Ashley Williams urges Ronald Koeman to finish what he started at Everton
Ashley Williams has urged his manager Ronald Koeman to ignore speculation regarding Barcelona and finish what he has started at Everton.
Koeman is one of a handful of names to be linked with the top job at the Nou Camp after current boss Luis Enrique last week announced his intention to stand down at the end of the season.
The Dutchman is a fans' favourite at Barca, having won four league titles and the European Cup during six years there as a player. He also spent time as Barcelona's assistant coach between 1998 and 2000.
Everton, however, are on course to finish in the Premier League's top seven for the first time in three years and were unbeaten in nine league matches until Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Tottenham.
Williams admits he and his team-mates are desperate for Koeman to stay.
"For me personally and the lads, we obviously hope he stays," Williams said.
"He's started building a team here and we're all confident the future looks good for Everton so from our point of view we'd obviously want him to stay.
"But he might have his own ambitions. I can't speak for what he wants from his managerial career but just from our point of view, definitely we enjoy working with him.
"You can see form the way we've been playing of late that it's working."
Koeman only took over at Everton last summer after leaving Southampton but there have been clear signs of progress this season.
Victory at home to West Brom on Saturday will see the Toffees reach 47 points, matching the total they finished with for the last two years but this time with 10 games left.
They were second best at White Hart Lane last weekend but Williams believes Spurs are a model for what continuity can achieve.
"I think we're building a team, the gaffer is building a team to what he wants," Williams said.
"They're a bit more settled than us, they play the same 11 most games and they know each other very well so that's where we're trying to get to.
"We saw it as a good test to see where we are as a team because they're clearly one of the best teams in the league.
"The gaffer is trying to build a team he wants and we've done well in the last couple of months. It's about kicking on now and trying to take that into next season."
Everton trail Manchester United by five points in the table, having also played a game more, but they have the chance to pull back their rivals by beating them during the run-in.
Koeman's side face trips to Liverpool and United next month, as well as hosting Chelsea, before travelling to Arsenal on the last day of the season.
"They're catchable definitely because it's football," Williams said. "I presume they're not going to win every game until the end of the season.
"They're strong sides and big clubs with experience of challenging for things and being at the top end of the table so it's a difficult ask.
"But with football you never know, teams go on good and bad runs with momentum so any team can be caught."