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Everton managerial candidate Vitor Pereira has defended his record amid fan protests at the prospect of the Portuguese taking charge of the club’s battle to remain in the Premier League.

Former England internationals Wayne Rooney, who enjoyed two spells at Goodison Park as a player, and Frank Lampard have also been linked to the vacant manager’s role following the sacking of Rafael Benitez.

“Pereira out, Lampard in” was painted on a wall outside the club’s stadium on Wednesday in response to reports the former Porto and Fenerbahce boss was favourite to land the job.

Pereira has won league titles in Portugal, Greece and China, but he is deemed a risky appointment given his lack of experience in English football with Everton just four points above the relegation zone.

Objections to his appointment are also rooted in resentment at the influence agent Kia Joorabchian has over Everton owner Farhad Moshiri.

“This is the first time in my career I have seen this kind of thing, I’ve never had these comments about me,” Pereira told Sky Sports.

“They don’t know me, my work or me as a person or my CV. I don’t take it as a personal attack. I work in a lot of countries, different clubs, at different levels, and we got several titles but before you start work and you don’t know the person and you cannot judge.”

Pereira said feedback from an interview he had with the Everton hierarchy had been positive.

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And he believes the unrest among the fans is a reflection on the state of affairs at the club than on him personally.

“I think these critics are not directed at me. It is the environment now as the club is not in a good position and the supporters are passionate,” he added. “This passion is the power of the club.

“But I understand the feelings of the supporters because, in the last few years, the club didn’t get good results and it is normal they are not happy.”

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