Blues show stomach for the fight

By Lyndon Lloyd 29/01/2019 58comments  |  Jump to last
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Huddersfield Town 0 - 1 Everton

When you’ve been knocked down to the mat, the first thing you have to do — assuming, of course, you don’t stay there and take the full count! — is get back to your feet and that’s what Everton did this evening with a slender but hard-fought victory at Huddersfield Town.

Having dropped their guard in criminal fashion at Millwall and been floored in the context of their season, the Blues rediscovered some of their composure, determination and fighting sprint to grind out only their third away win of the season.

Granted it was against the Premier League’s bottom team who had lost five home games on the bounce but once Lucas Digne was sent off for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity midway through the second half, there was every danger that an Everton side bereft of confidence and prone to being the architects of their own downfall could have crumbled, even against the lowest scorers in England’s top four divisions.

Jordan Pickford pulled off two excellent saves, one of which had new Terriers boss Jan Siewert expressing his admiration afterwards, to deny the hosts a way back into the game but Everton largely kept them at arm’s length in that time despite being a man short.

In terms of the performance, this wasn't anything to write home about but under the circumstances, it didn't need to be — grinding out a win to restore some confidence after Saturday was paramount. Arguably Everton’s best move of the game, a rare instance of a central midfielder running beyond the forwards, came in the third minute when Tom Davies collected Bernard’s pass and found Richarlison in the centre to score at the second attempt.

Beyond that, slick football was at a premium and, truth be told, Huddersfield probably moved the ball better but without much end product. Importantly, however, Davies made a hugely positive return to the starting line-up in place of the “injured” Idrissa Gueye — the Senegalese is the subject of confirmed interest from Paris St Germain but was officially ruled out with a minor groin injury according to Silva — with an energetic display that allowed André Gomes to just sit in in defensive midfield and keep the ball moving.

Kurt Zouma, back in the side on merit as much as because of Yerry Mina’s foot injury, ran Davies and Pickford close in the man-of-the-match stakes with another impressive outing and, while he didn’t score, Cenk Tosun generally made a nuisance of himself until he was sacrificed for Jonjoe Kenny after Digne’s dismissal.

In terms of chances in the first-half, it was slim pickings. Gylfi Sigurdsson fired two shots straight at Jonas Lössl, one from a direct free-kick after Mathias Jørgensen had caught Tosun around the face with a stray elbow, and the other following a smart turn past his marker in midfield while Seamus Coleman sliced a decent chance well wide from the edge of the box.

At the other end, Steve Mounié dragged a rare opportunity for Huddersfield past Pickford’s right-hand post shortly before half-time.

Early in the second period, Davies forced a parrying save from Lössl with a stinging drive from distance at the end of a nice move that had involved another probing pass from Bernard and a neat flick from Tosun. But Huddersfield assumed a more dangerous posture once their key man Aaron Mooy had entered the fray in the 55th minute for his first appearance in seven weeks following a knee injury.

The Australian was involved in the build-up when Elias Kachunga might have done better with a header from Kongolo’s left-wing cross but he couldn’t keep his header down. Then, after Digne had come on for the unfortunate Leighton Baines, who had been forced off with a muscle injury to his hip or side, Adama Diakhaby was sent clear away with a defence-splitting ball over the top from Juninho Bacuna.

Caught flat-footed by his compatriot’s run, Digne tried to scramble after Diakhaby as he bore down on the Everton area with just Pickford ahead of him, clipped the forward’s heels and sent him sprawling to the turf. Referee Stuart Atwell reached for his back pocket and brandished the inevitable red card and Silva’s side were reduced to 10 men.

Pickford was equal to Mooy’s resulting free-kick, diving to his right to push it behind for a corner but his acrobatics to deny Kachunga after Diakhaby had flicked the ball past Kenny on the Huddersfield right was even better. The big striker looked to plant a free header low and into the bottom corner of the goal but the England goalkeeper sprang to his right again to turn it around the post with his right hand.

Should Watford lose tomorrow and Leicester fail to win at Anfield — the less said about that latter situation the better — Everton will go into Saturday’s clash with Wolves at Goodison knowing they can leapfrog into seventh place with another victory.

Given how poor the Toffees have been since early December, that speaks volumes about the lack of quality in England’s top flight outside the top six but from a psychological perspective it could be very important as Silva tries to rebuild both the morale and the prior effectiveness of his team.

There is plenty of work to be done but getting three points on the board while opening up a road back into the starting XI to the likes of Davies and Tosun will be instructive in the context of the longer-term rebuilding work that must go on between now and the start of next season.

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Reader Comments (58)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 30/01/2019 at 07:48:54
Every win is a good win especially away from home but let’s be honest there’s a long long way to go before we can say we are progressing.

We beat Burnley 5-1 on Boxing Day but followed it up with two dreadful results and performances against Brighton and Leicester.

Last nights win won’t mean anything if we lose to Wolves and City or even take just one point from those two.

We have too many times this season already failed to build any momentum so it’s imperative we beat Wolves really.

Chris Watts
2 Posted 30/01/2019 at 08:05:53
This season is effectively over but getting some momentum and claiming 7th would at least bring back the optimism for next season.

Surprised we’re nit bringing in a striker this January window

Jim Bennings
3 Posted 30/01/2019 at 08:23:15
Chris

I don’t think we will get 7th looking at the fixtures we have remaining, more like 8th-10th is a more realistic expectation.

I can’t really see much positivity this summer to be honest, another summer where the same old mistakes are made lies on the horizon.

Christopher Timmins
4 Posted 30/01/2019 at 08:38:22
A small step in the right direction but a long way to go.
Outside the top 6 the standard is pretty poor and the current bottom 3 my not get to 33 points.

We or should I say the manager has plenty to play for
over the coming months. I also think that extends to 5 or 6 of the players who must surely be playing for their future at this stage.

Looking at the other results last night it does not appear that the West Ham manager is pulling any trees out of the ground!

Derek Taylor
5 Posted 30/01/2019 at 08:39:15
Avoiding relegation (almost guaranteed now) is all that matters if the BM project is to proceed. The football side of things is now very much less important so 8/9th will do us nicely. Silva can breathe again !
John Raftery
6 Posted 30/01/2019 at 09:24:54
Delighted we won. We saw two very poor teams last night but Tom Davies and Zouma were very good. Pickford has been a clown this season but he showed greater discipline last night and made two vital saves, the second one outstanding. Richarlison is far more effective coming inside from the left flank and now has eleven goals in all competitions this season. Gomes had a steady game, by far his best in two months. I thought Jonjoe Kenny showed maturity as a substitute left back, defensively sound and making effective clearances.

Once we went a man down it was interesting to note how we ditched the idiotic attempts to play the ball out from the back. We abandoned the short goal kicks, played it long and looked much more secure than previously.

Another annoying feature is our waste of free kicks in the middle third of the pitch. The red card incident followed our own free kick inside the Huddersfield half. We made a ridiculous attempt to pass our way through the opposition when the opportunity was there to launch the ball into the area. As in too many matches this season we created our own problems.

This was our sixth away win in two years and one week. A narrow victory at possibly the worst team to play in the Premier League over the past ten years is nothing write home about but hopefully it will restore some belief.

To achieve anything like last season’s 49 points and eighth place will require a marked improvement on last night’s performance. If Silva can pull that off I believe he will keep his job at least until next season.

Mike Doyle
7 Posted 30/01/2019 at 09:29:10
In a match lacking in quality, one who did stand out was Aaron Mooy - the best player on the pitch for the time he was on.
Jon Withey
8 Posted 30/01/2019 at 09:50:37
I know there were some shouts for us to sign Mooy in the summer - Gana replacement ?

Good to see the 3 points and some fight - including a match-winning save, because Pickford has been dreadful recently.

I'd like to see us sign Zouma.

Does that mean we are without both Digne and Baines now ? Oops !

Tony Everan
9 Posted 30/01/2019 at 09:55:38
I am delighted with the win, at the moment any win has to be embraced however ugly it is. Last night was pretty ugly, we were disjointed, ineffective , loose in midfield and lost too many headers for my liking from crosses in. Saying that the lads stuck it out and deserve some credit for it.

Basically the same as we have been over the last two months . The difference last night was we were playing a club without the quality to capitalise.

Any win will give us some confidence to build on . It buys all concerned some time to make the necessary changes, communicate to the players and improve deficient training systems.

I still feel the midfield is too weak and lacking in cohesion, we are struggling to take control of any game for a decent period of time . I think the balance has to be addressed in making our midfield much tougher, tighter and able to fight as a unit. Whilst retaining the l;ink up with the attack .

I thought Cenk Tosun had his best game for us last night . He looked committed and interested . I liked what I saw until he faded a bit, it is what we need at CF . Whether he can build on that performance remains to be seen, we need all that and more from him . But there is a glimmer of hope there.

James Marshall
10 Posted 30/01/2019 at 10:01:46
The fact we're 8th shows what a load of shit the PL is in reality. Outside the top 6, the division is full of also-rans with zero chance of ever winning a damn thing.

We support a team that lives on it's history (Zzzzzz), and is still very much the museum that Moshiri said it is. History my arse.

Derek Knox
11 Posted 30/01/2019 at 10:02:09
Mike @7 & Jon @8, I would be over the moon with Mooy as a Gana replacement, which I still think will happen (Gana to PSG) but don't think Huddersfield are resigned to throwing the towel in just yet, unless they have a miraculous run, I can't see them staying up.
Eddie Dunn
12 Posted 30/01/2019 at 10:20:04
James, it's true that apart from the top six there rest of the teams are lacking. The likes of Wolves and Leicester and even West Ham have had decent results against the top six but the PL is beginning to resemble the European leagues.
The bottom half of the table is Championship standard.
The gulf is getting bigger and the sustained input of money for the big boys in the period before FFP rules has given them a lead that is difficult to catch-up .
Te need to stay in the PL is reducing the chances of our youngsters getting the chance to establish themselves and so one avenue of bypassing the big money is lost as we invest in the finished article instead.
It's a vicious circle.
Fran Mitchell
14 Posted 30/01/2019 at 11:28:57
The fact that we are 8th (and finished 8th last season too) despite being so miserable a team is pretty damning of the 'best league in the world'tm.

The likes of Leicester, West Ham and us have spent absurd levels of money yet are very average teams.

Just look at the Europa League, apart from the top-6 entrees, the PL also-rans (yep, that includes us), when in Europe are usually vastly out of our depth.

Jack Convery
15 Posted 30/01/2019 at 11:32:24
Can't see Mooy staying at Huddersfield when they go down. The new manager may take the view that its time to get a team together for the Championship and if Mooy is not part of that, then cash in now. We know Australians have a great work ethic - Mooy is a typical Aussie. The last Aussie we had wasn't too bad was he ? As for last night at least they didn't sulk but something is defo not right in that dressing room.
James Marshall
17 Posted 30/01/2019 at 11:47:23
All this talk of Mooy - we're just another crappy mid table side if we keep concentrating on relegated players and managers. Aren't the rest of you sick & tired of all this crap?

What we need isn't players from the bottom team in the league, we need winners with a winning mentality from top clubs. This mindset is part of the problem ingrained at Everton.

Sam Hoare
18 Posted 30/01/2019 at 11:58:13
Mooy is a decent player who will probably get a chance to stay in the PL but I don't think with us. He'll be 29 this summer and we need some more mobility in our midfield not less.

His passing is Ok though he has zero assists for Huddersfield this year. His tackling is OK. He gets around a fair bit but doesn't seem to do much. A pretty average player it seems to me. If we were going to look at Huddersfield midfielders i'd rather look at Phillip Billing who is pretty quick and a big unit able to dominate in the air. He makes alot more tackles and interceptions than Mooy and is only 22.

I think Brands's philosophy is looking for younger players with resale value and potential rather than older players with their best days behind them. Unless the asking price is especially tempting I wouldn't expect to see us signing many 29 year olds this Summer.

John Kavanagh
19 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:00:29
To a starving man a mouldy crust is a feast, so we will have to get by on a few crumbs of comfort from last night's match. Our two academy players, often written off as not good enough by numerous posters on TW, gave a committed and disciplined performance. The focus and aggression Silva demanded.

The rest of this season must be used to give them, and others, the opportunity to cement places in the first team squad. If they are not up to the job, we can then dive into the transfer market. But big expensive buys haven't exactly been a resounding success have they?

Steve Ferns
20 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:06:32
James, would you accept Antonio Conte as manager?
James Marshall
21 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:13:34
Steve - I'm just a lowly supporter so my acceptance of managers & players is pretty meaningless, but if you mean would I be keen on a manager of Conte's repute at Everton, then yes.

Isn't he off to Inter Milan? I can't see a manager of his standing turning to a club like Everton anyway.

Steve Ferns
22 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:22:17
Conte was relegated though James, at least once, maybe twice. So why would you accept him in light of post #17?
Paul Birmingham
23 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:24:02
Every game is a big game and more so with no trophies to play far, UEFA qualification, a mirage, I hope but can’t see us qualifying based on our form of the last two months.

Playing for their professional pride and careers let’s hope we can get over the line and beat Wolves.

It should be an open match, and I hope our team doesn’t open up, and play too far apart. It’s a shame Leightons injured as his professionalism is an example to the rest of this squad.

A Portuguese Tale, which manager will win?

They’ll be plenty to talk about prep and post this game.

Tom Bowers
24 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:24:42
A win is a win I suppose and no accolades for it being against the bottom feeder although they came out finally looking like a team that wanted to win.

It was hard fought in the end given that Huddersfield are a desperate bunch and Everton had only ten men but I cannot criticize Digne taking one for the team.

Obviously there are still midfield weaknesses and in the first half despite an assist on the goal Bernard was again poor and too many tackles were not won.

Wolves next and we know they can play a bit so hopefully they will be up for it.

James Marshall
25 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:26:03
Steve - I knew that was a trick question. Well done.

There are exceptions to every rule. Not everything is black & white but if it's made you feel all fuzzy inside to attempt to trip me up, then I'm OK with that :-)

Steve Ferns
26 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:33:01
James, plenty of managers and players have been relegated. That they are relegated means little. I believe Silva performed well at Hull, the form table for his time there (ie the table showing all the games that happened after he was appointed) shows that he performed well above relegation. They were relegated because of what happened on Mike Phelan's watch.

Mooy is a very good player, in that side. He makes them play a lot better when he's on the pitch. I have liked a lot of what I have seen from him, but I would want to see a lot more to extrapolate the skills he could bring to our midfield and whether he could be the solution to the Gueye's departure. He seems to tick a lot of boxes though.

So I fail to see what his impending relegation has to do with whether he's good enough for us. Gueye was certainly good enough for us. I dare say Pickford is as well. Whilst he's not had the best of season's, his level is well above a relegation side.

So I have no qualms with relegated managers or players, as long as they are good enough.

James Marshall
27 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:38:35
Steve - you can pick holes in my comments all you like, the point still stands. We as a club are constantly looking to fish in the little pond, and that in itself is part of the problem with the club (and it's supporters). We've spent years looking for players and managers from lesser lights, and relegated teams - mostly because they're cheap and likely to want to come to Everton as a step up (ahem!).

My point (and indeed, THE point) is that we should be looking at higher level players & managers on the whole as part of our changing mentality if we want to compete at a higher level consistently and drop this notion of our 'istory being something to shout about. It's all well & good but it doesn't serve us for the future to constantly be looking backwards at how good we were way back when.

I take your points on Gueye & Pickford, but picking out individuals is to miss the point of my post.

James Marshall
28 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:40:42
By the way, Conte was relegated once from Serie B with Arezzo, though he had been sacked & reinstated mid season, and returned to gain them 19 points from 7 games before they went down to Serie C.

This was his first job in management after playing.

Ernie Baywood
29 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:42:20
Pleased to win.

Pleased to see a bit of grit.

But until we have a striker it gets as good as 7th and as bad as 12th.

So carry on Everton. I'll get excited and engaged when you do your job.

Brian Harrison
30 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:44:38
James,

I agree that if you want to challenge the top 6 then you have to sign players who could comfortably play in a top 6 team. Mooy is a decent midfield player but again not a player who would get anywhere near a top 6 club.

I think we can also put to bed a phrase that is often trotted out when teams are having a bad run, the manager has lost the dressing room. Well, they may all not be of the quality we would want but they are putting a shift in for this manager. Yes even against Millwall they put a shift in but the lack of confidence and quality, and the inability on the night to deal with crosses cost us the game, not players not trying.

I also thought that Silva rather than duck the question about Gueye, said he had just spoken to the board before being interviewed so he could give an accurate update. He said there hadn't been another bid and as far as he was concerned that was the end of the matter. I think the message was loud and clear if we sell Gueye it's not a deal he is sanctioning.

Derek Taylor
31 Posted 30/01/2019 at 12:47:07
It's alright saying we should only recruit young(ish) players of great merit but we are no longer a 'top' club and will provide no attraction to the most talented. Mr Mooy would do nicely-!

Steve Ferns
32 Posted 30/01/2019 at 13:02:35
James we cannot fish in the big pond. Everytime we have we lose out, by not landing the fish, as bigger clubs steal them from our grasp, or they refuse to come.

Time and time again in our recent history, we held out for the likes of Giroud and then end up empty handed.

You need to understand that if you speak to a player like Lacazette and his agent, then they will tell you they want to come to Everton, that they will sign. They keep giving encouraging comments but put the transfer off until the end of the season or until after a holiday, or after this or after that, delay, delay, delay, oh wait he's just signed for Arsenal. It's all well and good mate, but the reality is we lose out. By being the biggest fish in the smaller pond we can get what we want.

There has been a sea-change recently in youngsters. Jadon Sancho and the rest are leaving the big clubs to get games. Maybe we can't land Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea, but there must be other highly rated players who are not playing that we can gamble on. I know we have that academy ban, but I'm talking 18 year olds here.

Paul A Smith
33 Posted 30/01/2019 at 13:05:11
Could anybody not live with "winning ugly" every week?

James 17, until you are proved wrong by results and success i don't see how anybody can argue.

In fact i can see why some do. The penny will never drop.

Under 4 managers now some of these players you mention that are only used to playing with bottom half standard team mates and relegation battlers

These players have achieved all the results we don't want and won nothing.

The evidence is all there.

The opportunity was missed when we had 4 young gems on the day Moshiri arrived

Anyone who thinks tactics alone will get us there again is deluded in fifa computer football.

Denis Richardson
34 Posted 30/01/2019 at 13:20:21
Win and clean sheet - at least people will finally put the R word back in its box!
Sam Hoare
35 Posted 30/01/2019 at 14:11:54
Steve@32, absolutely. We won't be able to land the likes of Lacazette because they are high-class players looking for medals and honours. But we may be able to land the next Lacazette, younger players who are looking for playing time.

Although we are midtable in what matters (points) we are top of the table for having the youngest squad. The big carrot that Everton holds over other clubs is that we give opportunity to young players. That should help us attract talented young players in their early 20's (or younger) who want to play in the Premier League but want to be sure of getting time on the pitch.

Players like Ndombele, Sarr, Barella, Upemecano, Lozano, Berge, Tah, Pepe, Atal etc who have their heads screwed on right could be tempted to come where they'll get game time, even if we are only a stepping stone. If they play well, get us up the league and we sell them for three times what we bought them for that's fine by me.

Steve Ferns
36 Posted 30/01/2019 at 14:33:02
Yes Sam, but we tried for Lacazette and were told that he wanted to come. Cue high 5's in the recruitment office, feet up and cigars, only for his unscrupulous agent to use the terms agreed to get a deal out of Arsenal, that the player wanted all along.

We the fans need to understand that this is what happens. That big name players will yes, but they are leading us on. I previously gave an example of a young person trying to "score" a "date" for the night in a nightclub and being led on a similar way by a very attractive person only to lose out to someone else and then miss out on someone who would have been interested and then going home alone or waking up to someone they regret in the morning.

We need to be able to identify those we can sign, and land them quickly, instead of holding out land a "big one". Bernard, forget whether you rate him or not, is an example of us successfully holding out to land a big player as he could have gone to the likes of Chelsea. Richarlison is an example of us going for the perceived level below.

James Marshall
37 Posted 30/01/2019 at 14:53:49
Steve, I agree, we can't go for the top level players – I'm not some kid who lacks an understanding of the game, it's history, or the modern game and how it's run either so please, spare me your belittling tone.

There is a line to be drawn, and that line is above those that have spent their careers battling relegation, or playing for lower level teams, be that in the Premier League or the Championship. Everton and us as supporters should be looking higher in my view.

I entirely get your point about the best players, but that was never my point.

James Marshall
38 Posted 30/01/2019 at 14:58:44
It's also worth noting that Man City had the same problem, money but no way to attract the top players until they signed Robinho, who at that time was a big name player – cue the floodgates opened.

If we keep on and on going for the low-end players, then we'll never get there.

We have to think big to be big so Steve, you're welcome to keep playing the same old drum, but I want to support a top team, with top players. I've had nearly 40 years of this shite.

Brian Williams
39 Posted 30/01/2019 at 15:04:04
I previously gave an example of a young person trying to "score" a "date" for the night in a nightclub and being led on a similar way by a very attractive person only to lose out to someone else and then miss out on someone who would have been interested and then going home alone or waking up to someone they regret in the morning.

Mr Ferns. Speaking from experience there are we? ;-)
Who was it you woke up with then?

Steve Ferns
40 Posted 30/01/2019 at 15:21:04
James, I ain't playing the same old drum. I want to win the league. To do so we need a manager with fresh ideas and a recruitment policy to match.

I believe that the manager needs to be a coach first and foremost. Someone who can cultivate a side that is better than the individuals concerned and someone who can develop players himself.

I believe that a top coach can take a player like Jonjoe Kenny and make him an England international at the very least. An U20 World Cup winner should have a good chance of developing into being a full international and so should be able to attain Premier League quality.

We have five of these u20 world cup winners – Kenny, Connolly, Dowell, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin. Tom Davies could have played in that side but we pulled him to give him rest after already making the step up to the first team. So there's 6 youngsters there. I think it's too late for Connolly and Dowell now. Lookman, Calvert-Lewin and Kenny can still make it. Davies already has in my eyes and just needs to get better and get to the next level (and then the next and the next).

There is also a forgotten World Cup winner, namely U17 World Cup winner Lewis Gibson.

I can't see how those are not sufficient raw materials to be used into developing a top side. Add to this highly rated youngsters like Ryan Astley, Bayern Munich-wanted Anthony Gordon, and a few others.

I still believe that Silva can get to the summer with his job intact, and then can have the summer (world cup and euro free) to work on the players he has, bring in a couple more and then show himself to be the coach I want at Everton.

I have read a lot about Brands encouraging the development of young players as detailed above. His tendency to sign young players like Lozano, and his patient approach giving managers time and allowing them to make mistakes, and giving players time and allowing them to make mistakes as well.

I believe that this is what Everton need to get you your top team that you want to support.

I've almost had 40 years of shite myself. I did go the game in the 80s but, considering I was barely 10 as the decade ended, I recollect few things from our glory days and my Everton experience is largely of a great club in decline and being laughed at by kopites who didn't even go to the games.

So I share your pain. I've seen us use quick fixes (like Koeman) and know for a fact that the chances of one of them coming off is extremely low and so I prefer a patient approach. That does not mean I am any less desperate to win the Premier League. As I've said before, if I was on the managerial interview panel, the first question I would ask any applicant is: "so tell me, how are you going to win the league?"

I'm not interested in plodding along in 5th or 6th like we were under Moyes. I want us to be number 1. But we need a realistic and executable plan. Right now, with Moshiri and the youth setup, we have the raw materials.

Steve Ferns
41 Posted 30/01/2019 at 15:22:07
Brian, I couldn't possibly comment!
Paul A Smith
42 Posted 30/01/2019 at 16:15:53
O don't know why they don't just make the January window for 2 weeks. 1 if possible — but a whole month of clubs in the main waiting until the last day is ridiculous.
Paul Cherrington
43 Posted 30/01/2019 at 16:17:12
I would agree that signing players or managers who have been relegated is not a good move. After all, it pretty much shows they are not good enough which is what we are seeing at Everton now.

As others have said above, we need to be focusing on those who display a winning mentality and will to win in their make-up. Too often now we seem to look only at the footballing skill which is only half the picture to building a great team. Look at the effect someone like Phil Neville had in terms of leadership and making the team better – that was down to being used to winning things and having that mentality from playing at Man Utd.

Of course, it is obvious that we cannot sign the huge names like Messi or Ronaldo right now. But we could look at top talent from teams who do well in their leagues each year but aren't the premier names around. Say, for example, someone like Sevilla in Spain or Leipzig in Germany. Sure we could find some top talent in that way that would be affordable, want to join us and have the right attributes.

Paul Cherrington
44 Posted 30/01/2019 at 16:30:59
Paul @33,

I think you have hit the nail on the head re the current obsession some football fans have with style or play or tactics. It's like how stats have become something so important to many when they do not tell the full story half the time.

Who cares if you only have 40% possession - if all that is in the opposition half and you win 3-0 then happy days.

People think that winning games is all about pretty passing triangles and philosophies. Maybe it is the FIFA influence as you say as computers do not give the full SP on what is actually needed to win games. You might be able to do it with poor players on a game but it doesn't work in real life as we are finding out.

We should never have let those 4 players you mentioned go as they were the spine of the team to be built on. To let them go and then use the money to buy inferior replacements who are too used to losing, or getting relegated, was crazy.

Jay Harris
45 Posted 30/01/2019 at 16:36:32
Steve,
Totally agree with your philosophy but I am yet to be convinced about Silva.

There was a very good article in the Beeb about Portuguese coaching methods being out of date and quoting Mourhino as the catalyst.

Well worth a read and I would be interested in your view on it.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/47010477

Tom Bowers
46 Posted 30/01/2019 at 16:49:41
A win is a win I suppose and no accolades for it being against the bottom feeder although they came out finally looking like a team that wanted to win.

It was hard fought in the end given that Huddersfield are a desperate bunch and Everton had only ten men but I cannot criticize Digne taking one for the team.

Obviously there are still midfield weaknesses and in the first half despite an assist on the goal Bernard was again poor and to many tackles were not won.

Wolves next and we know they can play a bit so hopefully they will be up for it.

Mike Gaynes
47 Posted 30/01/2019 at 17:21:04
Tom #46, true, Digne did properly take one for the team, but it was his mental error that allowed the situation in the first place. He was ballwatching, turned the wrong way and allowed Diakhaby to blow right past him. And it was his third major brain lock in just his last 30 minutes of play, the other two being the idiotic fouls at Millwall.

I think Digne is a fine player who will be our left back for years to come, and up until this month he was having a terrific season, but he deserves every bit of the criticism that is coming his way right now.

Steve Ferns
48 Posted 30/01/2019 at 18:08:13
Thanks Jay, I missed that article somehow. I don't always agree with the author but I like to read, watch and listen to him. He seems to be desperately searching for a vehicle these days. Sky lost La Liga and as a result he lost his main source of income. As a result, there is less call for a "Spanish football expert" based in London. So I have found him less reliable these days, which ironically coincides with his "I'm in the know" persona, which when he was more relevant was not something he pushed. He's still entertaining though.

Anyway, as for the article, it relates to Mourinho. Mourinho was / is not really a coach. If you've read any of the books about him you'll note that he is more of an Alex Ferguson type. He leaves the actual coaching to others. Like Ferguson he was a great tactician, but whereas Ferguson lost touch somewhat and so hired tacticians, ie Quieroz, who would ensure he kept us with the Jones', Mourinho has failed as his tactics have become out of date.

Portuguese coaches have never been better. In England, we have Silva, Nuno Espirito Santi, and until recently Jose. At Monaco we have the returned Leo Jardim. Paolo Fonseca is still at Shaktar. And Vitor Pereira has a well paid job in China. I would say that it is Mourinho who is out of date, not the rest, and that is because he has lost his hunger, and does not do what Mourinho used to do. In essence, he's not Mourinho anymore.

They may not be doing anything too revolutionary now, but I would not say any of them appear to be stale. Most of these guys are young managers as well. Pereira is 50, but the next oldest is Nuno at 45, Fonseca at 45, Jardim at 44 (looks older!), then Silva at 41. Can you believe that the "retired" Andre Villas Boas is younger than Silva and not 42 until October?

I would add that I'm biased towards Portugal though!

Jay Harris
49 Posted 30/01/2019 at 18:51:11
Steve,
I always appreciate your knowledge and insight but for me a good coach has to get defending right first and foremost and as you know that is my criticism of Silva and before him Martinez. In fact it was always one of Mourhino's strengths but interpersonal skills left a bit to be desired.

It does a teams confidence no good to be shipping goals all the time and unless Silva resolves this it will be the Nadir in his career.

I wouldnt mind Jardim and wished we had pushed the boat out for Nuno but as I said I have lost confidence in Silva.

Jerome Shields
50 Posted 30/01/2019 at 21:28:22
Another pivotal game, Lyndon, on Saturday. Back-to-back wins would take the pressure of Silva, who doesn't deserve to be left out to dry by the Board that appointed him, after the AGM mutters and the lack of support in the January transfer window.

Davies played well.

Good Luck, Marco

Benjamin Dyke
51 Posted 30/01/2019 at 22:03:42
Incredible that we lie 8th after round 24 and such a crap season.

Keep the faith, Blues — we're crap and we're 8th

Mike Gaynes
53 Posted 31/01/2019 at 08:42:57
Of course, last season we were full-blown SamShit and came 7th.
Paul Cherrington
54 Posted 31/01/2019 at 09:34:33
So it's ok to be rubbish and 8th just because Sam Allardyce is not in charge? if people are happy to be 8th when the football they see is not to their liking, why was it so important to boot Big Sam out? Why is there the demand that Silva must get time when Sam was not given that? there is just no logic in anything that is happening around the club at the moment

If the football is rubbish and we are no higher under Marco Silva, why is there not the sort of carry on we saw last season? All the current season, table and performances tell us is that we got rid of one manager to replace him with someone worse. How can that possibly be ok? Oh, yes, I forgot, we are supposedly more attacking under Silva despite not having many shots on goal most games now and taking half an hour to get the ball up the other end.

James Marshall
55 Posted 31/01/2019 at 09:45:31
Steve @40

A lot of what you say is indeed true and worthwhile but it doesn't get results in the short to medium term, does it? I mean I'm with you on this, and all for promoting youth from within but Everton need results, and the Premier League doesn't wait for players to develop so it's a huge juggling match for a manager.

Does he use youth and potentially struggle to attain results? Or does he buy ready-to-go players and hope for a winning team? The pressure and the money dictates the latter as far as I can tell, with promoting youth being slightly secondary due to the need for instant impact and instant weekly results. Managers have to gently feed young players in – if you throw them all in, results suffer (you know this and don't need me to tell you!).

Silva is in a fax at the moment – we're not good to watch, we've had some dreadful results and performances, yet we're still 8th – this is less to do with him and more to do with the crappy teams from 7th place down so it's more by luck than judgement.

I don't have the answers, none of us does, but I do know one thing: we need a striker and that isn't going to come from the youth setup.

Sam Hoare
56 Posted 31/01/2019 at 09:51:04
Mike @53, last season, we came 8th. I think if we came 7th this year that would actually be pretty decent considering the amount of new players Silva has had to bed in.

8th would be okay. 9th or 10th would be poor and anything bottom half is pretty unacceptable.

Like it or not, the top 6 is (for now) in a different bracket.

James Hughes
57 Posted 31/01/2019 at 09:55:52
James #17 and others. I totally agree with that sentiment no more players (or managers) from relegated clubs.
Steve Carse
58 Posted 31/01/2019 at 19:45:57
Mike (47), I can't agree with the blame for the sending off being Digne's own fault. The fault lay -- not for the first time -- with Keane.

Keane had possession on the right touchline, just inside his own half. There was absolutely no space to be had there, particularly once he had delayed moving the ball on. Being so wide meant that he had vacated the centre-back area, so it was an absolute imperative that he ensured Everton retained possession or else played the ball far enough down the pitch to be able to get back there.

But no, he plays a tight 10-yard pass into a team-mate's feet, a teammate with an opposing player right up his arse, giving the receiver absolutely no chance of holding on to the ball. Half a second later, the ball had been dispatched into the gaping hole left at the back.

Digne made up a lot of ground to get anywhere near the Huddersfield forward darting through the middle but ultimately had to take one for the team.

Nicholas Ryan
60 Posted 01/02/2019 at 01:49:17
So, we need a manager who can break into the 'magic Circle'; who can brush aside the Big Boys and go on to win the title – and then do it a second time, to prove it wasn't a fluke. Is there such a person?

Yes, but sadly, his name is Rafa Benitez!

Bob Parrington
61 Posted 02/02/2019 at 04:13:44
Nicholas #60,

I'm not so sure about Benitez, although I respect him (except for the RS connection). My thoughts are that he is past his due by date (okay, with anchovies and the like that might be irrelevant!! 😃)

I'd like us to run with Silva but get him to understand that zonal marking, particularly for defending corners and free kicks, just DOES NOT WORK.

Even in the "old days" we used to say, you take him, I'll take Fred, Johnny you take the Nr 10 etc etc. Often the respective heights of the players would be selected accordingly. Problem is that Silva is being pig-headed on this issue and then blaming the players, who know better.

Surely, Silva is not too old to learn!

Bob Parrington
62 Posted 02/02/2019 at 04:16:42
Sorry, I should have added the view that it is okay to use zonal marking in general play, with occasional single situations on man-to-man, ie, rule Hazard out of the game, Gana.
This is match-by-match strategy.

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