When Will This Nightmare End?

Tough times and choppy waters ahead. Who would you want to steer this ship?

Paul Traill 20/01/2015 33comments  |  Jump to last

"We'll win our next three," I boldly stated in the pub pre-game. "Win tonight, beat Palace then beat Liverpool. We can win our next three". I don't quite know what I was thinking. I can only assume I'd gotten a bit carried away by the last couple of performances against Manchester City and West Ham Utd as playing like we did tonight, it's difficult to see how we can beat anybody. The only way is down at the moment.

Still we started well enough. OK, it was pass-pass-pass but we weren't doing badly in terms of keeping the ball, dominating the game and having a few pop-shots at goal from distance - it's difficult to play when you have 10 men in front of you. I was reasonably encouraged though as the half continued we became more predictable and, discouraged by the cold Goodison air as we reached 40 minutes I felt that nothing could be worse than watching more of this and so made the rare decision to join Gary for a beer at the break.

No sooner had I ordered a couple of beers when a meek cheer sounded from upstairs. Word quickly filtered around that Everton had a penalty, but with people now running back upstairs and cramming the stairwells, I had no choice but to stand and wait with the two beers whilst Gary was in the toilet.

Downstairs, and with Goodison Park no longer showing the football on the TV downstairs, I just had to wait to discover what happened. It seemed to take forever but in the end the groan from the crowd and anguish on people's faces as they walked back down the stairs told me all I needed to know. We'd missed the penalty. I assumed it was Baines who had missed but word filtered around it was Mirallas. I was told first he'd put it wide, and then later that it was easily saved though in fact it apparently hit the post.

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Gary and I were incredulous when we heard Baines hadn't taken the penalty. Given the position we are in we can't afford to pass up golden opportunities like that. We were chatting to Stu (who had seen the penalty) at the break and he spoke of a more palpable disharmony in the squad with the pre-penalty discussion between Baines and Mirallas not looking so good. "We need a big half here" I said. "Especially from Mirallas"...

Apparently not as Kevin Mirallas didn't even make it out for the second half, thus sparking all sorts of rumours about him not even going into the dressing room at the break. What actually happened there is anyone's guess but I wished I'd shared that cab home with Mirallas. The second half was poor. Dire. OK West Brom came for the draw and got it (no shots on goal tells its own story) but we barely tested Ben Foster all game, let alone all half.

We are just so predictable to play against and it must be a dream for managers to come up against Everton at the moment. I think we're almost gotten so used to this rubbish now that barely anybody could be bothered booing at full time. We were just hopeless.

So what happens next? Game by game the pressure mounts on Martinez but what on earth is the solution? Sack him and who do we bring in? Besides which he only signed a five year contract back in the summer so it's not like he'll be cheap to remove, and there's not exactly a plethora of manages out there who we can replace him with. Furthermore, should we survive (and I think we will as we're probably lucky enough to have enough teams worse than us in the league), then where do you start with the clean up job this summer? Too many players are too old and one of our best players wants out. Bringing in a ton of replacements at once doesn't work either as the bedding in process takes too long.

Tough times and choppy waters ahead. Who would you want to steer this ship?

Player Ratings
Robles: Nothing to do at all. 6
Baines: Showed responsibility but not exactly great and he even did an air-shot near the end. I didn't see the penalty but he should have made it his. 6
Stones: Showed good responsibility bringing the ball forward and looked comfortable in defence, albeit against a non-existent attack. 7
Jagielka: Nothing special really. 6
Coleman: Was trying to get forward and kept on doing so but had the same problem that has plagued him all season - no winger support. 6
Barry: Some poor passes at times but showed more responsibility than most I dare say. 6
Besic: Definitely our best player even if over-elaborate at times. Was sacrificed for Kone as we chased the game. My man of the match. 7
Barkley: Poor but come on, lets cut the lad some slack. His confidence is shot to pieces. It's almost as if everyone can't wait for him to make a mistake so they can yell at him.It's not going to help him. He needs our support and encouragement more than ever. 5
Mirallas: I didn't see the penalty but I saw him do nothing before that. I wonder i if he will be in the team next game after tonight. Seems to be a problem in the dressing room there to me...all just speculation from my part of course. 4
Naismith: Had a bit of a nightmare but effort there as always. 6
Lukaku: Didn't show enough which was particularly disappointing after his improvement over the last couple of games. 5

Oviedo (for Mirallas): Effort was there. Get him playing every week. Shows much more heart than most, maybe all other than Naismith. 7
Kone (for Besic): Poor. I was screaming for him to come on but he offered little and looked unfit. 5

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Reader Comments (33)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:27:28
'Who will rid me of this turbulent Priest' might be a better title Paul
Tim Greeley
2 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:19:17
We won 1-0 on a penalty!!! YAYYYYYY. Said the Liverpool fan. In Oslo.

Leave it to Everton to not only FUCKING MISS our penalty, but somehow also turn it into frontpage news cuz the cool lunch table (just Kev) pulled rank on the nerds (all players here more than a season and a half) and in doing so pour gallons more pressure on the entire machine.

Id play a 1 8-2 verse Palace and shove their shit covered cocks right back up their own assholes.
Coleman - Stones - Jags - Distin - Alka - Garbutt - Baines - Oviedo
Naismith - Lukaku

Send the entire sport back 50 years just like Mourhinho likes. Probably win too. Distin header from 60 yards.

Ernie Baywood
3 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:39:35
Picking three left backs and playing them all in midfield is pretty innovative.
Roman Sidey
4 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:37:27
Few hours gone and I've no other summary than what transpired tonight was a shambles and a complete culmination of the 21 matches that preceded it (Europa performances against Wolfsburg have been the only real joys this season).

Basically, one of two things are going to happen from this point on: it's either going to get slightly better, or a whole lot worse.

On your player ratings, most are pretty spot on but I've always had problems with 1-10 scores as some people think that 5 is the starting position. 0 should be, and Kone shouldn't have gotten off his duck tonight.

I put forward the idea of going to a binary system. 1s and 0s. At this stage in the season, the players either do the job or they don't.

Joe Doakes
5 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:16:16
The much-maligned Pulis has joined a lengthy and growing list of managers to expose Roberto. The latter’s tactical shortcomings were clearly evident. That assistant of his who said it was a waste of training time to practice free kicks and corners should be taken behind the stand and given a damn good kicking.

Our lack of a proper captain does not help. Anichebe was no better or worse than what we expected yet he he was a street ahead of Lukaku who was totally dominated by Lescott.

Gary Cargill
6 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:46:54
The nightmare will never end if our minds are not right. You can’t change skill level really but you can always change mentality and we don’t have that strong enough in the coaching set up.

The tail is wagging the dog. The penalty thing proved it. We have lost order and, when order is lost, the mob rules. End of days, I’m afraid.

Victor Jones
7 Posted 20/01/2015 at 02:37:59
The nightmare I fear is only just beginning. A dogs of war approach is now needed. But of course Martinez won’t adapt to any particular game or tactic. Does he ever study the opposition. Because if he does, he doesn’t seem to ever change his approach. Would love a manager at Everton who could chop and change to suit a particular game. FFS even Sam Alardyce has managed that recently. Martinez has to take control. Tough decisions are ahead and I just don’t think Martinez has a clue. He might get lucky, but that’s all it will be, but right now I would take anything. Even a large slice of luck. Anything. A break, a win, Anything.

I read earlier that it would take far to much to pay Martinez’s contract up should Everton let him go. Who cares. We found the money for Lukaku, we can find the money to let Martinez go. Before he drags us into the abyss.

Who do we bring in? Well, how about Big Joe Royle, Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Sheedy. And were is Tim Cahill these days? Davie Weir, Andy Gary... all Everton men. Let’s rally the troops. Can any of them be worse than the coaching crap we brought in from bloody Wigan?

ps: I forgot to say that I would give Martinez the Palace game to try and turn this around. And yes, I realise that is only one game. But TBH he’s already had far to much time. And I for one cannot stomach much more.

Victor Jones
8 Posted 20/01/2015 at 03:05:25
I just read the 1-8-2 line up. Now normally that would be a very tight match and we would come away with a 0-0 draw. But this is Everton.

Coleman would score a screamer of an own goal. And Alcaraz would get in the way of Jagielka who then trips over Stones and Puncheon then nips in and scores.

Martinez will then instruct his defence to keep the ball and pass it amongst themselves about 800 times. And then claim in the after-match interview that Everton controlled the game.

Utter nonsense I know. You couldn’t make it up. Just like this match tonight and just like this season.

Harold Matthews
9 Posted 20/01/2015 at 03:18:27
Better teams than us would have come unstuck against that Pulis organized parked bus. Gardiner, Yacob and Morrison were impregnable in midfield and we didn't have the craft, guile or pace to go round them.

What's with Coleman and his reluctance to cross the ball till he comes to a stop and tries to dribble the fullback? What's with all these slow motion triangles which never go anywhere? What's with all the crap corners and freekicks and never winning a header. Andy Johnson used to dart forward and flick on the low corners. What's wrong with doing it today?

Such a pity Barkley is not a striker. 6'-2", two good feet, brilliant ball control, tremendous shot and loves to score goals. Top players in his favoured position, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas, Mata and Cazorla are all small and nippy. Low centre of gravity and difficult to mark. Not surprised our boy is finding life difficult.

Rick Tarleton
10 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:18:00
If Baines a senior player and Jagielka as captain are not strong enough to say who takes a penalty, then ego-ridden idiots like Mirallas will continue to make stupid, selfish decisions. Martinez has built a team in which, there is no confidence and no leadership.Barkley 's confidence is shattered, he ran sideways and passed backwards.
Only Stones who has not been playing gave a glimmer of his ability. Baines and Coleman no longer attempt to go down the outside, so their crosses come in at forty-five degrees, a gift to defenders.
Like most I thought the City and West Ham displays marked a change, I was wrong.
Mike Price
11 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:38:22
I know the outcome was shocking but I think Mirallas was trying to be a leader and step up to the plate in a crisis.

It was the wrong way to do it, and a horrific result, but he's one of the few in this shambles with any fire in his belly and we all make mistakes with the best of intentions.

The manager and team are a shambolic mess. The obvious problem seems to be the manager but I'm still struggling, like Bill must be, to come to terms with how wrong we appear to have been.

I can't believe, a year on, that I would be relieved to hear that Joe Royle was caretaker to the end of the season. That's not a sleight on Joe, who is much loved in this house, but a terrified vote of no confidence to Martinez. If nothing changes we are getting relegated.

Guy Hastings
12 Posted 20/01/2015 at 06:37:16
I'm so fed up with this 'lack of confidence' crap as an excuse for the performances of poor wee Barkley. If you don't have the confidence at his age to match the so-called talent then you never will. I've yet to see one game where he's thought 'Right, this is mine. I'm in charge' and run the show for 90 minutes. A showboat volley here, and an occasional surging 15 yard run there doesn't make him the second coming of Wayne Rooney. The second coming of Michael Branch, maybe.
As for Lukaku, I don't know where to begin, but to be fair, neither does he. His first touch is lamentable, there's no movement in the box, he fails to have any understanding of the offside law and for a lad of his size I'd back Peppa Pig against him in a 50-50. Either his coaching at FF is way off the mark or he simply forgets/doesn't care when he gets on the park itself. I'm beginning to suspect the latter. He looks as though he doesn't want to be there but as Barcelona/R Madrid/Melchester Rovers didn't come in for him during the summer and place him on the global stage where he obviously believes he should be then he needs to get real and start doing his job.
Paul Andrews
13 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:03:19
Mike Price,

I blamed Mirallas last night at first, and still think the designated penalty taker should step forward. In saying that, I looked again on the TV: on second look, I think Mirallas may have seen the team were very nervous and took the responsibility away from Baines.

Emotions running high last night and I agree Jags should have got involved, imagine the pressure on Baines if Jags had stepped in and took the ball off Mirallas.

One thing it does show, though, is that the player was not worried about the consequences from the manager. That’s not a good situation.

Ralph Basnett
14 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:08:40
The answer is simple, after we have been annihilated in the derby, Blue Bill gives RM the boards vote of confidence!!!!!

He would deserve more time if it looked like he was trying to solve the team’s problems... but he isn’t.

Allan Board
15 Posted 20/01/2015 at 07:52:06
Our club is now officially a SHAMBLES! Poorly run, terrible manager, disgusting attitude by the coaches toward the basics of football. Players who are deliberately ignoring protocol and doing there own thing,the thick fuckers don’t even realise or care that this penalty debacle is COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL.

The manager and his staff are fucking the club over. They behave like pretentious pricks who have got "a master plan" of "ground breaking football". These wankers are nothing more than "clipboard coaches" who know fuck all.

Football’s an easy game ruined by arseholes like Martinez and Jones. They have destroyed this team’s ethics and now you have mutiny. Mirallas should have been told to "fuck off" by the Captain and the ball given to fella whose job it is. Some fucking captain!

Relegation would be CATASTROPHIC for this club!!!!!!!!!!!!

Phil Walling
16 Posted 20/01/2015 at 08:53:47
Lukaku is featured today as one of 'The Telegraph's' 10 most expensive transfers between EPL teams.

Really ? You'd have been hard pressed to pick him out last night. I'd give him 4.

Ian Jones
17 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:10:24
Sorry to question the mark given to Robles.

Only given 6 yet 'Nothing to do at all'

West Brom obviously knew the type of goalkeeper they were up against, so didn't bother with any shots on target for him to save...I would have given him a 10!

Xavier Spencer
18 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:18:17
Mike#11 - I'm sorry but Mirallas is a self-interested shit house of the highest order. He has spent most of the season agitating for a move to a Champions league team. I'd fuck him off right now. Last night's penalty incident summed the club up at the moment. A complete lack of leadership. Instead of Jags, Barry or Martinez stepping in and telling Mirallas to fuck right off, Barry was looking the other way, Jags was doing his laces and Martinez was talking to Stones!!! Fucking bottle merchants. Only two players performed last night. Stones (how long before he gets dragged down like everyone else) and Besic who for some unknown reason was substituted. It was fucking infuriating. We were clueless. Ross is going backwards with every game. I don't know what he's supposed to be doing and by the looks of it neither does he. Lukaku didn't win one header against Lescott. Not one. We now face the prospect of another three league games in which I think we odds against to get a win. Kenwright has been very very quiet. He must see what we all see and that's a hapless captain at the helm of a sinking ship. Fuck me the whole thing is maddening. I keep thinking it can't get any worse but it does.
Anthony Hughes
19 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:06:28
Not picking on Lukaku as bar Besic not of one of them did themselves justice but for such a big beast of a centre forward he is hopeless in the air and gets bullied by centre halves. He doesn't have a first touch to speak of or any real finesse so he should be a big horrible nasty bastard up front but he appears to lack any real aggression in his game.
David Morgan
20 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:32:14
I would stick with Martinez, but he needs to cut the bullshit and toughen up a bit. His players are going to get him sacked. First thing you need to do when you are in the shit is get rid of players who don't want to play for Everton like Mirallas, no-one should play for Everton who's heart isn't in it. At least fellow shit-houses, Fellaini, Lescott and Arteta only pissed and moaned two minutes before they went. Mirallas is being a big time charlie 6 months or even 18 months before he is going to leave, take his power off him and sell him in this window. Anyone else who wants to give us demands before they will play should go too.

Pulis' players "put their lives on the line" (a bit over the top) but how many were doing that for us last night? I agree with Martinez for once, we are lacking an Osman or Pienaar type player, just not them two. We need to sign a young athletic version of those, a number 10 who can split open defence's with their passing. And a new right winger is a must, speed and skill needed.

Springer's final thought: Do we really need two defensive midfielders when the other team have no attack? Could we not just push them up 30 yards into Midfield and let stones and Jagielka bring every ball out of defence.

Harold Matthews
21 Posted 20/01/2015 at 09:24:43
Talking about Ross earlier on, I forgot about big guys like Ya Ya and Matic. Unfortunately our lad will never have their tough, mean, ruthless streak and many fans seem to think he worries about his damaged leg.

Personally, I'm with Guy #12 who doesn't go with the lack of confidence thing. All I see a lack of real effort and mobility, making it easy for defenders to mark him. Let's see a bit of speed and aggression off the ball, darting here and there, regaining possession or screaming for a pass.

The same goes for the other big fella up front. Okay, the possession game doesn't suit the way he plays but he should be winning headers and flattening people. Can't talk about his touch. It's embarrassing.

Also find it difficult to talk about Coleman who insists on trying to dribble the fullback and refuses to cross the ball till all the defenders are in position. It's all a bit tricky. With McGeady in front of him Seamus raises his game but most fans don't want McGeady on the pitch.

With Eto'o on his way, Ossie and Pienaar out, we are left without a football brain in the final third. That said, even Lionel Messi would have trouble trying to play one-twos with Mirallis, Lukaku and Naismith.

Barry Sherlock
22 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:28:32

Good article. Some good posts above. Too much being said about the Penalty so I won't bother mentioning it any further.

I do agree with most of what you have written, apart from "we are lucky enough to have enough worse teams than us in the league". So we are staying up?
Who are those worse teams?
WBA are below us - AT THE MOMENT (new manager changes that).
Palace are below us - AT THE MOMENT (again new manager).
Hull? I saw a lot of fight from them the other day. They have been unlucky.
QPR? New signing could well be iminent. Which could well change their fortunes.
Leicester? Anyone remember the 2-2 at the start of the season?
Burnley? Going on a bit of a run recently. They also show a lot fo fight and "togetherness"....

As is written in the arcticle we have become very predicable to PL teams. Everyone knows what to expect.
To be tactically out thought by Fat Sam Aladyce is testamount to how easy it is to defend against us.
The fact that we kept a clean sheet for the first time since the 1995 cup final does not give us reason to cheer.
We need 3 points and quickly.

Barry Sherlock
23 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:56:33
"Guy 12"
I loved the "the second coming of Michael Branch, maybe"
"As for Lukaku, I don't know where to begin, but to be fair, neither does he..."
Made me laugh. And today I really thought that wasn't possible.
Milos Milenkovic
24 Posted 20/01/2015 at 10:54:34
Moment when Mirallas limped off against United last season was the moment when we lost Champions League place. He is our most dangerous player, he had desire to win, he is not satisfied with average performace. His act of last night was seen many times before by strikers (Sturridge against us last season), but that doesn't mean they are not thinking about their teams.
Couple of days earlier KM was talking about advise from his dad that he should score more goals. I saw his action as a great desire to make his and Everton's season successful.
Reaction that we should sell him is ridiculous and certainly against interest of EFC.
Tony Marsh
25 Posted 20/01/2015 at 12:49:53
The whole saga surrounding the penalty is a joke.

I’ve said it now for ages that our players are just too nice. Baines just gave his duties up and walked away from Mirallas when the spot kick was awarded. Imagine Big Dunc or Sharpie giving up the ball like that!

Even Coleman stayed on his feet when fouled on the edge of the box. WHY, FFS? This can’t be allowed to go on. It’s Poodles against Pitbulls every time we play now. We get hassled and bullied and kicked and we take it on the chin no problem. Where is the fight? Where are the dirty tricks every other team employs?

When will we ever take a corner properly? I can see it now in the derby next month. Liverpool twatting us at Goodison, sending us into the bottom 3 and Gerrard getting a brace to say goodbye with...

I cant take any more, being so fucking nice. It makes me sick.

Brian Hill
26 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:36:51
Barry @22&23, no shit, you know the rest. Apologies. Harold, your continued defence of McGeady is admirable, but, I believe, misguided. If you have access to complete games then please watch him closely. He contributes nothing. If you are ever in Cape Town it would be my absolute delight to buy you the drink of your choice.
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 20/01/2015 at 14:47:22
Lukaku could have learned from Anichebe last night, wasn't great but fought for every ball, won most of his battles and gave the ball to his players,never gave up.

Lukaku went back to the way he was three games ago, static, looking at the sky every time the attack broke down, anticipated nothing and fought for nothing.

Bill Gall
28 Posted 20/01/2015 at 18:12:58
We have a major problem at the club that starts at the very top the Chairman. Most people are of the opinion that he will not fire Martinez because of what it may cost.

Saying that we will not get relegated as we have to good a team no longer cuts it for me. Relying on teams below us to loose should not even be a problem that a club of Evertons stature should even think about but now we are.

If the disaster happened that Everton were relegated what would happen then.According to D.Whelan Martinez told him he did not think he was the right person to get them out of the championship after they were relegated. This comment to me shows the type of character Mr.Martinez is,after getting the club relegated he did not believe he was good enough to get them promoted.So I have my fingers,hands and knees crossed that B.K.shows some backbone to stop a major disaster happening to Everton F.C. It will cost a lot more getting relegated than settling a contract.

If Martinez were to be fired (and I do not think he will )the problem is with over half the season gone who do you bring in ? Do you bring in someone on a temporary basis till the end of the season ? or do you look for someone that you are confident that can move the club foreward by checking his background to ensure he is capable and has the necessary qualifacations and experience to be a winner in the premier league. IMO our chairman hired the last 2 managers on reccomedations from other people.

Anthony Hanlon
29 Posted 20/01/2015 at 19:09:23
With Everton heading out to the Middle East for a jolly (sorry, warm weather training) – the reward for losing in the cup against West Ham – it is obvious that Kenwright has no intention of replacing Martinez so it is futile to keep banging on about sacking him; we are stuck with him till the summer at least.

If Martinez boards the plane Wednesday, there will be no managerial replacement this season.

Clive Rogers
30 Posted 21/01/2015 at 15:54:53

Have you been watching Naismith? He is plodding about in 1st gear and never gets a tackle in. He has stopped tracking back. He has 2 goals in the last five months and not one assist all season in all competitions. His control is awful, his passing dreadful and never has a shot on goal.

Wonder why we are not doing well?

Clive Rogers
31 Posted 21/01/2015 at 16:03:45
Oh and it was his lousy penalty that cost us the cup tie.
Barry Sherlock
32 Posted 22/01/2015 at 11:08:59
Tony Marsh 25,

Big Dunc NEVER took a penalty in a shoot out for Everton even when he was our CAPTAIN.... He actually only ever took ONE penalty and missed it!

I understand the example you are trying to make that Big Dunc is a strong character but, to me, Big Dunc never had the bottle to take one. He couldn't face letting the fans down.

Where as, both Baines and Mirallas had the balls to step up. From my point of view, I believe Baines knows the pressure and nerves involved with taking a penalty, especially at nil-nil. I believe he stepped aside because he wanted to ease the pressure that Mirallas was in fact putting himself under. It all just backfired – badly.

Baines is a great player for us. Just because he is not very confrontational doesn't make him any less of a player IMHO. It was Mirallas's mistake. In the end it cost us 2 points.

Harold Matthews
33 Posted 22/01/2015 at 10:19:04
Cheers Brian mate. Last time I was in Cape Town was during the Suez crisis and we couldn't use the canal. Sailed back from the nuclear tests with a few RAF mates in the guise of Government Officials and had a great time. Of course South Africa was not a very nice place back then but I managed to purchase several sheets of rock and roll music which I gave to the ship's orchestra. Oh boy, we rocked all the way home.

As for McGeady. I know he drives everyone crackers but he does work well with Coleman. Mirallas prefers the left so the Geads is our only right winger. Despite frequently losing possession, he is quick to seize on to loose balls in the final third and help set up chances. It was he who used his speed to latch onto the ball before feeding Coleman who hit the bar.

Unlike Super Kev, who we know is different class, he will continually track back and helped snuff out Nasri in the Man City game. Actually, many considered him to be our best player for 45 minutes. He did a brainless thing in the 2nd half but, like a few our lads, he's not too bright. One thing is certain. We missed him against the Baggies.

He's not a favourite of mine. Far from it. I hate seeing professionals give the ball away. I occasionally support him because fans like Paul Dark & Co give him dogs abuse before a ball is kicked and worse offenders get away scot free. Baines complained about the lack of quality in the final third the other day and he wasn't pointing a finger at McGeady because the lad was suspended. Okay, we would prefer someone with more quality but players like Barkley are not busting a gut and Nais and Rom are making me cringe.

A sorry mess. We have 8 or 9 lads worth hanging on to. The rest are just not good enough. Yes, McGeady is in the latter bunch but, till we find a replacement, he's our only natural right winger.

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