort of 14th spot in the table. Frank Lampard’s men remain in fourth place but fifth-placed Wolves could close the gap to just three points if they beat Brighton on Sunday.
Ferguson, who celebrated the goals wildly, refused to talk up his chances of getting the job full-time despite the win, telling BT Sport: “I’m here for Everton. I’m here for as long as they want me here.
“I’m sure they’re out there looking for other candidates, and rightly so. We want the best guys in the world managing our football club.
“This was just an incredible experience for me, one no one can take away from me. You saw on the touchline how enthusiastic I was. It’s one game, it’s one result.”
Ferguson’s reign got off to the perfect start with Brazil forward Richarlison heading home Djibril Sidibe’s cross from the right to give the hosts a fifth-minute lead.
Chelsea pushed for an equaliser, with in-form England forward Tammy Abraham going close a couple of times, but the Toffees went in at half-time 1-0 up.
**CALVERT-LEWIN DOUBLE **
Everton doubled their lead four minutes into the second half. Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma failed to deal with a high ball and Calvert-Lewin capitalised.
But Chelsea responded quickly, with Kovacic stroking in a volley with his right foot in the 52nd minute, beating the dive of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The visitors continued to dominate possession but Everton looked dangerous on the break.
Both sides missed further chances. Theo Walcott raced down the right but shot at Kepa Arrizabalaga after ignoring Richarlison alongside him while Christian Pulisic steered wide.
But Chelsea shot themselves in the foot when Kepa gifted possession to Walcott, who fed Calvert-Lewin.
The ball reached substitute Tom Davies, who struggled to control it, but it eventually fell for Calvert-Lewin, who bundled home, sending Ferguson charging down the touchline, celebrating with the ballboys.
Victory is a huge lift for Everton, who slumped to a 5-2 defeat against Liverpool in midweek. They have a tough run of fixtures coming up including both Manchester clubs away from home.
Lampard’s young team won six successive Premier League games to climb into third place in the table last month but have since stumbled, losing to Manchester City, West Ham and now struggling Everton.
The manager will now turn his attention to Tuesday’s Champions League match at home to Lille. They will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Lille or if they draw and Valencia lose to Ajax.