Kevin Phillips has heaped the praise on Everton assistant manager Duncan Ferguson for his role in the team's recent return to form.

When Marco Silva was sacked in December, Ferguson was appointed as caretaker manager, and in that time, beat Chelsea on his debut at Goodison Park, and then recorded two draws at Manchester United and at home to Arsenal.

However, Carlo Ancelotti came in after leaving Napoli and Ferguson was promoted to assistant manager under the experienced Italian boss.

Everton have shown something of a revival since Ancelotti was appointed - recording 14 points from a possible 21 - lifting them into the top half of the Premier League table.

Former striker Phillips believes Ferguson has been instrumental in this recent return to form, on the sideline and behind the scenes.

"He's pivotal to the success and I think every club needs someone in their ranks that has been at the club for a long time, has got an affiliation, love for the club because you need them sort of people," Phillips said to Football Insider.

"Duncan Ferguson did unbelievable when he took over for a short period, his passion for the club, you saw on the touchline, was just incredible so you need people like them.

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"Even in and around the club, I can imagine Duncan Ferguson going down to the academy and just talking to young players, he is an inspiration at that football club."

The Toffees will be looking to continue their recent strong form this weekend as they take on Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.