Everton in free-fall with fourth consecutive away defeat

By Lyndon Lloyd 10/12/2016  75 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Watford 3 - 2 Everton

Any time you cast your eye down the fixture list and find yourself wondering where the next win is going to come from, you’re in trouble and that’s where Everton find themselves after another horrible away defeat.

With Arsenal and Liverpool to come at Goodison Park over the next nine days, then two more games on the road to close out the year, it’s not inconceivable, based on what unfolded at Vicarage Road, that Ronald Koeman’s team will go into 2017 having won just once in 14 games. That is relegation form any way you slice it and it may sound pessimistic but, apart from the desperate hope that Koeman and Steve Walsh have some game-changing signings up their sleeve in January, there is a pretty desperate feeling hanging around Everton at the moment regarding the state of team.

Today, for the first time since they beat West Ham on 30th October, the Blues scored first and, even more out of character, they actually started a game in acceptable fashion, even if it didn’t manifest itself into much until Gareth Barry unlocked the Watford defence for Lukaku to score his first goal in five matches.

Unfortunately, they failed to capitalise on that precious advantage thanks to some alarmingly poor defending that allowed Watford back into the game. With 20 minutes gone in the second half, the Evertonians who had made the journey south were in a familiarly dismal state of deja vu, shaking their heads at another defensive horror show and the concession of three goals by their team.

As Stefano Okaka heel-flicked his way to his first Premier League goal and then added a second from an unchallenged header either side of Sebastian Prödl’s own unforgivably free header, it prompted serious questions like: was that poorly executed zonal marking by Everton’s defence? Why was Seamus Coleman marking a towering centre half? Just what do Koeman and and his coaching staff do at Finch Farm every day and are his players buying into any of it?

Because there is precious little evidence of a style of play emerging under the Dutchman and his side remain largely ineffective going forward until desperation takes over in the last 10 minutes. (Someone should tell them that even if you draw all 38 games, you’re still likely to go down with that many points so they may as well start every match from here until May thinking they’re losing if that’s what it takes to get them going.)

Yes, they took the lead but as the clock ticked past 80 minutes, Everton’s shots-on-target tally from their last three away games — some 260 minutes of football — stood at an embarrassing three. They would double that in the final 10 of this one, one of them a text-book striker’s header by Lukaku from substitute Aaron Lennon’s pin-point cross, but it wasn’t enough to save them. Still, they look a much better side with both Lukaku and Enner Valencia’s wiling running up front; Koeman just stubbornly refuses to try it from the start.

Instead, in response to Yannick Bolasie’s injury and the need to try and inject some energy into the side, the manager fielded Gerard Deulofeu and James McCarthy as two changes to the XI that had started against Manchester United last weekend. Coming into the team at the expense of Tom Cleverley, McCarthy was deployed, somewhat surprisingly, as the furthest forward of three defensively-minded central midfielders and he offered about as much offensive threat as one would have expected.

To be fair to the Irishman, he did cover a lot of ground and, for the most part, pressed in the manner in which is manager would have expected but it was Barry who laid on the opening goal for Lukaku after 16 minutes. He clipped a beautifully flighted ball over the top for the Belgian to bring down and slot under the body of Heurelho Gomes.

Watford tried to respond immediately and their best passing move of the game thus far ended with Okaka in a good position but his low shot was comfortably saved by Maarten Stekelenburg.

He would convert a more difficult but more spectacular effort nine minutes before half-time though when Ashley Williams inexplicably pulled out of an aerial duel with Troy Deeney, allowing the Watford striker an unchallenged header that was worked out wide to Nordin Amrabat. His low cross found Okaka in the centre and he did the rest with an impressive finish from close range to level the scores.

That goal galvanised the home side and thanks to niggly fouls by Everton in threatening areas of their own half, they were able to punish the Blues’ sloppy marking. Idrissa Gueye chopped down Valon Behrami — the Swiss had played on despite vomiting in the centre circle prior to the start of the second half — and Prödl rose easily above Coleman to power the Hornets ahead in the 59th minute.

Six minutes after that it was 3-1. Miguel Britos had gone very close to scoring from another criminally unmarked position but Stekelenburg made an excellent save with his fingertips to divert the Uruguayan’s downward header over the bar. But from the resulting corner, Okaka peeled away to meet the delivery and steered a header past the ‘keeper’s vain flap and in off Leighton Baines on the line.

Cue the first of three Koeman substitutions as Ross Barkley came on for Gueye before Valencia replaced the industrious but ineffective Mirallas with 20 minutes to go. The Ecuadorian bent an ambitious effort wide from 25 yards while Lukaku failed to emulate Okaka’s first goal when his flick missed the far post but he was, in any case, flagged offside yet again.

Valencia then headed wide from Lennon’s cross before the sub served Lukaku’s second on a platter, sparking brief hopes of another last-gasp equaliser but despite strong claims for a penalty — predictably they were ignored by referee Anthony Taylor — when Britos got away with climbing all over Valencia, Everton weren’t able to muster the scoring chance to make it happen.

So that search for the next elusive win continues while the inquests into just what is going on under Koeman’s tenure only become more urgent. Whether the Dutchman is simply discovering the severe limitations and mental fragility in the squad that dogged his predecessor or there is something deeply amiss in the culture, spirit or atmosphere in the dressing room under the new manager is hard to say.

Perhaps it’s a mixture of those factors but while it’s clear an overhaul of personnel is overdue at Goodison, the fact that a manager of Koeman’s pedigree and Premier League track record — albeit comparatively short — can’t rouse more fight and cohesiveness from a squad that does possess a fair amount of talent is deeply concerning. And things don’t get any easier over the next 10 days either…

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Reader Comments (75)

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James Watts
1 Posted 11/12/2016 at 06:38:02

"Just what do Koeman and and his coaching staff do at Finch Farm every day and are his players buying into any of it?'.

Many of us asking the exact same questions but what is obvious and has been for weeks, if not most of the season, the answer to the second part is a simple No! The players are clearly not buying into it. Attitude & performances tell us that.

I honestly can't see another league win under this so-called manager until Bournemouth in mid February. The next two games are already written off. Leicester and Hull must be rubbing their hands together in the thought of getting some points when we come calling.

Southampton at home on paper looks like one we should be winning, but so was Swansea at home. Man City home, No chance. Palace away, no chance (when do we ever beat Palace full stop?!). Stoke away, with the big fellas they have?

And then we are on to Bournemouth – and we'll probably be sitting around 15th in the table, at best. And by my calculations that would leave us 1 win in 18. If he's still in his job by then, well, I don't even want to think about it.

We are in deep shit and a couple of signings on January 1st is a must, but I have the feeling it won't take them too long to be dragged down to Koeman's baffling levels as per Williams anyway.

So frigging depressed with what I'm seeing. There are simply no green shoots to even be positive about.

Darryl Ritchie
2 Posted 11/12/2016 at 07:16:33
I have tried to stay positive and upbeat, but I don't see any, or at least enough, improvement since West Ham to convince me that the manager and players have the knowledge and confidence to stop the bleeding. There is definitely something wrong at Everton.

If the squad don't find a way to turn things around, and soon, there's a good chance we will be looking longingly up the table at 11th by the end of the season.

Koeman has been talking up the next two windows as the way out of the mess we're in. I hope the powers that be get it right, or there's a distinct possibility that we'll be taking the "mess" to the Championship.

Kieran Fitzgerald
3 Posted 11/12/2016 at 07:18:52
There is a lack of confidence, motivation and desire in the squad that has been developed over the space of two and a half calendar years. The Palace defeat in the March (?) of Martinez's first season was the start of this in many fan's eyes.

I think it is too easy to blame Koeman, it would appear that the malaise is too ingrained in too many of the players. If there is so little effort in so many of the players when they walk onto the pitch I think that there is nothing that Koeman can do about it.

We all felt or hoped that getting rid of Martinez would be the answer. It's obviously not. Many of these players, especially those who have been at the club for several years, such as Jagielka, Mirallas and Baines have shown that they know better. They have shown more fight and determination in them over the years than they have in recent games.

As with getting rid of Martinez, it is too easy to say that players such as Baines and Jagielka have lost their legs. They both still have footballing brains and seem to have chosen to just not use them. (Compare both to Gareth Barry for contrast!) These players seem to have just stopped playing.

For me the answer is to start again with this squad. There is enough talent in the squad, and poorer teams in the division to mean that we won't get relegated. Tell players now to start talking to their agents about a move. Write this season off and just focus on squad development. Use the January and summer transfer windows have a clear out and to bring in players who still have a desire to play football.

I don't think that mentally this squad is in a position where we have the luxury of saying we only need to replace one or two players at a time.

We also don't have the luxury of forward momentum. We have had two full seasons of going backwards, of poor performances, poor league finishes and poor team and fan spirit. We do need to just start again and if it means a couple of seasons of being midtable, then so be it.

On a side note, many people are saying that Koeman is part of the problem. Again, I think this is too simple an answer and is certainly too early a decision to make. I say judge him by the end of say next September. Give him proper time to put his stamp on the squad and then a run of games to see what this stamp looks like on the pitch.

Mark Daley
4 Posted 11/12/2016 at 07:24:43
Our worst derby defeat is 6-0 in 1935. Are this team record breakers?
John Keating
5 Posted 11/12/2016 at 08:03:45
It is about time the manager realises that his team set up is not working. Setting up not to lose has become an abysmal failure. We really need to change things and change quickly.

Lukaku needs more support and we have to be more attack-minded. If we sit back and play a similar game against Arsenal and Liverpool, we will get hammered. We need them to be more aware of us and put pressure on both their defences.

Sometimes you need change just for the sake of it. The present set up is not working.

Robles
Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori
Barry
Coleman, Gana, Baines
Davies
Lukaku, Valencia

Drastic surgery is required to this squad and I don't think it can be achieved in January. Unfortunately, I think we will have to target remaining games to achieve 40 points and hope we can get through to the summer. A sad state of affairs and a sad indictment of just what this great club has become.

Gareth Williams
6 Posted 11/12/2016 at 08:35:03
I don't think Koeman is the man for the job. He shows no passion. We are in freefall at the moment. Things need to improve soon or we will be in a relegation battle.
Peter Barry
7 Posted 11/12/2016 at 08:42:41
Why should we put any faith in what Koeman and Co will bring in in January when – apart from Gana – the other three they bought pre-season are all crap.
James Watts
8 Posted 11/12/2016 at 08:53:36
Peter, I hear your pain. The straws I'm clutching at is that Koeman tells Walsh the type of player he wants and it's down to Walsh et al to identify them. I just hope Walsh brings his Leicester eyes and not the eyes that wanted to buy that amazing box-to-box dickhead, Sissoko.

The only one I count as a Koeman signing is Stekelenburg as we know he phoned him, asking him to come directly after taking over. I believe the other 3 came via Walsh (Williams, Gana & Bolaise). Obviously not counting Valencia as he hasn't really played.

Ian Hollingworth
9 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:08:36
Regardless of what we think about the manager, these tossers who pull on the royal blue jersey are paid an absolute fortune to at least try their best.

I can forgive not being good enough as that is the club's problem to rectify (not that I trust the Kenwright regime to fix that) but this pathetic bunch do not appear to be trying to me, and that is totally unacceptable.

A massive clear out needed and to be honest I couldn't raise an argument to keep any of the overhyped, overpaid, useless, gutless tossers.

Baz Williamson
10 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:44:01
The big problem now is "Where do we go from here?"

Lukaku did his job yesterday and bagged us two goals, but we were woeful at the back and the whole team played the slowest football that I have ever seen us play. No urgency until the last 20 minutes and No response to losing two goals in quick succession.

We can ill afford to sack another manager, so this debacle needs sorting out quick style, or we are in the mire and staring down the barrel of a very very tough 2017. Stop worrying about a new ground and get the personnel sorted out.

Geoff Williams
11 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:49:20
I don't accept that the players aren't good enough nor do I buy into the team is too old. I think team selection has been poor and there is something lacking in the coaching.

I believe the players have lost faith in the manager and have little respect for him as a man dating back to his public humiliation of Barkley. The team's performances seem to reflect the dour, negative personality of the manager.

The only positives to come out of the shambles of late is the realisation that Jagielka, Barkley and McCarthy, the usual whipping boys, are not to blame. Jagielka, despite his inadequacies, is head and shoulders the best central defender at the club. Barkley is the only player with the X-Factor and is the only forward thinking player who can actually hold the ball up.

Mark Pierpoint
12 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:50:57
The only two I would keep are Lukaku and Gana. The rest (and I sadly include Barkley) are part of the malaise big time.

Bolasie won't come back the same player from this. As soon as he loses a yard of pace, he is done. Sadly, having done the injury myself, I am talking from experience.

Koeman, I think, has to be given time. My worry is that he is here in body, but not mind. He doesn't seem a comfortable fit at all. Maybe that is comparing him to the gushing Martinez, but it doesn't feel right.

January is massive. I don't know how much surgery you can do though? We need over the next two windows to find a goalkeeper, left-back, centre-back, left-midfield, centre-midfield, right-midfield, centre-forward... really scary.

Mark Andrews
13 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:54:58
The job's too big for Koeman, who's pinnacle was his time at Southampton. His stubborn attitude – linked with a lack of ability and an overblown, misguided sense of his own brilliance – will cost us dear.
Mark Wilson
14 Posted 11/12/2016 at 09:58:10
It's hard to feel calm about the current situation when you can see a relegation fight looming unless there is a dramatic, and I mean dramatic, change in both personnel and playing shape / set-up.

Here's the thing. We probably need 24-25 points to be sure of avoiding the drop. From 23 games. How many of those remaining can you see us actually winning? Draws won't cut it. We need to WIN at least seven of those 23 and hope to snatch four or five draws. We've won one in 11. And the fixture list is about to get many times harder.

So the truth is a relegation battle is on the cards unless there honestly is a huge upheaval in the next six weeks. Koeman has to have Moshiri in his face telling him in no uncertain terms that whilst he didn't expect to win anything this year, top seven or eight wasn't a pipe dream. Relegation battle with £100m a season at stake? I don't think that's a return on £6m a year for reputedly one of the best managers around?

The summer transfer window was an utter disaster. There cannot be anyone left defending what went on, or didn't. Bolasie before his horrible injury, well the painful truth is he was underwhelming and over-priced.

Williams is a shocking disappointment. I can't blame Koeman too much here as most thought that, at 32 and having shown his qualities in the Euros and before at Swansea, well, he looked a leader and a dominant force. Now? He just looks slow on the turn, too small in the air and is making poor positional decisions. Baffling but that's how it is.

Stekelenburg may make the odd very decent save but overall he's been poor and just isn't a top class number one. Valencia is untested and should be.

People on here have been slaughtered for suggesting, without firm evidence, that there's something wrong at Finch Farm. Well I'm joining the list so slaughter away... because there patently is something wrong behind the scenes. The chemistry isn't there between manager and players. There really is so little fight. Koeman has an unfortunate style that sees him look "resigned" as things around him are basically going to shit. He needs to show a bit more horror on the touch line then at least we'd all now he shares the pain... just a bit.

Fans go OTT about transfer windows and the January window is absurdly over priced and hard to get the right players in, and out. But without any of that OTT feeling I think that our future in this league depends on not two but five or six quality buys whilst letting three or four go, AND couple that with a chance of formation.

I'm shocked to see us where we are right now. Can't help but think again that at many clubs Koeman would be gone if there's no quick upturn by the end of January and I know that's daft but relegation is a lot dafter and free fall before Christmas is right up there as a reason to,panic, let alone getting humiliated in the next couple of games.

But this is football so who knows, two great wins and everyone will calm down-ish!

Kelvin Thomas
15 Posted 11/12/2016 at 11:00:51
James Watts @1 – "Just what do Koeman and and his coaching staff do at Finch Farm every day and are his players buying into any of it?''.

This is exactly what fans were saying on this forum when Martinez was in charge. He wanted this possession football... let's be honest, the players couldn't do it or hands down refused to do it.

New manager, totally different approach. Quicker and more aggressive approach, getting the ball up the field quickly. Just what the players were calling for under Martinez.

But, after a few weeks of applying the methods to a degree, they've all fallen back to their default setting... which translates to half-arsed effort and let's get through this the easy way.

You can look at it in two ways:

1. Is Koeman effectively getting his way of playing over to the players, or not?

2. Are the players then able to apply his ideas on to the pitch, or not? Are they even willing to try?

For me, it clearly lies with the players! Effort is poor, energy is poor, tackling is poor, passing is poor, movement is poor.

Makes you think, when Koeman was touting Lukaku for Barcelona, I actually think he wants rid of him. No team in the world will press effectively with a Romelu Lukaku standing up front!


Eddie Dunn
16 Posted 11/12/2016 at 11:29:30
Lyndon, isn't James McCarthy Scottish?
Geoff Williams
17 Posted 11/12/2016 at 11:37:09
Lukaku's main job is to score goals which he did. He isn't built to be running around putting defenders under pressure as Rush once did or Vardy does now. Koeman chooses not to play to his strengths. He can't play as a hold up striker with his back to goal – he needs to run on to through balls and crosses.

It is Koeman who should be adapting to play the best way to maximise the skills and talents of his players. He shouldn't be playing round pegs in square holes. McCarthy is once again being slated but it isn't his natural game to play as a support for the striker; Valencia or Barkley should have had that role.

Giving Koeman time or bags of money is a terrible gamble; we may be deep in the relegation battle sooner rather than later. He simply isn't the man for the job.

Philip Yensen
18 Posted 11/12/2016 at 11:46:43
Where do I star?

Goalkeeper is standard for us of late.

Coleman has been slow and not adventurous as in the past.

Williams was dragged all over the place because of a lack of a decent central defending partner.

Funes Mori is out of his depth in the Premier League.

Unfortunately, we have seen the best of Baines; he is on the slide now.

Deulofeu is too lightweight, almost predictable.

McCarthy – he's a Championship player – not Premier League standard.

Gueye seems give up too easily, perhaps sees other players slacking and follows suit.

Mirallas should not be in a blue shirt, full stop. Headless chicken.

Lukaku scored his goal in the first half with a crafted ball from Barry, then after that, every ball seemed to be lobbed down the centre-halves throats. the passing to him was awful.

Gareth Barry worked his socks off, not effectively, but when the rest of the team are shit, one has to make do.

Lennon and Valencia brightened things up but all too late.

Our passing was diabolical, effort piss poor, vision non-existent. Direction from the dugout was shit too – all your top managers are on their feet barking out instructions. Our coach is like Martinez in a mac. Hopefully this is not his team and he clears out all the dross if needs be; gives the kids a chance.

Lastly, sell Barkley and get a realistic price for him – say £5 million. Fingers cross in the transfer window...

Gavin Fennessy
19 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:07:32
Eddie, McCarthy was born in Scotland but plays for RoI so I guess he can be called Scottish or Irish. I was also calling him a few other choice titles at some stages of yesterday's game,
Jay Woods
20 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:09:31
Eddie Dunn: McCarthy is an Irish international, albeit with a Scottish accent.

I blame the players, the manager, the board and ourselves, the fans, for this mess.

The players have too much jelly in their spines; Baines's silly article in the Daily Mail about how there are very few "bad boys" at the club just underlined that.

The manager, besides his other failings, has zero passion and spoke out of turn about our standing and aspirations as a club, yet got off with it through the "out of context" get-out-of-jail card. And then he posted a picture of a red Christmas tree, for goodness sake.

The board has appeared for a long time to run the club's affairs as a despicable scam to net large chunks of cash to seedy offshore accounts. At least that's the impression I got. And Moshiri, aside from possessing an appalling sense of the soundbite, looks increasingly like an accomplice to Bill's schemings (although time will likely tell).

And then there's us. We go to the games every week (well, I don't, because I live in Latvia), we buy all the crap and no matter what is thrown at us, the club knows we can be counted on (aka taken for granted), because we are addicted to this poison. It's so bad that many fans consider finishing 5th some kind of success. So there is no pressing dynamic for an upward revolution in the club's affairs.

All I can say beyond that is I am glad my happiness is not invested in football.

Brian Harrison
21 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:10:36
First, the board will not contemplate removing Koeman, and that is the right decision. We have just paid our last manager £10 million in compensation, and we can't keep changing managers without giving them at least 3 years.

I wanted Koeman as manager and I am as disappointed that so far little seems to have changed since we got rid of our last manager. But he did an excellent job at Southampton, were most of the better players were sold before he arrived.

To be fair the majority of this group have been here and have been responsible for our poor finishes in the last 2 seasons. So a complete overall of the playing staff is badly needed, and that cant be done in 1 or 2 transfer windows.

I feel as angry and as let down as most of the posters with both players and manager alike. I am sure Moshiri will also have expected more than we are getting presently, and I am sure he will have had conversations with both Koeman and Walsh over their plans going forward. I hope we play more aggressively and also more positively than we have in our last few games.

Personally I would like us to play Valencia and Lukaku up top and Deulofeu just behind in the number 10 role, a position he plays for Spains U21 team and effectively. To me he looks far better when he picks the ball up in the centre of the pitch rather than out wide.

Against both Arsenal and the other lot under lights, the crowd will be right behind the team. So be positive, go out for the win, and give the fans some belief that this club under Koeman can turn things around.

Andrew Clare
22 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:11:06
My fear is that relegation is a real possibility.

Up until 1970 there were two great football clubs in Liverpool. Then we foundered while Liverpool had unprecedented success home and abroad. Then in the mid-eighties we were back with a great side arguably as good as anyone in Europe. Our domestic record was the equal if not better than anyone apart from our neighbours.

Then started nearly 30 years of decline, resulting in the situation we have today. During that time, we have flirted with relegation, finished in the bottom half of the table, retained a mediocre manager for far too long, and let our standards slip so low that a sixth place finish is seen as acceptable.

It's probably been the worst period in our history. Yet still we have massive support and huge potential which can be realised with the right leadership. I just hope Moshiri can haul us back up to the top somehow. It's going to be a hard slog.
Anthony Murphy
23 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:11:32
You're right, Geoff, about getting the best out of Lukaku and playing to his strengths... Additionally, if the big fella gets a long-term injury, what is our Plan B?

We need a striker in January as currently we have no other goal threat. Players who used to chip in with goals are no longer doing so – no shots on goal from anyone at the moment.

Terry McLavey
24 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:25:58
Gavin,

McCarthy and the rest of them!

Patrick Murphy
25 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:28:56
Andrew (#22)

It is the leadership that has been at fault for years if not decades as the club falls way below what the fans expect. The manager has been left to get on with things whilst the ownership pursue their own lives and who are happy to turn up at the match and go back to their lives after the game.

Everton FC is a big beast and requires strong personalities and driven people to demand the best out of all of its employees. It also requires people who are knowledgeable about the game and that doesn't mean boring the pants off people by retelling stories about football from a bygone era.

We need 21st century thinking and a root and branch overhaul of the club. If Everton in the Community can be a beacon of success in their area of expertise there is no reason whatsoever that the football side of the club can't follow suit.

Too many people at the club are happy to jog along and build their own empires to the detriment of the club as a whole. The club needs Mr Moshiri, if he's the real deal, to set out a vision for the club for the next decade and those who are unable or unwilling to tow the line should be removed and replaced.

The club's mindset seems to be we have a bad deal with XYZ so we got another 5% from ABC and that means we're improving – no it doesn't – it means we are thinking too small and we need to be saying here is a deal with Mega-Corp that will increase our income by huge amounts. Until the club buys into big thinking and big ideas with high aims for the football team we will continue to decline with a few highs here and there but essentially continue on a downward trend.

Charles Barrow
26 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:32:40
Koeman's tactics have been abysmal.

At Chelsea he had Lukaku chasing hopeful punts up-field on his own. Our midfield were by-passed and were simply chasing shadows.

He has continued this approach since then with the not surprising result that we've lost every game or got a lucky draw. I don't blame him for trying this set up but when it is so obviously not working why persist??

His 'changes' are to mess with the personnel, putting square pegs in round holes. This makes it even worse!

I am at a loss to understand what he's up to. I just get the impression he never really wanted to come to us - there were £6 million reasons (or whatever he's on) why he did; it's just a great pay day. He doesn't seem very interested or animated.

Tom Bowers
27 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:38:14
Everything about the club is doom and gloom at the moment, the manager, the squad and all us suffering fans with no glimmer of hope on the horizon.

This is as bad a set-up as they have ever had over the last 20 years when we all thought that a new investor and manager would get everything kick-started again. Yes, it may still happen but it won't be this season.

Koeman has to show a hell of a lot more than he has so far to bring the confidence back to the players, the fans and the investors. The next few weeks have now become crucial as Everton are sliding down the table.

Brian Harrison
28 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:46:19
Patrick,

I applaud your sentiments about thinking big, but the reality is that this club hasnt had the revenues over the past 20-odd years to do anything but to hope to compete from 7th to 11th to quote Phil Walling.

Mega Corps are only interested in the very best clubs that will enhance their brand. We have gone so long without winning a domestic trophy we are hardly a draw for top draw sponsors. I think the fact that Man Utd get more for wearing Chevrolet training tops as we get for all our sponsorship put together.

Outside of Britain I doubt if you asked people many would never have heard of us, yet the same wouldnt apply to our neighbours who havent ever won the Premier League. But they have 5 European cups that will always attract financial institutions; apart from our European Cup winners trophy our record in Europe is poor.

So yes lets hope Moshiri is the real deal but as you have mentioned yourself the FFP rules will restrict how much he is allowed to invest. So no wonder we have to sing about our history as there has been precious little to sing about for the last few decades.

Mark Melton
29 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:48:30
We're doomed. Doomed I tell you.
John Raftery
30 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:52:32
Apart from the brief period in August and early September, our form since Moshiri arrived in late February has been that of a relegation favourite.

It is sometimes said players are too ready to believe their own publicity. Well, this lot have read the un-coded messages from their own manager that they are crap, need to be replaced and they believe it. They have gone out on to the pitch to prove the manager right.

Koeman has made a huge error with his downbeat media comments which have served to lower morale and belief. Even his comments about the Under-23s not being ready have been detrimental. What message does that send to David Unsworth and the likes of Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell?

Part of the manager's job is to set the tone at a club. Koeman has set a very negative tone and he faces a massive challenge to turn that around in the coming weeks. If he or anybody else thinks throwing a pile of money in January at a posse of mercenaries no other club wants will remedy the current malaise, he needs to think again.

Moshiri would be well advised to keep his wallet closed until he sees evidence that Koeman is able to make the best use of players at his disposal.

Colin Glassar
31 Posted 11/12/2016 at 12:53:05
Can't we just forfeit the next two games and regroup for January?
Dean Peamum
32 Posted 11/12/2016 at 14:18:56
Eddie @16,

You're right. McCarthy was born & bred in Glasgow but chose to play for the RoI as he was eligible through his grandparents.

He's as Irish as a pub with a bicycle hanging from the roof.

Hopefully he'll be sold in January with about 9 other overpaid, gutless, useless first-teamers.

John Hall
33 Posted 11/12/2016 at 14:28:38
New manager, same old crap. No motivation and no pride in the shirt. Koeman looks lost with no Plan B. Probably goes alongside his managerial record, with the exception of Southampton – and there he didn't set the world on fire.

We can't afford to sack him so let's promote Unsworth to joint manager and let Koeman sit it out or walk away. Some very talented youngsters not getting a look-in who I am sure will run their socks off and show heart and pride in playing for the club. Liverpool's youngsters seem to step straight in and do well without any problem.

Mirallas, Lukaku, Deulofeu, McCarthy, Lennon, Cleverley to name a few, could not press a pair of pants never mind a football team. Attitude and commitment plus just trying to close down space are a pre-requisite in today's game. I watched Mirallas jogging around yesterday at half-pace and he didn't even try to close down a player with the ball just a few yards away from him.

Defensively supposedly one of the greats in his time as a player, Ronald Koeman looks clueless with his set-up at corners and free-kicks. Zonal marking is not the answer against big physical sides, as was shown yesterday. Small players marking big players at set-pieces just doesn't work. Add that to a lack of concentration and organisation and we are seeing the results almost every game.

It's looking bleak and I can't see many point on the board over the next four weeks seeing who we have to face.

Mr Moshiri needs to get a hold and quick or we will be in the Championship before we know it.


Dick Fearon
35 Posted 11/12/2016 at 15:17:54
Lyndon queried what goes on at Finch Farm; from the evidence on show, whatever goes on has little to do with Premier League football.

Perhaps the poor blighters are in need of another mid-winter break in warmer climes.

Gerard Carey
36 Posted 11/12/2016 at 15:22:35
My fear is, how long is it going to take to change things round? On current form, the next two games could be two more losses, with us dropping into the bottom half.

It's not going to be easy to get in players in January and hope that they gel straight away. That's a big ask. Plus we will lose Gana for January too.

I know Koeman needs time, but he has to do better. He has to change things round, try a few of the U23s. Can they really do any worse?

Mike Gaynes
37 Posted 11/12/2016 at 15:36:37
Kelvin (#15) and Brian (#21), well said. Koeman will not be sacked after less than half a season. It would smack of panic and irrationality.

I too blame the players more than the manager. It wasn't Koeman who stood and watched the ball bounce in against Man Utd... it was Funes Mori.

It was Williams, not Koeman, who bailed out against Deeney and then stood like a statue while Okaka ran across him and tucked away the cross unguarded.

It wasn't Koeman who committed idiotic fouls to give away dangerous free kicks, it was Gueye and Barry.

Do we blame Koeman that we now defend dead balls just as badly as we did under Martinez? Because it was little Coleman, rather than tall Funes Mori, who was trying to defend the massive Prödl on two consecutive free kicks? Perhaps… maybe Koeman didn't say “Our tall guy should mark their tall guy.” But I don't think it's Koeman's fault that first Britos and then Okaka were left alone for their headers.

I don't know how Koeman is coaching the players during the week, because I'm not there, but I'm pretty sure he's not coaching them to blunder so often at critical moments.

Everybody shares the blame here, but the manager can't play for the players. It's on them to do their jobs.

David Hallwood
38 Posted 11/12/2016 at 15:45:18
I'm watching the Man Utd v Spurs game at the moment, and Spurs are playing like a slightly better version of us – lots of possession, without a shot on target and Kane hasn't been in Man Utd's box all half. Sound familiar?

Speaking of Man Utd, I thought that when we went 4-4-2 last week. we looked like a decent side; sadly the Ronald didn't see it that way. But what is obvious is that the formation isn't working and, as Lyndon pointed out, 3 shots on target in the last 3 away games is relegation material. Thank God there's at least 4 teams worse than us.

Watching West Brom; OK I wouldn't want Pulis but he's got them playing simple but effective football with players of limited ability, everyone seems to know their job, unflashy very early Moyesesque, and of course their supporters aren't as demanding (or delusional?) as we are. But Koeman should take note and realise that the system we play doesn't work, doesn't suit the players we've got, and it's time for a change of philosophy.

IMO, the most important aspect of 4-2-3-1 is that the 2 holders are there to allow the full-backs to play higher up the field and if the move breaks down the holders fill the gaps. To my mind, this was sussed out 2 seasons ago and teams started to play a high line against us, thereby preventing the full-backs going up the field, which in turn makes the play very narrow and its only if you have exceptional midfielders like Hazard or De Bruyne or Silva who can make their own space, and a mobile front/target man that can hold up play.

What I'd like to see is Koeman revert to 4-4-2 and pair Ross with Gana with Deulofeu and Mirallas wide and Valencia & Lukaku up top. Yes I realise that Deulofeu doesn't track back and neither does Ross. But Ross is a central midfielder all day long and Deuofeu is a wide player – players played in positions that suit their ability.

I realise the chances of this happening are nil, and that a lot of you will think that it'll expose us, but having what is essentially 6 defenders hasn't stopped us leaking goals with either Martinez or Koeman.


Christopher Dover
39 Posted 11/12/2016 at 16:03:43
I don't pretend to be a tactician but, when we watched Martinez, they played tip tap out side the penalty area then lumped it up to Lukaku who most times could not control it, eventually even the Kenwright twigged and got rid.

We got Koeman and for a few games were tighter at the back, but we now leak goals and just hoof the ball up to Lukaku who... err, well... you know what.

Even I can see changes must be made; if he brings in 10 players in January, they will say they need time to gel as a team. So why does he just rotate the same players not giving any of the Under-23s some game time to ease one or two in to give energy and something different.

I want Koeman to succeed but we have the same problem as with the last manager and, if he does not change, the result will be the same – relegation.

David Connor
40 Posted 11/12/2016 at 16:20:27
This has to be one of the worst teams I have ever seen in over 40 years of going to our beloved Goodison Park. And I have seen a lot of shite in that time... When is it going to change?

Answer... When we get some players who have some fucking bottle and a bit of pride in wearing the blue shirt. I fear relegation beckons unless attitudes change rapidly.

I really hope players read these comments because we, the punters, expect more from them. Players today don't feel the pain of the supporters. They live in their own little world.

Barry Pearce
41 Posted 11/12/2016 at 16:27:34
Yes, not giving some of the youngsters a sniff, while the same dross by the same players one week to the next, is galling to say the least. At least they would be trying like hell for the shirt, and with a large amount of skill.

What have Holgate and Davies done when they have played to suggest that they would be overwhelmed? Come on – try something different, Ronald, as this ship is sinking.

John Raftery
42 Posted 11/12/2016 at 16:33:23
David (#38), I am no longer sure there are four teams worse than us.

We could only draw with Palace, we were lucky to get a late equaliser against Swansea while Sunderland have improved on the form they showed against us in September.

Leicester seem to have stirred themselves at last and I would expect West Ham to get their act together at some point. Burnley and Bournemouth have both beaten us.

That leaves Hull and Middlesbrough who are both likely to be in the relegation pack but will have identified their games against us as winnable.

Tony Hill
43 Posted 11/12/2016 at 17:07:37
The reason why I think we have to get rid of Koeman is that he hasn't got control of his team. They are not trying for him, or certain of them are not. We will not be able to buy our way out of that in January because we will not be able to get enough new players of sufficient quality, and those who do arrive will inevitably need to bed in.

The football we are playing is as bad as I can remember and I do not expect us to beat any side at the moment; indeed, I expect us to lose. This is not a team going through a bad patch, it looks like it's broken at root.

I understand the view that the shower of shite currently wearing Blue should not be allowed to get rid of another manager. But we have to deal in realities and the biggest reality of all is that, if we carry on as we have been, then we will struggle to avoid relegation. We do not have the luxury of time to re-build with this manager (who has failed to impress himself on the players) given the state we are in; the evidence is before our eyes, and nor do we have the time – I'm very sorry to say – to stand on principle.

Koeman isn't working and in this League you need to see the writing on the wall very quickly, or else. Everton remind me of last year's Villa, I think we're as bad as that. What really frightens me is that I've always thought, if we were relegated, we would be one of those sides that doesn't come back early or at all. That's what's at stake in my view.

Frank McGregor
44 Posted 11/12/2016 at 17:50:49
Not much to say really:-

Aston Villa 2015-16 = Everton 2016-17 = Relegation

Andy Crooks
45 Posted 11/12/2016 at 18:11:19
We are not in a relegation fight... nor will we be.

January is not the time for big change but, for us, it must be. We have players who are shameless and unfit to wear our shirt. We have players who are finished, and we have players who are shit.

If Koeman does not swallow his pride and look at some young players, I fear his reputation will be done for good.

Patrick Murphy
46 Posted 11/12/2016 at 18:37:12
Andy I admire your faith but I'm afraid that every side from Watford in seventh down to the bottom three are indeed in a relegation fight. Everton are in that fight and are possibly on the poorest run of form of any of those clubs, indeed our form for a season and a half is probably worse than most of those clubs.

I'd like to think we have superior quality to at least 3 teams in the Premier League but the results for most of the last 18 months, bar the blip at the start of this season, suggests otherwise.

Rick Tarleton
47 Posted 11/12/2016 at 18:47:18
Koeman looks angry every time the camera zooms in on him. The anger needs to be self-directed; he is picking three defensive mid-fielders and is trying to play a system that is manifestly unsuited to the players he has in his squad.

He seems to be incapable of encouraging players and making them feel good about themselves; we've seen plenty of stick and very little carrot.

In one post, a correspondent suggested that he is purely a mercenary and that is the impression we are getting. I fear that the body language of the players suggests that he has lost their good will.

There are players who need to be encouraged, players who need to be goaded, and players who need to be punished. Koeman doesn't seem capable of encouraging words and Barkley seems to be his punchbag of choice. Not exactly great man-management.

Pete Edwards
48 Posted 11/12/2016 at 18:56:20
The thought that came to me today – after finally getting the "We are in trouble" and "What the feck is going on?" out of my head – is that we saw the players downing tools to Martinez's tactics. They weren't working so needed changing... so we get a new manager in with a different set of tactics... and guess what ?

Same old shite, it does seem we hung Martinez rather than the players... It all points to a massive massive clear-out. Too many think they know better but aren't actually able to adapt to simple instruction and have once again downed tools en masse!

I hate seeing what is happening to the Everton!

Patrick Murphy
49 Posted 11/12/2016 at 19:04:13
Pete (#48),

Another issue is that many of the current players were fed on the Moyes ethic of the "Keep It Tight And Pinch One" plan.

Then, the others, such as Lukaku, Deulofeu, McCarthy et al, were fed 'You're the greatest – don't worry about results, eventually they will come" mantra.

And now, we have a hard-headed "work until you drop" type manager who won't or can't suffer fools gladly and doesn't appear to have much time for the modern footballer, no matter what their ability levels.

Confusion reigns as some of the team think 'safety first'; some think "Let's keep going forward but in an undisciplined fashion" and others are not thinking about anything other than their own game. The combination of all three is manifesting itself out on the pitch and it looks like what it is – a complete mess.

Bobby Thomas
51 Posted 11/12/2016 at 19:29:07
Andy (#45),

If the same form and attitude continues over the next 10 league games, do you accept we will be in a relegation battle then?

Michael Winstanley
52 Posted 11/12/2016 at 19:38:59
January? Who are the players who will lift us and turn us into a team who fight for each other, play with a desire and passion to win? Who are they?

If Koeman left, I'd be quite happy; his methods don't work with these players. I think the lack of youth being selected highlights poor management, his treatment of Niasse also and that of Barkley.
Maybe this is needed? Only time will tell because I can't see Moshiri sacking him.

It would appear Koeman doesn't have the answers, he's quite honest about it. He can point out the problems but he can't rectify them. But okay...

Patrick Murphy
53 Posted 11/12/2016 at 19:43:16
It seems that Rom has bought into Ronald's methods... Should he be made the captain? Or would that be taking things too far?

Honesty and Maturity

Darren Hind
54 Posted 11/12/2016 at 19:46:53
I think some people will need to be scraped from the tarmac before we recognise there is a big fuck-off bus coming.

Of course we are battling for survival, we are 8 points off the basement and every team below us is in better form.

Give him time? For what?? ... You think he's going to change his spots???

Tony Hill
55 Posted 11/12/2016 at 20:19:28
Patrick (#53), I think that confirms – as if we needed confirmation – that the camp is in a bad mess. It doesn't sound to me as though he's confident it's all going to come right either, reading between the lines.
Andy Crooks
56 Posted 11/12/2016 at 20:34:23
Bobby (#51), if the same form continues over the next ten games, I will expect we have a new coach. We won't but we should.
Stephen Brown
57 Posted 11/12/2016 at 20:58:11
I think Tuesday under the lights is the time the Goodison crowd need to provoke some sort of 'guilty' reaction from these players! The players need to be almost intimidated into trying harder!

Also, Koeman needs a demonstration of what being an Evertonian means!

Stephen Brown
58 Posted 11/12/2016 at 21:01:32
I think Tuesday under the lights at Goodison is an opportunity for the crowd to let the players know in no uncertain terms that lack of fight will not be accepted! There needs to be a hostile atmosphere demanding effort and fight!

Koeman also needs to witness what it means to be an Evertonian!

Pete Edwards
59 Posted 11/12/2016 at 21:17:10
Patrick, absolutely! The word 'mess' is exactly what it's looking like.

I'm not sure the mess of defending set pieces is the same mess though... that has to come from the training ground. I would have thought someone like Koeman would have sorted that by now.

Trevor Powell
60 Posted 11/12/2016 at 21:54:09
As Jasper Carrott said about Birmingham City years ago, "You lose some, you draw some!"
Adam Luszniak
61 Posted 11/12/2016 at 22:21:20
I think talk of relegation is premature, although of course the question is how long will it be before we see an upturn.

There seem to be two general themes in the comments above. Firstly, that Koeman is unable to motivate the players, and secondly, that the players are past it and unable to deliver what he wants. To my mind, it seems like both might actually be the case.

Regarding the players, they are simply not pressing the way Koeman has stated he would like them to, as displayed by Lukaku recently finding himself bottom of the league for distance covered. Another example is Jags, whom it seems is past his best. Barkley too has been totally unable to rediscover the form that saw him touted as 'the next big thing', even being dropped by the manager has not helped him. Mirallas, Deulofeu, and Lennon are all equally ineffective.

As for the manager, well I'm not exactly sure about him. I like his pragmatism, and straight talking. I don't like his inability to try any of our Under-23 players to resolve the deficiencies in the first 11. As an example, Davies should have been tried instead of Barkley in the attacking mid role. Koeman seems unwilling to make real change (I'm not talking about simply rotating the three aforementioned wingers) and that worries me. Good managers have an answer, and right now Koeman seems deficient in that area. That said, I think sacking him would be more premature than the relegation talk.

We need change, both from the manager, the squad and the attitude of the players, in order to move forward. January will be a defining month. We have a well regarded manager and apparently in Steve Walsh one of the best scouts in the league. If they are not backed in the transfer market, we're stuffed.

Gavin Fennessy
62 Posted 11/12/2016 at 22:42:12
If Cleverley is the answer... what the hell was the question?

The boss has not convinced in team selection or tactics and certainly the team aren't appearing keen to work their socks off for him. Too many players are selected each week after putting in terrible performances. The group doesn't appear to want to fight for the shirt and I wonder if consequences and discipline are not being explained clearly.

I realise it was probably a picture without context but the photo from the dressing room that Robles circulated of all the lads tapping away on their mobiles looked like a symptom of what we see each week on the pitch.
Nicholas Ryan
63 Posted 11/12/2016 at 23:12:17
If Koeman is a man of honour, he will have resigned by noon on Monday, forgoing any compensation.

Why? If we were improving gradually every week, I'd say "Give him more time" – but we're not.

If we were playing out of our skins every week, but were just unlucky, I'd say "More time" – but we're not.

If there was an obvious plan, but it just hadn't quite gelled yet, I'd say "More time" – but there isn't.

If the players came of the pitch like exhausted Gladiators, having given everything for the cause, I'd say "More time" – but they don't.

If the Manager was charismatic, and said "I know things are tough, but follow me into the trenches and we'll fight our way out...", I might say "More time" – but he isn't.

If the Manager said "I know this is rubbish, but we're about to buy six brand new superstars...", I might say "More time" – but he doesn't.

If the players looked like they'd just been made redundant from a steelworks, every time they lost a match, I might say "More time" – but they don't.

If the Club could drum up a feeling of optimism, despite all the gloom, I'd say "More time" – but it doesn't.

We are getting worse every week – not better.

Koeman is standing on the bridge of the Titanic – a ship which should be the best; he can see the iceberg coming, but is too traumatised to take effective action. He needs to be discarded and replaced, and then officers, crew and passengers need to get together to turn the ship (very quickly) around.

Oliver Molloy
64 Posted 11/12/2016 at 23:34:45
"A ship that should be the best" – wishful thinking I think.

And there ain't a manager of a Premier League club that would resign due to results – more wishful thinking.

Jay Wood
65 Posted 12/12/2016 at 00:32:40
We are still a long way off being bracketed with likely relegation teams, admittedly largely thanks to our flying start when we got so many points on the board early.

However, the team does need to start putting more points on the board – and quick. As this link shows, our form IS that of a relegation team.

Link

As the two form tables show, based on the last 6 games, only Palace and WHU have worse form than Everton. More disturbingly, based on the last TEN games, we are 2nd from bottom, only thanks to Hull occupying last place. Not great company. That's more than a quarter of the season.

Worrying. And mystifying.

Derek Thomas
66 Posted 12/12/2016 at 01:22:35
Jay @65; Thanks for the table, I've been looking for one. Not mystified by the causes – many and varied, all well covered here and else where.

The real mystery that needs solving (where are those pesky kids and the greedy dog when you need them) is when, how AND how much it'll cost for Koeman (Konman?) to solve it – and how long will Moshiri let him spunk millions doing it... Especially If we have to sell to buy and, come March, we're still shite and getting shite-er??

Of course it could go all 'A Team' – 'I love it when a plan comes together' (cue theme) and we're rocking in March, with egg on mine and others faces.

7 points from 10 games; if we get 4 points from the next 4 games, it will be above the trend. I could live with the 4 draws, but can only see a win and a draw (for the 4 points) coming away to Leicester and Hull... if then.

Should be a very Interesting run up to the New Year. Could be sometimes you have to put your hands up and admit it just isn't working... no matter how much it should or you want it to.

Mick Davies
67 Posted 12/12/2016 at 06:10:22
Jay @ 65, thanks for scaring me out of my wits with those tables. When I saw West Ham putting everything into a daunting game away at Liverpool, and Leicester City smacking Man City, I realised how far behind the 'weak' teams we are.

I can't see a solitary transfer window month, where clubs are reluctant to let 'decent' players move away, be our saviour; especially if the whole summer only got us one good player, albeit from a relegated club.

For me, the big opportunity for Koeman has been and gone: he had the players on a (sort of) roll, and dreaming of maybe winning some silverware at last. So he then breaks the golden rule, and leaves some of the players out (to their chagrin?) and we lose our most realistic chance of a trophy against Norwich. Pretty much nothing has gone right ever since, and for Robles to get his chance and keep a clean sheet (remember them?), then get dumped for the boss's pet chump, must have pissed a few off.

He's been here for 3 years, having to wait until Howard was almost bed-ridden to get a chance, and if I know changing room camaraderie, his fellow pre-Koeman mates must have seen this as favouritism, especially as Stekelenburg makes the latter days Tim Howard look like Lev Yashin. There looks like none of that camaraderie we seen under Martinez, with Lukaku, Mirallas, Coleman etc running to the boss after scoring. They don't pile on top of each other a la Moyesey days. All we see now is a resigned 'we've scored but still won't win' look.

If the players are at fault, then it's impossible to ship about 15 out and get the equivalent in during January, so the only alternative is to get rid of the Koemans and Dunc, and put Unsworth and Sheedy in charge until the end of the season; I'm sure they'd get a better reaction than we're seeing now.

James Watts
68 Posted 12/12/2016 at 06:22:53
Mick (#67). I agree 100%.

I'll like to add that I believe Koeman, from the outside, seems to have destroyed morale & team togetherness in just a few short months. The players should shoulder blame too but for me Koeman is the main culprit. Nothing I see of him, demeanour or spoken, shows he is the man for Everton. He simply doesn't care about us and I'm sure the players also see that.

Looking at our fixtures, I really can not see any type of win until Leicester at home (in the cup, just because they are rank away from home – not because of faith in us) and after that maybe Bournemouth at home. In terms of Premier Leaue fixtures/results that would make it 1 win in 18. No football manager can expect to be in a job with that run.

Personally, if he left today, I would be chuffed to bits as I'm sure Unsy et al would get the boys fired up for the next two games. Under Koeman, not a fucking chance.

Brian Porter
69 Posted 12/12/2016 at 06:35:57
What galls me in our current situation is the belief that we can't get rid of Koeman. Already this season there have been a number of managerial sackings in Germany and Italy where results have been unsatisfactory. In our case, results haven't just been unsatisfactory, they've become disastrous, under a manager who clearly has no affinity or feel for the club and views his appointment as just another job.

Well, most people who start a new job tend to do okay at first but, after a brief show of willingness, usually show their true colours, good or bad. They are also usually made aware of the consequences of not doing the job correctly or failing to meet certain standards.

Koeman has, in my opinion, proved incapable at the most basic levels of man management and motivation and inept at best in his use of the resources available to him.

The latest example of this was seen when, against Man Utd, we suddenly looked a different team when he threw Valencia on up front with Lukaku. A clever, more astute and flexible thinking manager might have thought, "It's not what I wanted, but if it works, let's at least try this next time out." He didn't of course unto it was too late, and again, introduced Valencia and we looked potent up front again. He obviously won't compromise his own ideas or methods even when the potential solution is staring him in the face.

Moshiri should consider the financial implications of relegation before any perceived loyalty to a manager who hasn't been here six months, and who has shown himself as not being up to the task of, at the very least, coaching some effort and basic skills into a squad of, for the most part, experienced, seasoned internationals.

For the sake of the club's future, on and off the field, we should take a leaf out of Inter's book, who got rid of De Boer after 85 days. Koeman is not the man for us.

Wayne Dinkelman
70 Posted 12/12/2016 at 07:04:07
In my view, Koeman has come is and can clearly see that the vast majority aren't fit to pull on the shirt. The players can see it and know it deep down and will either have the personal character to put in a shift and change his mind or continue with the piss-poor effort.

Unfortunately, I think the majority figure they are on such good coin, they would prefer to continue the way things are and they don't really care. Koeman knows if he turns around and dumps them all and plays the kids, he will have a revolt on his hands from the said players, so is just trying to get through to the window to get in a few more players who at least want to show they deserve to be here.

Darren Hind
71 Posted 12/12/2016 at 07:14:12
Seems they are not even smelling the coffee in Brazil.

The dog fight started about five weeks ago and thus far we are not making a very good fist of it.

I'm a big admirer of Lyndon Lloyd. He regularly puts together the best pieces you will read about this club. Always measured, always balanced and always informed. Please read the headline.

Lyndon is not prone to negativity. He seldom offers knee-jerk reaction after a result. If he has a fault, it is (imo) that he is often TOO fair with managers. So when he puts words like free-fall into a headline you really aught to listen. This isn't headline grabbing, it's a chillingly accurate description of our current plight.

Look at the current form tables, study them, We don't have the comfort of knowing there are at least three teams worse than ourselves, because currently, there isn't.

I'm not on here to declare we are doomed, far from it... but we have to recognise where we are right now, we ARE in a battle and make no mistake, if this free-fall is not arrested, we will drop.

In a couple of weeks we will not be talking about the start of the season, we will be into the second half of it. Is there a single TW`er who believes we have the fighting qualities within our ranks if we do become embroiled in a battle?

Koeman is bleating that we have once again been reactive rather than pro-active... CAN SOMEBODY HAND THIS GUY A FUCKING MIRROR!!! The only time we will put a second striker on is when we have fallen behind.

Lukaku takes his fair share of stick (been guilty meself) but what chance has he got? He's not built like Jamie Vardy so he is never going to be able to hunt down poor balls or "press" defenders. How many times do we see him isolated and surrounded by 2-3 defenders... then we wonder why he looks so fucking useless?

Get Valencia in there with him. I don't know if he is good enough or not, but I do know he will occupy defenders and contribute far more than the Gold Bentley boy.

And while we are at it, FFS, stop hurting our eyes (not to mention our intelligence) by playing this mindless hoofball. Stop talking about imaginary "dips in form" to justify leaving the out a guy because you think he's too young. I woudn't care if he was twelve, he still wouldn't be as useless as the two "avit" merchants currently occupying the central defensive positions.

Bullshit Bobby and TGT both went through similar periods when they were in charge, both were forced to swallow there pride and have a sit down with the senior players; both got improved performances.

I don't want us to be this years Newcastle. I want us to recognise the dangers NOW. I want us clear of any threat of relegation long before the spring comes.

It's time for Koeman to sit down with his players. It's time for him to understand that things will not change if he keeps doing what he's doing. It's time for players to stand up and be counted and it's time for the fans to realise that an unarrested free-fall can only ever have one conclusion.

Liam Reilly
72 Posted 12/12/2016 at 09:44:01
I read in the paper today that there's a picture on social media with the players in the dressing room all focused on their mobile phones; anyone seen this?

If its true; that's a shocking indictment of the leadership.

On another note; TW editor's - surprised why you continually allow idiotic, xenophobic comments on McCarthy's (in this case) parentage that have nothing to do with football on these threads.

Dan Egerton
73 Posted 12/12/2016 at 10:36:35
Koeman has lost the dressing room. The players don't want to play for him.

We had 4 wins and 1 draw, 2nd spot. Then he says our team isn't good enough for Champions League next season. He also makes a series of negative comments about certain players.

From that point on, we have been playing crap. Can't be a coincidence.

Sam Morrison
74 Posted 12/12/2016 at 11:10:14
Sorry to say I agree with Dan @73.

While it seems too early to judge Koeman's tenure, the fact is the players look just as timid, if not more so, than last season. The stream of negative comments about his own staff don't appear to be having any effect, except to demotivate them perhaps.

Most seem to agree it's time to give Holgate, Davies and maybe one or two others from Unsworth's team a run, yet Koeman persists with players he's pretty much admitted aren't up to it. Confusing and depressing times.

Adam Luszniak
75 Posted 12/12/2016 at 12:57:17
To everyone above saying that Koeman doesn't care and doesn't get the club, that his attitude is wrong and he has lost the dressing room; is this not the same dressing room that Martinez lost by telling us all how much he loved the club, how he was going to get us in the Champions League, and telling us all how we were in a phenomenal footballing moment.

What I'm saying is, Martinez's "can do" attitude could not get this team in to the champions league, Koeman's cold fish persona won't be the cause of us getting relegated.

I couldn't care less if he doesn't get the club and he's only here for the money. Who thinks Zlatan is at Man Utd because he's inspired by the heritage of the club as an institution?

I don't care what he comes across like in the media, as long as results on the pitch improve.

Jon Withey
76 Posted 12/12/2016 at 13:20:08
Properly dreadful run – they do know we need to win games to stay in the Premier League?

Does the solution really sit with the current manager? Clearly we'll be relegated if this form continues, that's just a fact.

Paul Tran
77 Posted 12/12/2016 at 16:13:57
Dan, he was right on both counts. Truth hurts. Good professionals respond to a challenge. These players clearly don't.

If Koeman was sacked tomorrow, I wouldn't complain. Whoever takes over from him will still have to deal with our wonderful mix of ageing, waning, underachieving, unwanted and unsellable players, who have been kept on by a policy of short-termism over the past few years.

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