Fury, injustice and deja-vu as another win goes begging

Everton came within seconds of a season-igniting victory at Stamford Bridge but were denied by horrendous officiating that will ensure that what was already an extraordinary game of football will live long in the memory.

Lyndon Lloyd 16/01/2016 68comments  |  Jump to last
Chelsea 3-3 Everton

Seldom has a draw felt like such a crushing defeat.Everton came within seconds of a season-igniting victory at Stamford Bridge, their first in the Premier League there since Joe Royles second game in charge 22 years ago, but were denied by horrendous officiating that will ensure that what was already an extraordinary game of football will live long in the memory.

It will stick in the craw of supporters, players and manager alike with equal longevity, too. Chelsea were on the brink of another damaging defeat in their train-wreck of a season but were afforded an extra minute beyond the seven indicated by fourth official Craig Pawson (apparently at the prompting of Guus Hiddink) with which to plunder a heartbreaking equaliser from a clearly offside position.The goal was allowed to stand and referee Mike Jones blew the whistle immediately afterwards, leaving Roberto Martinez as angry as Evertonians have seen him in front of the cameras after the match.

Describing the lack of a decision for offside as horrific and diabolical, the manager probably didnt go as far as many fans would have wanted him to FA fine be damned! as he took issue with the fact that stoppage time was allowed to bleed on, seemingly until Chelsea got the second equaliser they were desperately seeking.

And yet there was still something inevitable about the last-gasp insult inflicted on the travelling Blues who witnessed what was, in terms of the twists and turns in the scoreline, a carbon copy of the calamity at Bournemouth at the end of November. Having not learned from that bitter experience one that seemed to reverberate through four of the next five Premier League games in which points were dropped either from positions of strength or when the Toffees were leading Martinezs men were doomed to repeat it, giving up a 2-0 advantage, grabbing back the lead at the death and then allowing precious seconds of added time(80 of them in this case) to build as they celebrated wildly with their jubilant fans.

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What unfolded at the end of an eighth minute of stoppage time was cruel beyond belief for the third season running they conceded a crucial goal at Stamford Bridge at the last but Everton were perhaps guilty of making their own bad luck by not pulling everybody back, keeping hold of the ball while they had it and seeing the game out. Gerard Deulofeus decision not to turn away from Kenedy and pass backwards but to try and take him on was punished by the Brazilian whose lofted ball eventually ended with John Terry it f**king had to be him, didnt it? stealing in to flick home Chelseas third, despite being a yard offside from Oscars nod forward.

It was the last act of a contest packed full of incident. Coming off the back of two creditable draws against Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League, ones defined by new-found defensive organisation in a team that has become infamous for its generosity at the back, and a win over the Citizens in the League Cup, Everton looked by the time an hour had elapsed to have played this game masterfully.

They had more than matched their supposedly superior hosts in the first half, carving out two clear-cut chances to Chelseas one, saved well by Tim Howard from Willian, and were it not for a wayward first-time shot by stand-in right back, Bryan Oviedo, and an excellent save by Thibault Courtois to deny the recalled Kevin Mirallas who turned his marker beautifully and smacked a shot from 20-plus yards, Martinezs side might have gone into the interval a goal to the good.

They were rewarded for their adventure just five minutes into the second period, however, when strong play and a lay-off by Romelu Lukaku to Leighton Baines ended with the left back searching the Belgian out with a wicked low cross that Terry inadvertently turned into his own net.

It could have been 2-0 just three minutes later when Ross Barkley, who had displayed strength and impressive close control all game up to that point, popped up in the opposition box on the end of Mirallass neat pass but smashed a left-foot shot off the outside of the post.

Sensing blood, Everton remained on the offensive, though, and doubled their lead with fine goal just three minutes after that. Baines was again the provider with a low ball that this time he delivered behind Lukaku where Mirallas took one touch to hold off his marker before lashing it past his compatriot in the Chelsea goal to make it 2-0.

Unfortunately, the second goal had the effect of stirring the hornets nest and Hiddinks men responded strongly with a series of raids down the Blues right targeting the perceived weak link of Oviedo playing out of position at right back. Cesc Fabregass looping flick was pawed away by Howard and Phil Jagielka blocked a shot from Willian as Chelsea pressed but it was a more agricultural route and another blunder by the American that yielded the hosts first goal.

Fabregas lofted a ball over Jagielkas head that was almost impossible to defend for the Everton skipper as it bounced beyond him and Diego Costa took advantage with a well-time shoulder barge to knock the defender off his stride. Howard had hared beyond his 18-yard box but missed the ball completely as the striker prodded it through his legs and Costa had the simple task of banging it into the empty net.

Less than two minutes later, it was 2-2 as the Blues lost their composure and fell into disarray. Twice they gifted Chelsea possession from the kick off, allowing the home side to build in possession and Fabregas wasnt tracked as he latched onto Costas backheel in the Everton box. Fortune would favour the Spanish midfielder, though, who benefited from a heavy deflection off Muhamed Besic as his shot flew past the helpless Howard.

It was to Evertons credit, however, that while they went to pieces to a degree in an unsettling period of 15 minutes following the hour mark, during which they lost Oviedo to injury, introduced Ramiro Funes Mori and moved Stones to right back, they were able to keep the score level heading into the final quarter of an hour. It was a close-run thing, though, as Costa passed up a gilt-edged chance served up byCésar Azpilicueta, mis-kicking in front of goal from six-yards out, while Mirallas spurned a wonderful chance at the other end when put clean through as he fired straight at Courtois.

And then came the drama Deulofeu, on for Aaron Lennon in a double switch that had also seen Barkley replaced by Steven Pienaar, played one of his sublime, jabbed crosses towards Lukaku but the covering defender knocked it behind. The resulting corner was cleared straight back to the Spanish winger who curled a delicious ball to the back post, where both Lukaku and Funes Mori were lurking, and the Argentine leapt to turn it home almost on the line with the outside of his right boot.

Cue wild celebrations with the Everton fans massed away to the left of goal in which Funes Mori leapt into the first row of seats to be mobbed by jubilant Blues, one of which took his protective headband. Tellingly, however, it would be another minute and 20 seconds before play resumed which, when added to the time to be added for injuries to Oviedo the Costa Rican was eventually stretchered off Costa and the various substitutions, would prove crucial almost eight minutes later.Having repelled the Londoners stubbornly in the interim and with their fans whistling desperately for the final whistle, Everton were almost home and dry when the ball was cleared to Deulofeu with 97 minutes and 50 seconds on the clock but his instinct to keep attacking would be his downfall.

Taken in isolation, this was a thrilling game of football decided by a horrendous refereeing decision where Everton were desperately unlucky not to win. They were undone initially by poor defending and a loss of composure that contributed to them giving up another 2-0 lead but, just as at the Vitality Stadium, having regained the lead they simply had to see the game out. As has been the case on far too many occasions this season, they couldnt and it cost them two more important points.

And therein lies the rub: As heartbreaking as the result was and as much as the sense of injustice burns, this game can't be taken in isolation. It represents the latest instance of alitany of dropped points and another of a dwindling number of opportunities missed to start bridging the points gap to top the four. The Champions League may have been a fanciful notion to some Evertonians this term but where there was opportunity, there was hope hope that was strengthened somewhat by what appeared to be a more balanced approach by Martinez since the New Year.

Those few swallows have yet to make a summer, however. There was a feeling that had Ramiro Funes Moris goal proved to be the winner, it could have been a real catalyst for the second half of Evertons season. By the same token, there was a nagging sense that it might have papered over the cracks a little and perhaps masked uncertainty both over Martinezs ability to manage games from winning positions and his idealistic aversion to running the clock down to preserve a win.

The upshot is that we are still waiting for concrete evidence of progress under this manager while we face the reality that European qualification looks beyond a team that has won just six games out of 22 so far. Hope springs eternal where the cups are concerned and that may prove to be the lifeline in terms of time Martinez needs to continue into next season, but another mid-table finish in the Premier League with the amount talent he has assembled in this squad would only leave question marks over his ability to take Everton forward.

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Helen Mallon
1 Posted 16/01/2016 at 23:01:01
I was there today and we only have ourselves to blame really. Jags should have headed that long ball and not let it bounce. But what cost us was DelBoy not knocking the ball into the corner and wasting time, he was tackled and a long ball killed us off again. This time, Martinez cannot be blamed.
Jim Bennings
2 Posted 16/01/2016 at 23:39:01
Totally crushing game that could really destroy our season (have we really recovered from doing the same at Bournemouth?).

I agree with Helen, we only have ourselves to blame, we should have seen the game out at 2-0 with savvy but a total comedy cock up from arguably the masters of it, Howard and Jagielka got Chelsea back into a game they were out of at that point.

Our lack of knowhow this season when seeing games out has been a major glaring problem and over the last 12 month's the amount of goals we have conceded has been alarming.

I truly take nothing but pain from today's game, yet another depressing draw against the poorest Chelsea team I've seen for years bereft of confidence.

The fact is we have won just THREE league games since mid September, you can't really keep blaming bad luck for that, a one off would be bad luck but now it's just plain disorganization and a failure to learn from these so-called lessons.

Paul Goodchild
3 Posted 16/01/2016 at 23:53:11
I did not think that I could feel any worse than I did after the Stoke game, but there you go. We have to take at least 9 points out of the next 4 games before we go to Anfield.

Mirallas and Besic were 2 of our best players today and should now get an extended run in the team. I am not sure it will happen though. I think he may well start with Kone and McCarthy against Swansea.
Dave Hall
4 Posted 16/01/2016 at 00:05:02
Summed it up perfectly, Lyndon. One of your best. This draw feels like losing 3-0 with all of our insecurities as the culprits – naive, spineless underachievers.

I love this team, and the talent that the manager has assembled is, for me, the work of an absolute top team-builder... but his naivete and this team's capitulation has also made me feel ever more like a masochist. Bloody awful.

Alison Stokes
5 Posted 17/01/2016 at 00:55:24
Yet another frustrating day to be an Evertonian!
Their third goal was an awful decision but we should not be relying on officials making correct calls. We were once again two goals up and could not win the game.

For their third we lost three headers in succession. I will say that again, THREE headers. Not good enough. I won’t even mention their first as I am still sitting in a dark room trying to recover from it.
Terry White
6 Posted 17/01/2016 at 02:10:44
In hindsight it’s easy to make observations and comments. I feel we defended the final free kick too deep on the penalty spot. If we had held the line at the edge of the penalty area and the kick came in over that line Howard has the space in front of him to come for the ball.

As it was the kick came in from the half way line and only reached the edge of the area, Funes Mori had to come out of the defence to belatedly challenge Mikel for the header and got there too late. Besic was left to go up with Ivanovich and then with Funes Mori out Jags was at the wrong angle to go for the ball Oscar headed on. We know what happened next.

Dick Fearon
7 Posted 17/01/2016 at 03:48:08
Lyndon, as usual that was excellent factual report. The Chelsea debacle clearly showed that ’this manager’ is tactically naiive. We were winning by two clear goals when Guus Hiddink made his move. He brought on Oscar to replace Matic, then he had Fabregas whose forte is long accurate passes to play cross the half-way line.

At that point, Martinez completely lost the plot and he had no answer to Hiddink’s ploy. It was clear that, the longer the game went, the more surely we were done for.

Ryan Sydow
9 Posted 17/01/2016 at 05:01:56
We are playing some pretty attractive football and I constantly have to remind myself to stop getting nervous and shouting "get rid" when we have the ball at our feet at the back. It comes from years of not having "footballers" in our team!

So, whilst the title is gone, Europe is still a possibility but I for one am happy to give them time to let project "play like Brazil" take shape. But not too long, please, chaps because the top players would have left by then...

Derek Thomas
10 Posted 17/01/2016 at 05:16:45
Ryan; just as long as we don't do what the real Brazil did and get done for 7 in a big game...maybe we need somebody to turn us into project 'Play like Germany'
Darren Hind
11 Posted 17/01/2016 at 07:26:44
As "Morning after" reads go, this one was almost too painful to get through. Your vivid description of the despair Evertonians are feeling has made me realise this one is going to take a long time to get over.

Regarding our goalkeeper, I blamed him straight after the game; we were in control of this game before his brainstorm. When a goalie races 20 yards off his line, he has quite simple GOT to get there. I can't think of a more catastrophic error of judgement a goalkeeper can make than to leave an empty net.

However, like you, I exonerated Jagielka when I first saw the goal; I too thought the pass was too good to defend... but, having seen the goal a dozen times now, I have changed my view.

Our skipper misjudged the flight of the ball, he found himself caught between two stools. I still can't forgive Howard for his brainless charge out, nor can I forgive his lack of bravery when he got there... that swipe at nothing? Aarrrggghhh.

I'm not sure it's worth discussing the decision to keep the flag down for Terry's goal. I think Roberto's observations are incontestable, made all the more sickening by Terry's all to predictable "Who cares?" attitude. It makes me want to repeatedly punch his ugly face. I have never been a violent man, so I need to rid myself of such dark thoughts.

It's this time added-on lark that stopped me getting much sleep last night. If we are to give any credibility to the argument that "celebration time" needs to be added to what is already been added... why did neither referee add another minute after the Bournemouth or Chelsea celebrations? They both blew up straight after the kick-off, yet the gobshite Terry's celebrations were almost identical to Funes Mori's.

Paul Tran
12 Posted 17/01/2016 at 08:34:17
The morning after, I'm only going to blame Martinez for playing Howard and not playing Funes Mori.

Funes Mori is our best defender, Robles is our least bad keeper. Both bought by Martinez, both dropped by Martinez.

The wonderful, fabulous, trophyless senior pros he inherited, the ones with a record of choking, are the ones who continually let us down and then talk 'honestly' to the press afterwards. They're the one with the experience, who should know how to 'manage' a game.

There's plenty to criticise Martinez for, but I'm not convinced it's his fault that these experienced players go missing when it matters, like they often did under his predecessor, when we lost plenty of leads at the end of games.

He's got to start playing the good players he's bought and realise that these 'legends' are good players that go missing when it matters.

Stephen Brown
13 Posted 17/01/2016 at 08:35:15
Outstanding report, Lyndon. Last night I felt terrible! This morning I’m more optimistic that the cups are there to salvage this season!
Helen Mallon
14 Posted 17/01/2016 at 08:42:44
Paul Tran that is the best post I have read yet. You are so right: Jags and Howard have always had that mentality. Once again, well said.
Martin Mason
15 Posted 17/01/2016 at 09:21:00
Disappointing but completely self-inflicted. The inability to react to opposition changes, inability to change to a holding formation and lastly the unprofessional celebrations after the late goals; 4 points that has cost in 2 games.

Otherwise, it was a pretty good performance.

Ian McDowell
16 Posted 17/01/2016 at 09:37:53
It's all down to mentality. We seem to be okay when there is no pressure/expectation on us and this is going back some years now. Failure to win at Anfield against some of the poorest LFC sides in history. Cup final and semi-finals where we just capitulated after leading. Palace at home in 2013 when 4th place was up for grabs. You could go on.

I didn’t see the game yesterday but I've just seen the highlights. Looks like we played some cracking football and it just shows how far we have come to have gone to Man City and Chelsea, got 2 points and be disappointed.

The first goal for Chelsea is the key one. At 2-0 down, it gives you such a lift to pull a goal back straight away. Jags and Howard made a complete mess of routine ball and all of a sudden momentum swung the other way.

The Man City away game in the League Cup will tell us if this team has what it takes, or will always be bottlers.

John Jones
17 Posted 17/01/2016 at 09:48:57
People are saying that you cannot blame Martinez for the draw and not seeing the game out.

Okay, the Terry goal was criminal. However, Martinez said this after the game:

"We want to be a brave team and win games by not running the clock down or playing with aspects that aren’t what we want to be."

If that comment doesn’t make you as angry as the Terry goal, I don’t know what will. He is basically saying that he will never manage the game to make sure we win. You cannot defend that comment. The guy is a idiot. MANAGE THE GAME AND WIN, FFS.

He reminds me off a Jehovah Witness I was married to a few years back. Every reasonable argument you put forward about, yes there is a high power but they still believed in the unbelievable aspect that every word in the bible was written by God, even though the book of Peter was written 120 years after Jesus died. Martinez is the football Equivalent of a Jehovah's Witness and will never change.

Also, I have read on other websites, people slagging off Barkley, which I cannot get my head around. He was brilliant against Chelsea. Some of his passes didn’t come off but a least he is trying them and not going backwards. Also, he made Matic, a £26M player, look that bad Hiddink pulled him off. Obi Mikel could not handle his power. If Mike Jones had any balls at least one of them would have been off for the amount of fouls they committed on Barkley alone.

For me, unless Martinez brings in a defensive coach, nothing will change.

David Flanagan
18 Posted 17/01/2016 at 09:53:18
We don’t learn but the most worrying thing is that the manager doesn't want to learn. He treats us like his pet project to show the world how football should be played and doesn’t seem to believe that results matter. I’ve never bought into it and I have countless arguments with people at the game who seem to think everything is great.

Expectation amongst the fans has fallen to accept top 8 or even top half over the last 2 seasons. Top 6 every year wasn’t acceptable towards the end of the previous manger’s reign, so why is this now?

Any manager in the Premier League could have us no worse than where he has us; he’s not good enough, never has been and never will be.

Andrew Clare
19 Posted 17/01/2016 at 09:55:16
We are an exciting work in progress. We now look like we can beat anyone. We have exciting young players and a manager with an attacking philosophy. What more could we want? It will happen – just be patient.
Tony Marsh
20 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:09:30
What the fuck was Tim Howard doing for their second goal? If Howard decided he needed to rush 20 yards off his line to come for the ball then he must win the ball. He jumps out of the way and lets them in. If he stays put he has a chance to save the effort coming at him.

MotD reckons the extra time added to the ludicrous already added 7 minutes was due to player celebration after our 3rd goal. It's the same thing that happened at Bournemouth. We can't blame Martinez for that. Why is it we seem to get massive amounts of injury time added to our games when we are ahead? I mean 7 minutes is a fucking joke in the first place... Having said that we definetly got out of jail at Man City on Wednesday night.

Our season, as far as 4th place is concerned, is now over but we are not that far away in terms of matching the so-called big boys. As frustrating as this season has been, we have outplayed every team we have come up against so far.A little bit of fine tuning and a small slice of luck and we could be going places... Oh and if bent fucking officials stop singling us out for special treatment most weekends.

David Flanagan
21 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:10:19
Andrew (#19)... "What more could we want?"

I know... how about winning a game occasionally. one win in nine... six all season.

Some good football but too much poor defending and questionable tactics.

Kieran Fitzgerald
22 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:11:15
Three goals in five games now for Mirallas in all competitions. Looks like he is forcing his way into Martinez's plans, whether Martinez likes it or not.

Ian @16, that is just what I was thinking as I watched the second half. As soon as our second goal went in we stopped playing. It was as if fear took over. We just feel apart. We didn't start to play again until their second goal went in.

Andrew, yes we are a work in progress. But it seems to be one step forward, one step backwards. We did well against City in both games, then feel apart completely yesterday.

Chris Leyland
23 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:20:09
Andrew Clare: "We now look like we can beat anyone." – It is just a shame that we can’t actually beat anyone in real life.

You tell us to be patient. How much patience do we need?

1 win in 10; 6 wins all season all against bottom half teams; 18 wins in 60 games since the start of 2014-15. Unacceptable.

"What more could we want?" you ask. How about winning a few more games? How about constantly not turning wins into draws? How about the occasional bit of pragmatism form the manager to avoid this from happening? How about actually learning from the same things happening week after week rather than spouting bullshit in interviews after every game?

Paul Goodchild
24 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:21:18
It is both an exciting and extremely frustrating time to be an Evertonian. We have drawn at Chelsea and Man City, beaten City and drawn at home to Spurs.

Although our league position belies it, I honestly feel that there isn’t a team in the Premier League who is that much better than us. There also isn’t a team playing better football. The problem is repeated errors at the back and poor decisions by the manager, mainly with regard to substitutions but also not ignoring player selections.

If Martinez swallowed his pride and employed the services of a top defensive coach and we could keep all these players for the 2016-17 season, then we could be really onto something here. I fear though at least Lukaku and Stones will be off. How the £80 million is spent will be the key.

Peter Mills
25 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:23:39
I didn’t see the game, I was driving home from Sheffield, listening to BBC Sport. When we 2-0 up my wife said "That’s good", I muttered "There’s a long way to go yet".

When word of Funes Mori’s goal came through, she was celebrating for us, but I said "This isn’t over yet, we have no character".

If I’m thinking like that, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone, I wonder how many of the players were thinking the same thing? Where are the winners in our team? The manager is the one who must dictate the mentality of the players, of the club, and he is not instilling a winning mentality.

Jeff Hughes
26 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:24:39
I don’t really want to pile added pressure on Howard as he has been a loyal servant and a good shot-stopper but the club really do need to seek a replacement. As Lyndon suggests, the first Chelsea goal shows exactly why.

Howard made the decision to come off his line but tried to tackle Costa with his legs. Any coach would tell a goalkeeper to try to smother the forward by using his upper body, the biggest surface area, and the safest way to ensure the ball doesn’t end up in the net. Why didn’t he do this? He lacks confidence and bottle to be exact.

This also explains why he doesn’t command his area and why he leaves our defenders often in two minds as to how to deal with dangerous balls into the box. The fans are angry because they see that this team is not far short of being a top four side and a team to be proud of but we need to stop leaking goals and our biggest weakness at present is Tim.

Ian Hollingworth
27 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:27:40
I fear that the Capital One Cup is masking the real issues. If we get to the final, we will be on a high and shocking league results will not seem so bad. That will sound familiar to Wigan fans, I guess... 6, yes SIX wins out of 22 league games with this squad is criminal and the buck stops with the manager.

What was Howard doing for the first Chelsea goal? Yes, Jags should have done better but Howard rushed out 20 yards needlessly and then missed the ball, leaving Costa with an open goal. This then unsettles the team and Chelsea take the upper hand.

Martinez's career at Everton could rest on the cup semi-final as, if we lose, the focus will turn on the poor league results. Finishing in the bottom half of the table is not good enough for Everton FC and it will not be good enough for some of our talented players.

Sadly I still fear that one day this incompetent manager will one day take us down.

Christopher Timmins
28 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:30:22
Everton FC are now a soft touch and every team that plays against us knows that, if they keep going, there is a possibility that we will crack. Yesterday was all of our own making up to the point that the ball was flicked on to Terry. There is no law against our defenders getting their respective heads on the ball. The Cup tie in 10 days time now becomes our most important game in the month of January.

Things in football become habit forming, winning, losing, drawing, going 2-0 up, letting it slip, going 3-2 up in injury time and letting it slip!

Howard out; Stones out, for big money, let him go on the 31st if we get daft money for him and we don’t make the Cup Final.

Martinez... Someone said that Funes Mori might be our best defender in an earlier post; let's hope the training staff don’t knock that out of him!

Lee Hind
29 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:31:38
Some of the hyperbole about this result is quite funny to read.

We went away, to the Champions, held them for a half then took the game to them and built a lead. As expected, they came back at us and got level. We took the lead again.

After that, what happened was poor officiating and I’m not about to seek out reasons why piss poor officiating is Martinez’s or his players' fault.

We were robbed today.

Jim Bennings
30 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:36:43
To be be honest, once Martinez has reflected on the game and after his initial major criticism of that ref, which was justified, he will look back and again realise that each of the goals we gave away were very very cheap, that professional defending would have prevented.

The first, the mix up between the two longest-serving men at the club, the most experienced Everton players was absolutely criminal, a cardinal sin at 2-0 up and I’d be forcing both Jagielka and Howard to watch it on DVD replays all week.

The second, we can say was unlucky, deflected, but really Fabregas should have been prevented from walking the ball into a shooting position and again, Tim Howard was poorly positioned, too far off his line if you watch again.

The third Chelsea goal, okay, yes, no disputing it’s offside... but the goal didn’t come from a fantastic cross, it came from a nothing long high ball that we had THREE cracks at clearing with our heads but lost each aerial duel; win one of those then we are not talking about the offside goal.

In the summer of 2014, after finishing 5th and narrowly missing the Champions League, Martinez should have broken the bank to sign a top class goalkeeper, maybe Jack Butland, and then got the man mountain that is Ryan Shawcross, or even tried to get an experienced strong man on a 3-year deal like Robert Huth for example.

I will never ever feel safe defensively with Martinez here as manager, though, when all is said and done.

Paul Smith
31 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:54:23
Sat in work at 2-0, I wasn’t convinced we would see it out. At 2-2, I thought we would nick another one... we did. At 3-2 with minutes left, I thought they would equalise... they did.

This team is good; thing is, they don’t believe it. Absolute fear sets in when they feel they might reach their potential.

From reading TW for months, we are either on the cusp of greatness or relegation. The stat men amongst us point out our win ratio, others point to the exhilarating football we are witnessing... Well, if we don’t develop & learn from our negative experiences, the stat men will win out.

Patrick Murphy
32 Posted 17/01/2016 at 10:54:49
Lee (#29),

Ordinarily, your assessment would be about right, but at this moment Chelsea, whilst improving, are not unbeatable. WBA got a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge earlier in the week and they came from behind to do so.

Also Everton have ’form’ for this type of thing in the recent past and that is down to the attitude of the players; perhaps they care too much and allow their emotions to undermine their professionalism, as the celebrations of the third goal exemplify.

It’s not the single result that is hurting some Evertonians – it’s the failure to gain the amount of points that some of the good football has deserved. But all the good football in the world will not guarantee the points – even from seemingly insurmountable positions – if the team continue to lose the plot and stop doing the basics on such a regular basis.

Howard Kendall Mk1 would have gone ballistic if Everton had lost a two-goal lead unless there was a decent reason for doing so... eg, reduced to ten men etc. Mr Martinez should focus on the reasons why it happened yesterday or at Bournemouth and to a lesser extent at home to Stoke City. If he doesn’t fully investigate why it happened, he will never find the solutions to prevent it happening in the future.

Unless we go 2-0 up in the final minute of added time, Evertonians will never be able to enjoy most of the good football due to the fear that Everton will let them down at some point in the game.

Mr Martinez often says that he or the team don’t look at the Premier League table... may I suggest that the hierarchy at the club make him study the table in their presence before and after every league game, and inform him that is the only thing that matters. Where you are in the league depends upon how many games you win: lots of wins near the top, few wins near the bottom – it’s simples!

A manager cannot be so silly as to totally ignore his team’s position in the table... can he?

Brent Stephens
33 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:02:46
At last the nonsense talk of possible 4th has ended. 5th probably requires an average of over 2 points per game to the end of the season.

I’m expecting we finish anywhere between, say, 7th and 11th. I’m hoping for:

1. Success in the Capital One Cup.
2. Good progress in the FA Cup.
3. Sustaining and developing further our very good attacking side.
4. Roberto "learning" to close a game out. (It’s actually not learning but stubbornness.)
5. Keeping our top players at the end of the season.
6. Development of some exciting potential in our U21s and recent signings.

Geoff Williams
34 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:05:40
What happens when goal celebrations are over the top is that players lose their concentration and it is very common for the opposition to score almost immediately. A more professional approach would be to keep the celebrations until the end of the game when the match is won.
John Jones
35 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:13:59
Patrick (#32),

Yes, he can, Since he has come to Everton, he has said that it's about the last 9 games.

Get as many points as you can then look at the table with 9 games to go... or some such shit.

People asking Everton fans to be patient – how can we? We have the best squad in years, we are mid-table and stats do not lie. How long are we going to be able to keep Lukaku, Barkley, Stones, Galloway, Deulofeu, Besic, McCarthy? Yes, we would get a hell of a lot of Money for them but how do you replace them?

Martinez is a Joke. He has said he will NOT see games out or run the clock down, even though, after all these years in the game, he cannot see that this is what all the top teams do, be it Barca, Man Utd (under Fergie), Chelsea... anyone that wins games, they all do it. They shut up shop and run the clock.

Who does he think he is? Is he better than managers that win games?

Rob Dolby
36 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:17:59
Roberto needs to swallow some pride and admit that we need to practice defending and off-the-ball positioning. It's happening too often to keep saying we are unlucky.

I love us going forward. We need to sack the current defensive coach, as he is obviously out of his depth, and bring someone in who can organise us. We are embarrassing without the ball.

Denis Richardson
37 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:29:23
I was at the game yesterday and, despite feeling gutted at the death, to be honest, overall, I don’t think either team did enough to win.

The first half was pretty dire to watch as far as the quality of football on show was concerned. I can only think of a couple of chances created by both teams in the whole half.

Second half had a bit of the Keystone Cops about it with both teams making basic errors and the goals flying in. The last-ditch goal was a kick in the teeth but we cannot blame the ref for the 8 mins of added time – we again celebrated our last goal for too long instead of concentrating and seeing the last few minutes out. Martinez can feel angry but the offside calls sometimes are wrong and sometimes right, we’ve also had a few calls go our way (Man City should have had a penalty on Wednesday night).

At the end of the day, it’s another draw and, had someone offered me two draws away to Man City and Chelsea back-to-back a week ago, I’d have probably take them. However, 11 draws in 22 games is now a bad habit. We may have made ourselves hard to beat but we also don’t seem to be able to win. 6 wins out of 22 games, 12 points out of the last 10 games = mid-table.

If we have ANY ambitions of finishing top 6 (top 4 sailed away a long time ago) we simply have to win our next two games against Swansea and Newcastle. Personally, I’ve already given up on the league; I’m just hoping we pull something off in the cups.

Brian Harrison
38 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:32:15
As I think Einstein said, if you keep doing the same thing then don't expect a different outcome. RM has told us often enough that he won't change his philosophy, which is to play an open passing game, whatever the score is. So losing late goals happens too often for it to be called unlucky. Even when we take a lead with minutes left, we know from past experience that the likelihood is that we will probably concede a late goal.

He doesn't even consider the thought of possibly employing a 4-5-1 strategy when leading with a 2-goal cushion. Had he done that, I doubt the punt upfield that lead to Costa's goal would not have happened.

They reckon you can't kid all of the people all of the time... well, RM seems to be doing it very nicely. As there are still posters who think he is doing a marvelous job.

He has got the best squad we have had in decades, and yes, a large part of that has been brought in by RM, but it also highlights his deficiencies as a manager.

I think it borders on criminal to have such a talented squad in the bottom half of the table.

Eddie Dunn
39 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:42:35
The big celebration that saw Funes Mori jump into the seating had unforeseen consequences. Not only did it cause Hiddink to ask for an extra minute or two, but Funes Mori lost his headband (or some scally swiped it; I saw a lad with it on his head), and a little later, as mentioned by Terry @6, Funes Moris came out to try to meet Mikel, but failed to get to him in time, and the move ended in Terry scoring.

In the preceding head-tennis, one of our best headers was missing his scar-protection. Our lines were not properly cleared, and we paid a high price.

Despite showing great determination to put things right after letting them back into the game, we contrived to give the opposition plenty of time and space to equalise. It seems that we don’t know when the game is over, and this tendency to over-celebrate is becoming ridiculous.

Concentration seems to evaporate along with our energy levels. Is it because we could no longer run in the last 20 minutes, that the game got so open? The fact that this has happened before suggests not only naivety (which I can forgive) but a lack of fitness too, which is unforgivable.

Man City besieged us in the last half-hour at The Etihad, but by hook or by crook, we held out, with lots of last-ditch blocks, some good saves, and a bit of fortune on the Stones lunge.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff in both games. We don’t know how to stifle the opposition further up the field. Deulofeu and Pienaar and a knackered Lukaku did little to help in that department. Defence starts with the attack, and we need everyone to do their bit.

Jim Bennings
40 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:50:51

The over celebrating when scoring in injury time has always been a problem; remember in 2008 against Aston Villa when Lescott scored a 92nd minute goal to make it 2-2 and within 40 seconds we got caught cold by Ashley Young and lost the match?.

If I was captain of Everton and after yesterday and Bournemouth I’d be saying:

"If anyone starts going over the top celebrating igniting the fans on the pitch, you’ll have me to answer to in that dressing room and I’ll personally hobble you."

That’s the type of leadership we lack, we need a big vocal hard man to sort out these repetitive errors.

Dave Williams
41 Posted 17/01/2016 at 11:53:18
I am with Andrew and Lee but Paul has it right about our experienced players. They have bottled it for years in big games and aren’t likely to change now.

Howard was praised for the Man City game in the week but his saves then were with his feet when other keepers would be diving forward to grab the ball with their arms. Feet first is dangerous because it puts the ball back into the area for attackers to follow up.

What I can’t understand is the guys who demand that the manager is sacked. I sat through the early seventies watching Darracott and MacLaughlin at full back, Seargeant at centre-half or left-back, Belfitt and Wright as a twin spearhead, and only the brilliant Howard Kendall kept us up.

We then had the team which had to keep us up in the last match of the HK Mk III season against Coventry which boasted Myhre, O’Kane, Short, Tyler, Farrelly and Madar. Anyone who was around to see those two teams has to admit that what we are seeing now is some wonderful football but mixed with dreadful defending.

When HK first took over as manager, he sorted the defence but the creative side of the team took more time. After we won the FA Cup, he made his two master buys in Van den Hauwe and Bracewell and suddenly the midfield was complete and the defence was a hard and athletic unit.

Roberto doesn’t help himself with what he says as it sounds like he is ignoring the obvious but this season we have seen huge improvement in Lukaku and Barkley with Deulofeu and Besic coming through. The keeper has to go and we still need a centre-back and striker and a wide left midfielder but I am happy to give him more time.

Alan Ball always said that we played better in 1968-69 and won nothing than in 1969-70 when we won the league and that was because our young players (it was a young side) grew up a bit and became more savvy. That said, we had hardened pros in that team like Whittle, Labone, West, Morrissey and Brown; any of those in this team now would have an absolute fit at us throwing goals away.

For me, next season is the time to judge as he will have had 3 years to get it right and the potential is there. I am not yet convinced that he won’t get it right but I have always been a "glass pretty much full" kinda guy!

Jamie Barlow
42 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:04:23
Firstly, anyone saying "we only have ourselves to blame" are taking the piss. Wind-up merchants looking for a moan. If you genuinely think that the officials had no part in this result, you haven’t got a clue what you’re watching.

Darren, nice to see you’ve had a change of heart for our first conceded and thanks for your reply on the OF. I too have seen it again and personally think Jagielka was more at fault than Howard but neither did themselves proud.

I know it’s frustrating watching us at the moment and there’s a lot of us wanting Martinez out but I think I’m in the same frame of mind as Andrew Clare. We are an exciting work in progress. Going forward we look great. Some of our football is fantastic. If we could somehow sort out our defence, we would be some team. We shouldn’t have to score three every game to get a result.

Maybe a little patience is needed while we’re still in two cups and have only been beaten 5 times, which is only bettered (is that a word) by 3 other teams.


Mark Tanton
43 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:13:58
You think people who are sick of seeing our beloved Blues throwing leads away almost every single week are wind-up merchants? You think the team should take no responsibility for yet another collapse, no matter the manner? Shame on you.
Eddie Dunn
44 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:14:12
Just watched the 5 minute highlights on EFC TV. Fabregas plays one over the top and Jags and Costa were neck and neck, so I can’t see why Howard came charging out. He even got that wrong as he had to pull out of the challenge as he realised he was outside of the box.

If he had waited, then Jags may have done enough to put Costa off, but even if Jags had lost out, Costa would still have had Howard either rushing out at him or at least in front of him. A bad mistake from the goalkeeper.

The second goal was from our right, which they had targeted all afternoon, and then they weren’t marked tightly enough in the box, nothing Howard could have done with the deflection.

The third, although offside, was down to ball-watching, and Funes Moris losing in the air to Mikel. Even so, I thought Baines should have done better next to Terry, and didn’t Howard get something on it? If he had come out quicker, he could have snaffled it.

Jamie Barlow
45 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:23:47
Is that post to me Mark? If it is, read my post again and stop making out I said things I didn't.
Dave Pritchard
46 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:32:46
I’m in agreement with those posters about the over-celebrating. I know that, in the heat of the moment, things happen but we should learn from past experience.

Although not in the last minute, against Stoke when we went 3-2 up there was over celebration with the back four jumping on each other in our own half after Funes Mori’s header.

On the subject of Funes Mori, I was very surprised he was dropped yesterday. I would have him in over Stones on current form.

Brian Swift
47 Posted 17/01/2016 at 12:54:23
The defending by this Everton side is beyond belief. Howard and Jags were justifiably to blame for the fiasco that ended in Costa scoring.

But John Stones has also to take a share of the blame. Two men would normally be left on the half way line to deal with Costa, Stones was caught too far up field leaving Jags on his own.

A half-hearted attempt to get back never materialized. A great player on the ball, a pleasure to watch. But he has a lot to learn about the art of defending.

David Hallwood
48 Posted 17/01/2016 at 13:34:01
Great report, Lyndon, and just about sums up how every blue is feeling. BTW gents, if you’re going to comment or reply to a post, could you put the number of the post so we can all follow.

Like most posters on here, I’ve been watching and playing football for a long time, and I must admit that I’m truly baffled by this Everton side. Is it 1984 (not in the Orwellian sense) and we’re on the verge of a golden dawn, or are we the Northwest equivalent of Spurs (circa 1990-2000), pretty to watch, but ultimately the recipients of golden showers.

The game was the match of the day on Sky, which to non-Brits; they show the game in its entirety, not just the highlights. And I’ve watched it 3 times once last night when I had my angry head on, and twice this morning when I was a bit more rational. Up to the Mirallas goal, we bossed the game and Chelsea didn’t get near us – then we stopped playing. It’s almost as if we panic when we’re 2-0 up and just want the game to be over. But the inability to get our noses in front, soak up pressure and hit them on the break to put the game to bed.

How many times have you seen the great Manchester United sides do that, or failing that, just keep playing the way you’re doing, à la the great Arsenal sides and just dominate the game. Because I believe we’ve got the team to do it. Yesterday when we had control up to the goal, it wasn’t gung-ho, all guns blazing, it was controlled football which we bossed the midfield even though they came into it when Matic went off.

One stat from a Sky pundit is since November we lost 11 points from winning positions, so it isn’t just goal celebrations or dodgy decisions by officials that are doing us (and on the dodgy decisions debate – swings and roundabouts, we got one for us on Wednesday, and one against yesterday). Perhaps Paul Tran (#12) has a point in that RM inherited a team of chokers and until it’s finally a team in his own image will we see the real Everton.

But I believe it is RM's football purist ideals that will prove his and our undoing. His managerial defensive record isn’t poor – it goes beyond that, and no side with the possible exception of Barca can hope to win anything leaking as many goals as his sides do.

Dave Williams (#41) posted about Kendall’s masterstroke of buying Bracewell & PsychoPat. Good point, but I’ll counter that by saying we’ve already got top drawer defenders; players that wouldn’t look out of place in any team in Europe, and yet we’ve leaked 37 goals in all competitions this season, and we’ve still got 4 months left to go – as I said, baffling.

So where do we go from here? I think the priority must be to tighten up at the back, a bit of Moyesesque squeezing the life out of the opposition wouldn’t go amiss from now until the end of the season. But RM must be living on borrowed time; because it isn’t just the perma-moan TWebbers that are saying we are underachieving, as opposed to a couple of seasons ago when it was plucky Everton punching above our weight – so I suppose it's progress of sorts. But we are at a crossroads, and even though I hate clubs that sack managers and RM has brought the squad age down and quality in... He’s got to go.

Paul Kelly
49 Posted 17/01/2016 at 13:51:11
Same old, same old... just a different week. Not far off the bottom now, are we? How much longer will this fool be allowed to turn us into Wigan 2.0? The transformation is almost complete though, isn’t it?

Even with a well-assembled squad, his shortcomings and tactical naivety are all there to see; he’ll never waste time and see out a game – the performance is more important than the result... just two utterings of verbal diarrhoea that should see him collect his P45.

Add the performances and the slow but inevitable slide down the table to this and I’m surprised there hasn’t been a public hanging (now there’s an idea).

Robert Workman
50 Posted 17/01/2016 at 14:20:01
97th minute comes up and I start shouting "Blow the whistle". From that moment, my main focus was on the referee. I kept up my mantra, only pausing to wonder why Deulofeu didn't move the ball forward and enter into a race with any defender.

I was apoplectic (I think) at the end, not realising that the goal was actually offside. That just made it worse. I had to go upstairs and explain my shouting to my wife. She calmly said "Can't the decision be overturned?" If only... This is English football, not Ice Hockey!

Finally, in response to all the calculations regarding the additional time, how about this. From what I remember, 3 substitutions were made at the same time. Is the 4th official really allowed to add on 90 seconds in such instances?

Sean Patton
51 Posted 17/01/2016 at 14:26:55
100% right, Jamie – there is no debate about the goal as it doesn’t count; in my mind, we won that game and I will count it as an away victory at the top 4.

Blaming Deulofeu or Jagielka or headbands being taken off is nonsensical, still these things even out over the course of a season, don’t they?

So I can't wait for the day Everton score an equaliser in the 8th minute of injury time from an offside position... no doubt on the same day that Lord Lucan wanders back home with a pint of milk in his hand saying "You won’t believe the queues at the corner shop."

Jonathan Miller
52 Posted 17/01/2016 at 14:27:36
So we have all lost patience with Howard I get that, but have we all lost patience full stop?

Those that questioned the ability of Lukaku (can’t hold the ball up), Deulofeu (show pony), Besic/Cleverley (not good enough), Barry (finished) have all gone quiet and been proved wrong.

There is no doubt Martinez has brought the best out of these players and has assembled the most exciting Everton squad in years. I hope the youngsters added to the squad recently together with Byram (fingers crossed) all go on and develop in to top Everton players.

When Martinez put pen to paper, I hoped he would be brave enough to change the way we played, which he did, and with undoubted initial success. Yet the long-term plan to rebuild with youth from the bottom up requires far more patience. I can see the plan blossoming, with flashes of brilliance opposed by the nativity of youth in our defending.

Replacing Martinez with a safe pair of hands who buys experienced old pros to see out a mid-table position is not what I want. I want to see young talented players pushing themselves to the limit, to be the best of the best, a team that plays on the front foot that says "We will score more than the opposition but will also defend."

So what has Martinez not done right yet? Defend. If Everton start defending properly surely this is already a top four side with so much more to come? Look at the positives, boys – things are not that bad, even in spite of John Terry’s offside goal.

Jim Bennings
53 Posted 17/01/2016 at 14:46:38

If we had initially defended a 2-0 lead with more professionalism, then it wouldn't just be in your mind that we won at Stamford Bridge.

The fact is, you can’t just keep throwing away good leads on a regular basis the way we do; you can never expect to win many games.

We can sit and bemoan bad luck but we had a chunk of luck on Wednesday evening when most referees would have pointed to the penalty spot on what was a clumsy attempt at a tackle by Stones.

We have also won just ONE game since November 20th with the goal coming with the last touch of the ball.

Blaming luck only holds water for so long; there are far deeper problems existing in the overall set-up at Everton this season than just bad luck!

Brent Stephens
54 Posted 17/01/2016 at 15:09:38
Robert #50 "From what I remember 3 substitutions were made at the same time. Is the 4th referee really allowed to add on 90 seconds in such instances?"

100 secs is what it actually took.

David Hallwood
55 Posted 17/01/2016 at 16:16:54
Good read and sums us up under RM. His post match comments defy description:

’We want to be a brave team and win games by not running the clock down or playing with aspects that aren’t what we want to be,’

Everton will continue to go from last-minute joy to despair and surrender leads if manager Roberto Martinez insists on playing pretty football over hitting Row Z.

Ray Said
56 Posted 17/01/2016 at 16:31:18
Just one point I want to make and that is Howard has always lacked a recognised goalkeeping technique and has relied on his (now faded) reflexes. This is an ever-increasing liability.
Paul Hughes
57 Posted 17/01/2016 at 17:35:51
Some people on here are saying "Give it time, it’s a work in progress" but do they not realise at the end of the season some of our best players will be sold?
Dave Abrahams
58 Posted 17/01/2016 at 18:38:45
That quote by Martinez, "We want to be a brave team and win games by not running the clock down or playing with aspects that aren’t what we want to be" will be as much quoted in the future as Moyes and his "It’s like taking a knife to a gunfight" – absolute rubbish.

On another point, in the last twelve games that Robles has played in the first team, Everton have lost once, and that was on penalties versus West Ham in the cup, according to a report in the Sunday Mail today.

Martin Mason
59 Posted 17/01/2016 at 18:51:09
Just watched Stoke vs Arsenal and can’t help but think that we should have offered anything to have got Petr Cech to Everton. Maybe he wouldn’t have left London but he could have made a new team out of us. Glen Johnson also would have been a good acquisition.

Stoke are a good side; if only we could buy their keeper Butland but not a chance.

William Cartwright
60 Posted 17/01/2016 at 18:55:53
There is a clear conspiracy to downgrade the status of Everton Football Club so as not to detract from the media darlings of the SK/ BBC and the International Footy Financial clique.

The same will happen to Leicester who you will find will have a run of bad decisions go against them towards the end of the season. Top 4 assured is Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd and Spurs / Redshites.

There is no way in the world that the Terry goal would have been allowed against any other team but Everton.

John Daley
61 Posted 17/01/2016 at 18:58:33
"...there is no debate about the goal as it doesn’t count; in my mind, we won that game and I will count it as an away victory at the top 4. Blaming Deulofeu or Jagielka or headbands being taken off is nonsensical."

So, pointing the finger at players who may have played a part in throwing away victory is nonsensical, but claiming the last goal doesn’t count and we actually won the game isn’t?

Sean Patton
62 Posted 17/01/2016 at 19:55:08
It’s about as sensible as justifying a draw was the right result, John.

I cannot comprehend how anyone can say the players were to blame for that end to the game yesterday. Throwing away a two-goal lead was the players' fault, no question, but after regaining the lead they did everything within the laws of the game to ensure victory and the ONLY reason they didn’t was because of the officials.

Ian Hollingworth
63 Posted 17/01/2016 at 20:23:30
Martinez says Howard’s experience is vital to the defence etc.

I ask just what does he bring to the party? We concede many many goals under this guy’s invaluable guidance.
Peter Cummings
64 Posted 17/01/2016 at 22:01:27
I didn’t get to see the game, only the highlights, but I’m just as devastated as those who were there to see another defending nightmare and yet another two points lost,

When I heard we were two-nil up, my reaction was not ’Fantastic’ but sadly ’Will this be Déjà Vu all over again?'... surely we won’t let this one get away. But this is not the Everton we have grown to trust so Déjà Vu it was.

I posted before the game that, if for once we put in a 90-minute shift, we could win, and by all accounts, that is exactly what the lads did... but, when you are up against 12 opponents and deplorable ’officiating’, the outcome is inevitable.

Having said that and after the shambles v Stoke, Bournemouth and Palace, the penchant for shooting ourselves in the feet is a major concern which simply can’t be tolerated anymore if we are to advance in cup an league competition. At present, it is more than likely probable that both a Europa League place and, if City turns us over in the other semi-final, only a good run in the FA Cup is left for us to go for. So, if we fail in any/all of these, it’s season over and another (possible) mid-table finish. Lord Bless Us Every One.

Peter Carpenter
65 Posted 18/01/2016 at 09:36:24
The article in the Mail Online sums it up perfectly -

Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 18/01/2016 at 09:54:34
David 48, I think your post gives us a lot of food for thought, and I agree with everything your saying. Except the last sentence, about Martinez having to go. Not saying your wrong, but after everything else you have said, I just think it would be better to wait until the end of this season to decide.

As Tony Marsh said, we have actually outplayed most teams this season, so not everything is as bad as it sometimes seems.

Dave 58, absolute rubbish, but a lot more admirable. Let's hope he was just uttering his usual old bollocks, because we can't believe everything he says!

Philip Yensen
67 Posted 18/01/2016 at 16:50:25
Lets hope for a late winning goal and NOT celebrate, just go back to our half and get crazy after the final whistle. We all know now that refs will add time on for our opponents.

One more thing that gets me: Why do players shake hands with a bent official after the have just picked our pockets?

Time for a time keeper who decides the time to be added and has direct contact with officials and the whistle should be blown regardless of where the action is.

Finally, would that extra added time have been added if that was Chelsea celebrating... NO!

Michael Polley
68 Posted 18/01/2016 at 20:54:09
Bring Moyes in as a Defensive coach!!!
Laurie Hartley
69 Posted 19/01/2016 at 05:19:25
Michael # 68 - you are having a laugh aren't you? It's bad enough as it is at the moment with:

Sack him
Keep him
I don't know what to do with him (me)

Could you imagine what it would be like with Martinez AND Moyes on the touch line:-

No no no no retreat! Retreat!!!!!!

My nerves are already shot - I couldn't bear it.

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