Jagielka and Barry decisions were tailored to opposition

Sunday 12 March 2017  70 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman has revealed his thinking behind the selection of Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry in Saturday's game against West Bromwich Albion, explaining that both players were suited to the opponents' game.

Jagielka was brought back into the defence for his first start of 2017 at the expense of Ramiro Funes Mori while Barry was retained despite a chequered display against Tottenham Hotspur in the previous match.

Both players vindicated the manager's decision with highly effective displays in the 3-0 victory that extended the Blues' lead over the Baggies to seven points.

“My mind today was clear; it was a good game for Jags — the way how West Brom play. It suited him,” Koeman said in the wake of the win.

“He did well. Maybe in the beginning there were too many balls back to the goalkeeper, which I don't like. I would prefer the ball into the channel, because then you can press your opponent.

“But overall I think defensively the team was strong, and he was one of them.

“It was painful to leave Gana out,” Koeman continued in reference to the decision to keep Barry in the team and also bring in Kevin MIrallas, “but the reason to start with Gareth was that we will have a lot of ball possession and he is really clever on the ball. And West Brom don't have a lot of runners from midfield.

“But it is easy to mention that if you win 3-0, eh?! If not, they will kill me about the line-up!”

 

Reader Comments (70)

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Don Alexander
1 Posted 12/03/2017 at 23:33:25
From what this guy says, my guess is that USMFF is now mercifully devoid of fannying about. I'm beginning to really like him.
Trevor Lynes
2 Posted 13/03/2017 at 00:04:28
I suppose it makes sense playing Barry against WBA. He suffered against the pace of Spurs but the Albion play a much slower game.Jagielka is so experienced that when he is on form he is still our best centre back. He is certainly no slower than Williams.
Gordon Crawford
3 Posted 13/03/2017 at 00:23:23
He needs to beat the other shower at Anfield before I start to like him.

But what he says makes lots of sense.

Mark Wilson
4 Posted 13/03/2017 at 00:26:15
Honestly? Makes little sense to me. Gueye is good on the ball and has stamina to burn. Barry selected because "West Brom have few runners from midfield"?

It's less hard to understand this one given how poor Funes Mori was last week at Spurs. But also seemed like a perfect opportunity for Holgate and he's the one who needs the experience and seems to have the potential.

I think Koeman deserves credit for the recent upturn, of course he does. But then he goes and makes an aweful mess of setting the team up for Spurs, and his selection of the decent cover that is Barry for WBA almost feels like him telling everyone to "Bog off, I'm the boss, so there!"

Gordon Crawford
5 Posted 13/03/2017 at 00:41:06
His team for the Spurs game was a disaster, I totally agree with that. He should never have played Barry. Worryingly I think Koeman might have lost some faith in Holgate after the Stoke game away. Just my opinion though.

In my eyes, he should be getting games. I do think Jags should start most games in the middle with Williams on the left and Holgate on the right. I think Funes Mori is just not good enough.

Daniel Lim
6 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:13:17
"They will kill me about the line-up".

Referring to TWebbers...

James Marshall
7 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:20:37
He was right, he's more often right than he is wrong – I still don't understand why supporters continually waste so much negative energy on the team they love and support.

Koeman is a good manager, and he knows the game way better than we all do – of that there can be no question, yet still he get's slaughtered. Barry is the most intelligent player at Everton, and the way he uses the ball is massively underrated and overlooked by many supporters in my view – and evidently, Ronald Koeman's as well.

What he says above is bang-on, and was proven on Saturday. Supporters are fickle, led by emotion, and give knee-jerk reactions more often than not. Koeman will have spent all week thinking about WBA, along with all his coaching staff, and of course working with the players to make the right call on team selection.

It beggars belief when you come on here and people are going mental without any foundation about team selection – even when we win 3-0!

Mick Davies
8 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:23:43
If he's building for the future, then why leave young Gana on the bench and play old Barry? If we were fighting relegation and needed an experienced head in there, I could understand, but why keep chopping and changing for the hell of it?

If Gana isn't good enough to play in certain matches, then why did he buy him? The most successful teams are those that are moulded together as a unit, not a mish mash of Individuals getting to know each other every match day. I just wish he could find his best side and stick with it.

James Marshall
9 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:28:20
He didn't play Barry for the hell of it – he played him because he's a more intelligent player than Gana. They're not comparable at all in mine, or the managers view – both defensive midfielders, but in very different ways.

Gana gets about, but Barry is smarter with the ball – it seems like a no-brainer to me (and to Ronald Koeman!).

Gordon Crawford
10 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:31:39
I don't agree with everything he does. But we still won the match and convincingly.
Daniel Lim
11 Posted 13/03/2017 at 01:41:45
I don't get the argument that since we are building for the future, then we mustn't play the old players and must play the younger ones. Seen this a few times... not sure if it is the same poster.

While building for the future, should we just neglect the current season and forget about qualifying for Europe? Koeman should just make use of whatever players that he has regardless of their age, to win matches, to get us into Europe.

To me, getting into Europe is also a VERY important part of "building for the future". Players (ours and those we are interested in) want European exposure and all that.

David Ellis
12 Posted 13/03/2017 at 03:39:02
Daniel Lim - yes totally agree with that.

The ultimate logic of the "play the younger players because we are building for the future" school of thought would be to forget about the first team entirely and just put out the U23 side and never buy a player over the age of 23.

No...we actually want to win matches.

Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 13/03/2017 at 04:54:09
James #9, I totally reject the "intelligence" bollocks. Gana is an extremely intelligent player who reads the game superbly. Just watch him. You don't lead the Premier League in tackles – which Gana does by a wide margin even after missing five games – by just "getting about." You do it with outstanding anticipation to get into the right position at the right time.

Barry's intelligence and anticipation are likewise brilliant – he sees a pass seconds before other players and has the skill to pull it off, frequently with just one touch. That's the reason Koeman played him against the Baggies. Barry also reads incoming attacks exceptionally well, but he no longer has the quickness to react, which is why he shouldn't have played against Spurs.

You're right that they are very different players... but the difference is in their skill sets, not their brains. Both have excellent footy smarts.

John Keating
14 Posted 13/03/2017 at 05:09:52
Mike, spot on. Footy is about winning. It is now a squad game and if the manager thinks of playing different players in a certain formation and it works out then fine by me. He messed up against Spurs but got it spot on against West Brom.

When you consider how long Jags has been sidelined coming in and playing as well as he did was a credit to him and in a way worthy of Man of the Match.

Phil Sammon
15 Posted 13/03/2017 at 05:59:12
Mick (#8),

'If Gana isn't good enough to play in certain matches then why did he buy him?'

Truly bizarre question. Surely in a squad of players you have people better suited to different roles.

We won 3-0. Barry played well. What's the problem?

Karl Masters
16 Posted 13/03/2017 at 06:09:42
Agree with James Marshall. People need to give the fella a chance.

Koeman got it wrong at Spurs and changed it too late, but spot on against WBA.

We all get it wrong sometimes, but overall he's getting it right. The big test for me is the three away games at Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal. All just above us and could be caught but we will need wins and draws in those games. Can he conjure that up?

Darren Hind
17 Posted 13/03/2017 at 06:25:44
"It beggars belief when you come on here that people are going mental without any foundation about team selection – even when we win 3-0"

"Going mental"? A tad dramatic, don't you think? They are questioning the wisdom of the selection and rightly so.

WBA have reached their target. They offered less than nothing and those suggesting Koeman got it right because we won are being a tad simplistic... Do you think we'd have lost if Holgate and Gana played? Who's to say we wouldn't have beaten them more handsomely if we'd have shown a little more adventure?

The result is not in question here, we got the three points, but please, somebody, explain the wisdom of bringing in two players with a combined age of going on 70?!?

This was not a Champions League Final, it wasn't a battle of wits between two master tacticians (clearly). It was however a fantastic opportunity to develop still further the so called "future plan".

Barry and Jags have been fantastic servants to this club and command huge respect... but barring injury, they should never be selected again. They have no part in our future.

I don't mind squad rotation, it's almost inevitable these days, but there are younger better options than Jags and Barry these days, players who we will depend upon when they are watching in their slippers.

The selection was as wrong as wrong can be. A comfortable win over a disinterested WBA will not alter the opinion of those who want to see more ambition.

Going mental? Hardly. Worried about the logic of the man in charge? Absolutely.

Jason Pullen
18 Posted 13/03/2017 at 06:48:08
Perhaps Ron saw an opportunity to give Barry some game time in case he needs him later in the season, and a little rest for Gana before he selects him for some of the bigger games to come? There is after all still a quarter of the season to go.

Maybe not, I don't know. But I'll reserve my judgment until I see the team named for those big away games coming up. No, I'm not excusing the side picked for Spurs, it was wrong. For WBA, I don't have any issue.

Dermot Byrne
19 Posted 13/03/2017 at 07:42:33
"...with a combined age of going on 70." A tired journo's trick to exaggerate a weak story/point.
Colin Glassar
20 Posted 13/03/2017 at 07:54:42
Some of the above comments certainly do "beggar belief". So now a manager cannot make decisions unless it's by some sort of consensus? This is not a democracy folks, he's paid to make those decisions like it or not.

I can't wait to see the debates over the new stadium once the design is revealed. I can just see all the armchair managers become instant architects, structural engineers and art critics amongst other things.

Tony Abrahams
21 Posted 13/03/2017 at 08:01:23
Darren would never get a job as a journalist, Dermot, because he tells it too much like how he sees it. I would love to hear him on the radio, if Lyndon and Michael, could sort out a TW Station, for the evening though, because that would be fucking hilarious!

I was listening to a few kopites yesterday, and one was saying that they have only got two big games left, against Man City and Everton. One of them said Everton's not really a hard match, and it got me quietly thinking.

The more I thought, I thought in spite of our clean sheets lately, we have not got a strong enough defensive pairing at the centre of our defence. Darren, I would also feel a lot more confident going to Anfield with Holgate playing, but maybe in a 3-man defence at the minute though?

John G Davies
22 Posted 13/03/2017 at 08:10:32
Barkley was MotM by a mile. Barry and Jags second and third on the list for me. Both had very good games.
Ian Jones
23 Posted 13/03/2017 at 08:17:52
I am sure if all the TWebbers were asked to pick a side and formation, there would be many differences in opinion and dozens of different teams, no doubt some based on our favourites.

I wasn't too happy when I saw Gareth Barry in the team. But a 3-0 suggests Koeman picked a team to deal with West Brom the best way possible.

As it happens, West Brom didn't do anything to suggest they were remotely interested in doing anything positive, but was that down to our formation and tactics on the day? Had we had a different set of players, West Brom may have upped their game.

On a different note, it was good to see many of their fans donating to Speedo Mick's causes.

Tony Sullivan
24 Posted 13/03/2017 at 10:49:51
If you use age as a criteria for selection, Ibrahimovic would never get a game.
Charles Barrow
25 Posted 13/03/2017 at 10:57:55
It seems strange that some contributors think it is not on to criticise or comment on Koeman's tactics or selection because 'he knows more about football than we do'. Surely the whole point of ToffeeWeb is for committed Evertonians to comment on all issues relevant to the club – including performance of the team and manager.

And another thing – many people thought the selection for the Chelsea game was a disaster waiting to happen and the same with the Spurs match. I only hope he's learnt from both those games when we play at Anfield!

James Marshall
26 Posted 13/03/2017 at 11:06:17
Mike @13 – that's exactly what I was talking about in regard to Gana and Barry – I completely agree with you, I just didn't word it the same way, having written all this at about 1am after working 14 hours straight!
James Marshall
27 Posted 13/03/2017 at 11:10:11
Can I also add, that a lot of comments on here only ever seem to talk about Everton, and the team selection, and rarely, if ever, seem to take into account the way the opposition are set up for any given game.

We got done by Chelsea, who are top of the league by 10 points.

Spurs beat us 3-2, and they're second.

I don't see these as good examples of Koeman 'getting it wrong' at all. I see those as examples of us being beaten by very good football teams. It happens, regardless of team selection.

This attitude existed under Martinez because his team selections were bizarre, and basically the same every week, including our shape – whereas we now have a good manager who picks the team according to the team we're up against and uses different formations – but he still get's castigated when we don't win.

You do the math.

Dermot Byrne
28 Posted 13/03/2017 at 11:50:47
"Do the maths." It's bloody "maths"

It's short for "mathematics" not "mathematic".

You do the semantics!

Dave Abrahams
29 Posted 13/03/2017 at 12:05:46
Charles (#25), I couldn't agree more, sensible and to the point, specially your very last sentence.
Peter Laing
30 Posted 13/03/2017 at 12:51:26
Too many balls back to the goalkeeper -– which I don't like. If ever there was a statement that the tactic used by our former manager has been well and truly expunged, that was it.

Jags has possibly taken longer to get with the programme but we looked much more secure than with Funes Mori partnering Williams. Fresh legs needed for next season, no doubt – Keane or Van Dijk would do for me.

Paul Hughes
31 Posted 13/03/2017 at 13:20:16
Gareth Barry continues to defy logic...his brain is miles ahead of his legs, therefore he can see issues, gaps, and potential in both our attacks and defence and deal with them unflustered. Jags is just solid but, between them, age is indeed catching up quicker than any of us would wish.

However, having seen Funes Mori close up on Saturday, I was taken aback at how poor he is. He shied away from several 50-50 challenges which is inexcusable whatever position a defender plays. Just on those 45 minutes, I would certainly be looking to ship him out soonest.

Putting Jags in over Funes Mori, was indeed the right decision by Koeman and I hope we can develop or buy in the summer to cover Baines and eventually replace.

Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 13/03/2017 at 14:13:31
James (#26 & #27), fair enough. But a manager is always going to be castigated when we lose... comes with the territory.

Darren (#17), no, I don't think we'd have lost to WBA if Barry or Jags hadn't played. But I also don't think Barry's presence cost us the Spurs game – too many other factors. And in the middle of a final run for a Champions League place, I have zero interest in seeing Koeman pick a lineup based on the "future plan" whatever that is.

The "ambition" I care about is winning this game now. He named Jags and Barry because he thought they were among the best 11 to win, and he was... to put it as you did... as right as right could be.

I expect to see both in the lineup again vs Hull but neither at Anfield or Old Trafford.

Steve Ferns
33 Posted 13/03/2017 at 14:53:02
I think I said this elsewhere, but Koeman got it spot on. I was very surprised to see he went with what he did, and thought Gueye would play and try and unsettle WBA. However, Barry was the right choice with hindsight. Gueye could have done a job and done a job well, but Barry did it better.

WBA are a team of big ugly Grocks. They can't run fast or for long, which is why they waste time from the first minute (I really couldn't believe that) to try and ensure their stamina levels aren't flagging at the end. This meant Barry's were lasting longer.

They are as organised and as disciplined a team as you will ever see. Everytime we got the ball, they snapped immediately into shape and got 11 behind the ball. This meant that we struggled to get through them. Gueye is not the man to do this. For all his vast credible attributes, clever incisive passing is not one of them. Likewise, West Brom are not the team to expose Barry's flaws, so it made perfect sense to play him.

What I am unsure of though is Tom Davies's role. He played the Number 10 position, and not very well, with Barkley to his right. I would have thought this would be the other way round.

My best guess is that Davies ran around trying to close them down and slowed them down with getting the ball forward quickly.

I fully expect a similar side against Hull, but they do have some pace upfront, no Niasse though, so should we not look to play Holgate alongside Jags or Williams, assuming Funes Mori plays left back? Midfield I'd put Gueye back in for Barry and leave Davies where he is to get at Huddlestone.

James Marshall
34 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:01:08
Mike – we didn't lose, and he's still having his team selection picked apart. People look for flaws even when there aren't any!

Dermot – you do the math – I was taking the piss.

Ciarán McGlone
35 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:18:41
James,

Quick question: What's your thoughts on Koeman's decision to play Gana in an advanced midfield role when he was brought on?

Ciarán McGlone
36 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:20:02
Or playing Davies up top as well?

Are these not worthy of comment or discussion?

Michael Kenrick
37 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:34:01
I must admit I was really disappointed with Tom Davies on Saturday. I was really wishing him to do better with every touch of the ball, but it just wasn't happening for him. That, or the West Brom players were too effective at closing him down and he doesn't have the experience yet to handle the stronger Premier League defences.

Barkley was fractionally less hesitant on the ball, and the chipped cross on to Lukaku's head was simply brilliant. I gave him an assist for the first goal too – it was great to see him shooting a little more from around the edge of the box – but we kknow he can still do far better than what we saw.

Shane Corcoran
38 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:53:13
Dermot (#28), can't 'math' be short for 'mathematics' too? Do we need the letter S at the end? Maybe putting a period (:-)) after the H would be sufficient.

I'd play Jagielka ahead of the other two. He can pass better than Funes Mori and I think he's a better defender than Williams, apart from constantly giving penalties away of course.

Gana was poor the previous week and deserved to be dropped.

John G Davies
39 Posted 13/03/2017 at 15:55:39
Michael (#37)

I agree Tom looked a little off the pace. It has been coming for the last couple of games. A young lad who potentially will be a top player. It happens to them all at that age; he needs a break.

Anto Byrne
40 Posted 13/03/2017 at 16:31:04
Squad rotation is good keeps players happy. Barkley is becoming a complete player under Koeman, working hard, grafting and tackles.... If we lose Rom, well, we always have Niasse.
Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:31:31
Michael (#37), it's very much to be expected that an 18-year-old kid would go off the boil somewhat after a string of games like this. I was actually impressed with how well he showed for passes, coming back to the ball... made himself readily available. But you're right that he wasn't able to accomplish anything with his touches.

I wouldn't mind a bit seeing him benched for the Hull game. Two weeks off would help him recover mentally and physically to get ready for Anfield and Old Trafford.

Tony Abrahams
42 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:33:34
I was more disappointed with the role Tom Davies was being asked to play, Michael, because I think he's looked much better running from deep, rather than being asked to play in such an advanced position, when he's still adjusting to senior football. (Something I don't think he's got the experience for just yet.)

He was everywhere the ball had just been at times, but never let his head go down once, which helped me learn a lot about the kid on Saturday.

I'm glad you said that Ross Barkley, was fractionally less hesitant though, because in-spite of all the plaudits he received this weekend, he will only start to become a really great player when he starts driving forward constantly and really attacks the space.

Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:40:42
Agree with you about Jagielka being our best defender, Shane, but it's definitely the main area of the pitch we need to really improve though.

Also, good point about resting Davies, and letting him replenish himself for the Liverpool game, Mike, but I do think he might get selected for one of the England squads though.

John Wilson
44 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:45:32
Tony Abrahams, you don't need to use so many commas if your sentence flows well without them. Reading your sentences is like reading in a car but going over speed bumps, ie, the break in the flow. Commas are supposed to indicate a pause or to separate a sub-clause.
Tony Abrahams
45 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:53:56
I was useless at English, John, too busy thinking about football in those days to be honest but thanks for the pointer though mate.
Dermot Byrne
46 Posted 13/03/2017 at 17:56:46
Shane (#38): that is outrageous and funny! It is a linguistic slippery slope to "do the m".

Then we will spend all our days trying to guess what the author meant from the thousands of options available. Then there are legal issues if the m is mole and the inevitable involvement of of radical animal rights activists.

Then this unsatisfactory situation could lead to middle-aged men breaking into the mambo which could lead to acute embarrassment and possibly relationships breakdowns across the English speaking world. Have I gone off topic for a m'ment?

Jeff Armstrong
49 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:12:20
Anyone remember Tim Vickery's opinion of Funes Mori when he first signed? He got slaughtered on here...

How opinions change. If Vickery ever offers opinions on unknown South Americans in future, maybe we should cut him a bit of slack.

Barry Jones
50 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:16:56
Tony (#21). So the Kopites think that we will be easy meat? On current form, this is a game that we can definitely win. I saw Liverpool play against Burnley yesterday and they were dreadful and they were not good value for the points.

Burnley were able to take the game to them and bullied them across the pitch. If we can adopt a similar approach, coupled with our better quality and ability to find the net, we can win this match.

John Wilson
51 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:19:37
Dermot at (#28): "You do the mathematics" doesn't sound right unless one's name is Tristan and speaks as though there were a plum in his mouth. "You do the math," at least sounds okay. "You do the maths," where 'maths' is short for mathematics...

Sorry, I've just died of boredom and can't finish my train of thought. No, what I meant is that I can't be arsed.

Dermot Byrne
52 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:22:58
Barry (#50). I so hope you are right but Liverpool seem to raise their game for big matches. Then there is the fact it is away, the likelihood the ref will be on their side, and finally there is some kind of weird celestial force that means we will bravely lose again.

Even if we won the title by 20 points and the Champions League, I would not expect a derby win any more.

Dermot Byrne
53 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:26:11
Well what the fuck did you reply for, John (#51)?
John Wilson
54 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:35:37
Dermot, outrageously funny may have been better grammar in your post above, if one were being concise.

On the math point, I replied because I did actually endeavour to engage with your trivial point but unfortunately trivialities aren't really for me.

Persons who generally swear without due cause are 'said' to be either emotionally impaired, or are not exactly equipped to benefit a sufficient / decent vocabulary. *I retract this immediate statement in any event.*

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:42:44
Bit like me with English, John? But I always enjoyed maths though!

Barry, it was only one man, mate, and he was possibly trying to dig me out, but I just started thinking about my own team instead. For what it's worth, Liverpool have impressed me with their workrate at times this season, but we showed in the first half at Goodison that, if you can match them for this, then it usually takes them out of their stride.

I don't like Liverpool, always want them to lose, but even if they did, it won't make Everton any better (although I do know we'd all feel much better!) and that is were my main concern lies.

Barry Jones
56 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:50:55
Dermot, Tony, I have a feeling that the celestial forces will be on our side this year (along with the wisdom of Mr Koeman). I think we can win this one. I hope not to have egg on face in a couple of weeks.
John Wilson
57 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:53:10
Nah, Tony, actually your English is quite good. The problem is that your many commas just make it difficult for reading purposes. Oh, ignore me anyway. I am just painfully bored as am doing (or supposed to be doing) a uni assignment. It could be argued that this person (ie me) could be/ has been/ will be sarcastic from time to time but he herein will neither confirm nor deny.

*Caveat: no harm intended, or if any person were to take offence, this author shall limit his liability albeit with a vie to settle out of court as there's no legal aid, owing to the Tory shower's drastic cuts.*

Dermot Byrne
58 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:53:32
John, the swearing was to reassure you after your Tristan quip. Hey ho, just some fun despite you not being arsed! Now enough from me and you on this. We have clearly different mindsets on what is trivia...
Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 13/03/2017 at 18:56:21
Trivialities aren't really for you, John, is this why you aren't talking footy mate?
John Wilson
60 Posted 13/03/2017 at 19:11:46
I don't mind football but using 'Everton' and 'football' in the same sentence, in my view is a nothing short of a dangerous allegation.
James Lauwervine
61 Posted 13/03/2017 at 19:53:45
Tony (#55). You say 'I don't like Liverpool'. My goodness, whatever next on here!?
Tony Abrahams
62 Posted 13/03/2017 at 20:26:51
I would be surprised if anyone on ToffeeWeb liked Liverpool, James, but that wasn't my point, mate.
Mick Davies
63 Posted 13/03/2017 at 20:31:58
Phil @ 15. You win leagues with a settled side playing your best players. I don't remember Kendall dropping Reid because he wasn't intelligent enough for certain games... ridiculous idea.

Barry has the record number of yellow cards for a reason – he's too slow for the modern game.

Chris Gould
64 Posted 13/03/2017 at 20:32:37
You do realise, John, that if you're going to call somebody out on their grammar, then yours had better be spot on.

You'd better edit post #60.

Chris Gould
65 Posted 13/03/2017 at 20:45:37
Mick, you win leagues by beating teams. We did that and Barry played very well. It's ridiculous to argue that he shouldn't have played.

Koeman played him for the reasons he outlined and it worked. Every team rotates the odd player on occasions. It was a tactical decision and we won 3-0.

Some people just seem impossible to please.

Darren Hind
66 Posted 13/03/2017 at 20:51:13
" ...with a combined age of going on 70" A tired journos trick to exaggerate a weak story/point"

Well that's a load off. When I pressed the send button, I thought somebody was going to accuse me of stating the blindingly obvious.

Mick Davies
67 Posted 14/03/2017 at 01:52:36
Chris @ 65,

We aren't involved in any other competitions, and Gana has missed a month away at AFCON, so keeping up his fitness levels and reacquainting him with his team mates is much more important than letting Barry amass more yellows before he retires.

Are you trying to say we couldn't beat WBA without Barry? Stupid suggestion. Everyone moaned (rightly) about Martinez changing the team every week, and disrupting momentum, and now they think 'The Dutch Messiah' is a genius because we beat a shit side at home, who incidentally were beaten by lowly Palace at their own ground last week.

I couldn't give a shit if Barry never played for us again, he's far past his best, and after Spurs, should never be picked ahead of any squad member with two working legs.

James Lauwervine
68 Posted 14/03/2017 at 09:21:15
Tony I've read your post a few times and your point seems to be that even if we beat Liverpool it doesn't make us any better, and this concerns you. Can't say I understand that really but maybe I am indeed missing the point.

Anyway, I just enjoyed reading the comment "I don't like Liverpool" on here. A case of understating the obvious. :)

Eddie Dunn
69 Posted 14/03/2017 at 09:33:56
Michael (#37). I think that the big, strong Baggies players were a tad too powerful for our young lad. He was left on his arse on two or three occasions. It's a learning curve, but his performances so far have been so promising that a drop-off against such brutes is excusable.

It is becoming clear though, that we will need a big centre half and another striker (perhaps Niasse?) to be able to progress next season.

Daniel Lim
70 Posted 14/03/2017 at 10:48:42
Can we have a rule here that the word "Niasse" is prohibited unless it is a thread about "Niasse"?

I don't know how good or how bad he is, but it was a joke at the very beginning (the weekend when Everton won three matches: Everton, Everton B and him against the dark side) and now I feel sleepy when I see the name... zzz...

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 14/03/2017 at 11:06:49
Ask John to explain, James, he seems to understand English better than you and me!

I said, if Liverpool lost every week, it wouldn't make Everton any better, although it would make us Blues feel a lot better.

The only thing that can make us better is ourselves, and that's why I'm more concerned about our own players, and hopefully replacing the ones who aren't good enough to take us up to the next level, if that makes more sense?

James Lauwervine
72 Posted 14/03/2017 at 13:18:29
Fair enough, Tony. Yes, it would indeed make us feel better (it certainly has in the past) but you are of course correct that it's our players that matter. It feels to me like we are on a trajectory of gradual improvement now, though that could be set back by losing a few key players in the summer.

Referencing the earlier discussion about how we might fare on April 1st, I have absolutely no expectation or hope that we will win. For almost as long as I can remember, it has been one painful horror after another (with some very rare exceptions). But I suppose it is actually in some sense 'possible' we could win. We won't though.

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