Sky Sports pundit Tony Cottee says Everton are in danger of being relegated from the Premier League if they do not appoint Sam Allardyce as their new manager.
The Toffees are still searching for a new boss after Ronald Koeman was sacked last month.
David Unsworth is currently in caretaker charge at Goodison Park and has lost five of his seven matches as interim boss.
Last week’s 5-1 Europa League defeat to Atalanta followed by the 4-1 reverse at Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday has increased the pressure on the club’s owners to appoint a permanent manager as soon as possible.
Watford boss Marco Silva had emerged as the leading candidate for the role, but the Premier League club rivals refused to let him leave.
The club are now in talks with former England boss Allardyce and Cottee is convinced he is the right man for the job.
“I think what Sam would do is he’d go into the club, he will make his feelings clear, he will lay the law down, he will get them organised, he will make them sound defensively, they will be hard to beat, they’ll grind away, they’ll get results but ultimately they will stay in the Premier League,” said Cottee, as quoted by the Daily Express.
“That’s what Everton have got to look at, because they are on such a downward spiral at the moment.
“If they make the wrong choice, then they can quite easily go down this year.
“They are in trouble, let’s be honest here, they are in trouble.”
Everton face David Moyes’ West Ham United side in Premier League action at Goodison Park tomorrow evening in what is a must-win game for both teams.
The game is expected to be Unsworth’s last match in caretaker charge, with the BBC reporting that the club may confirm Allardyce as manager before kick-off.
The Toffees are currently 17th in the Premier League table and go into the game two points above West Ham, knowing a defeat would see them drop into the bottom-three.