11/03/2024 135comments  |  Jump to last

Dwight McNeil has admitted that Everton are struggling for confidence in attacking areas of the pitch as they look to try and use the current three-week break from action as an opportunity to reset and refocus.

Due to the FA Cup Quarter-Finals this weekend and the international break after that, the Blues don’t play again until 30 March when they travel to Bournemouth in search of a priceless win that would prevent the club from equalling a record 12 Premier League games without a victory.

Sean Dyche’s side last won in the League on 16 December and the intervening barren spell has prevented them from pulling far enough away from the relegation zone for comfort, particularly given the uncertainty around the second independent commission that is due to convene this week to hear arguments around the Club's breach of Profitability and Sustainabilty rules.

Since the turn of the year they’ve scored just two goals from open play in all competitions even though they have had plenty of shots towards goal in recent games, including the 23 they had at Old Trafford on Saturday in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United.

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Last season’s top scorer, McNeil was, arguably, the best outfield player for the Toffees against United and went close with a cracking volley shortly after the hosts had been gifted the opener from the spot by James Tarkowski’s clumsy trip on Alejandro Garnacho before seeing a goal-bound shot blocked by a defender at the end of the first half.

However, he has struggled for form since the turn of the year and hasn’t found the net himself for three months when he netted the opener in that fine 3-0 victory over Newcastle at Goodison Park.

“Confidence is low in the final [third],” the winger said on evertonfc.com. “We had a lot of chances [at Old Trafford] but didn’t score a goal. We get a lot of chances but we just aren’t getting the final bit right — scoring goals. That’s hurting us at the minute and we aren’t picking points up because we can’t find the back of the net.

“We try and work on it every day. We are getting there in the games, those final moments. I had a few chances and should have scored definitely one I think. I put a lot of pressure on myself but we had other chances and we didn’t take them and we got punished.”

Dyche and his staff have taken the players to Portugal this week for a training camp that will give them a chance to regroup in different surroundings and try to find solutions to their challenges in front of goal.

The break should also allow the likes of André Gomes, Arnaut Danjuma and Idrissa Gueye to regain match fitness and, hopefully, leave Dyche with an almost fit squad to choose from when he tackles three games in the space of a week on the other side of the break.

“We have three weeks until we play again,” McNeil continued. “We have to evaluate as a team. The main thing is we need to all stay together and keep believing because we are in that position again like last season.

“But we have experience in the group, we just have to try and score goals. That’s a big thing, but more importantly, win games. We need to make sure we do that after the international break.

“We are going to rest, reflect and make sure we are ready when we come back because it’s a massive run-in — every game is going to be massive. We have to be ready to score goals and win games.”

Dyche has been at a loss to explain his team’s attacking frustrations which were particularly acute in the home defeat to West Ham the Saturday before last and against United.

Beto started both games and, though he missed a penalty against the Hammers, he scored the Toffees’ only goal but barely had a sniff at Old Trafford.

"[It’s] broken-record time," Dyche said after that game. "I can't tell you how frustrated I am. I'm trying to speak calmly about the situation, which is incredibly frustrating, after coming to Old Trafford and delivering a performance like that and yet we don't win.

"I can’t remember the stats being that high [at United], with 23 efforts at goal, 50/50 on the possession, and I think we agree it was mainly us in the attacking area of the pitch.

"The players are doing a lot right and these stats, usually, bring more than we got today, but I'm never naive enough to ignore what is the most important thing and the bit we have to get right, which is the scoreline.

"I have to keep saying it as it is because I’m telling the truth. The Evertonians here today saw it. Everyone saw it. It’s very difficult when I’m watching the team with so much quality, getting in those areas, and not taking their chances.”


Reader Comments (135)

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Andy Meighan
1 Posted 11/03/2024 at 17:48:48
Talk is ever so cheap.

Dwight McNeil has without doubt been one of our worst performers in this sickening run, yet he continues to be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

I had a text message off a Man Unitetd fan who was at the game on Saturday and it said, "Your players look like they don't give a fuck if they get beat".

I'm afraid I had to agree with every word, it doesn't seem to bother them.

Come to think of it, I've yet to hear any of them and the manager apologise to the best fans in world football for the shite they continue to dish up.

Lee Courtliff
2 Posted 11/03/2024 at 18:06:24
To use an old cliche... someone is due a hammering soon!

Surely we must be due another big win like Brighton last season, and Bournemouth have been far from impressive lately after that good run they had a while ago.

I'm just trying to be positive, as hard as it is.

Christine Foster
3 Posted 11/03/2024 at 18:28:07
"It's very difficult when I'm watching the team with so much quality, getting in those areas, and not taking their chances.”

I get Dyche is frustrated, we all are, the difference of course is that it's his job to fix it, something which he increasingly seems unable to do. No point bleating to anyone who will listen, we know, we watch with utter hair-pull-out frustration. Stop bleating and fix it.

Change what you're doing rather than hit the repeat button because we are running out of games waiting for someone to find their lucky underpants, odd sock or four-leafed clover once more.

Formation, creation and responsibility. Change the formation, change the conversion rate by improving the quality of chances, not shots... make people responsible by giving them clear direction. If something is not working, you have to change what you do. That's your responsibility.

Ten Hag got it right when he said the quality of chances we had were low. I don't care if we only have two shots in a game and win. Ask Calvert-Lewin where he wants it, ask him who can give him what he needs for actual goal-scoring chances, who thinks like him, who knows where he wants a ball played?

Think about early crosses, one-touch finishes in the 6-yard box (Not Gana or Onana from outside the box). Quality, not quantity...

Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 11/03/2024 at 18:57:02
Agreed to an extent, Christine, especially about the early crosses -- the Garner/Beto goal is the perfect example of that. And I'm seeing lots of impatient shots from 25 yards that are simply a waste because the players taking them don't have the talent to score on them.

But I don't buy the idea that Dyche isn't giving them clear direction, or that the formation needs changing. And most of all I question whether asking Dom, of all people, for his wishes and opinions will yield anything. He is not, in fact, one of our more visionary players. In terms of runs off the ball and movements around the box, Beto is much superior to Dom. Watch the two of them and compare. Beto's anticipation and reading are way better.

Ultimately it's on the players to execute off the manager's instructions. He can only do so much. Each individual player has to do his job to score, and the confidence to do so must come from within.

Mike Hayes
5 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:00:39
It’s killing us 🤷
Neil Lawson
6 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:02:12
Christine. Absolutely spot on. Pack your bags, get your sun cream and get on the plane to Portugal cos you can see what we can all see. Shame the manager can not so I reckon you should take training.

On a separate note, why when you are horribly underperforming do you get taken abroad to some expensive location rather than stay on Merseyside and work your socks off? It's all part of this broken footie society that rewards incompetence, indifference and inability.

Dale Self
7 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:08:01
Told you.

Pinning three years of exhaustion on Dyche when we were forced to sell Gray and Iwobi is over the top. The fallacy here is thinking he hasn't solved some problems.

Frank Sheppard
8 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:09:59
We are creating chances, but very few clear cut ones.
Paul Ferry
9 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:16:31
Be careful, Christine and Neil, Barry Rathbone continues to remind us that Dyche has "nothing" – yes "nothing" – to do with the results. Might as well scrap press conferences.

The narrative that Dyche is doing his level best with poor raw materials is not absurd (although there is a limit to how far we can push that before Dyche himself comes under a more critical spotlight); claiming that he has "nothing" to do with results is utterly absurd.

Dyche is ultimately responsible for selection, set-ups, tactics, responding as the game unfolds, and learning from one game and week to the next.

I am in the "Let's have a look at things in the summer" perspective. But Dyche is making it bloody hard to wholeheartedly support him without a league victory since the middle of December. He is ultimately responsible for where we are, even with an unsatisfactory tool-kit.

Barry does not like us saying things like we should have a good look at anyone who is doing well in the U18s because the kids will not be able to hack it, or something like that. Right now, Ebere should be training with the first-team squad, not necessarily to walk into the team but to get more experience and preparation if ever that should happen.

But then, Dyche (who has "nothing" to do with our on-pitch performances) has told us that the youngsters are not an option at the same time as he continues to play players out of position and players, Harrison springs to mind, who need to be put on the bench.

David West
10 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:21:15
Christine. A good post. We can all see what Ten Hag has seen, it's not chances created through good play, or well-worked moves getting someone through on goal. It's half-chances, from knockdowns, from corners, or a header from a free-kick launched into the box, or a snatched shot at the edge of the area.

Dyche has to fix it, but I'm sympathetic to what he is dealing with, who are his front options? Calvert-Lewin hasn't been firing for a long time now, Beto is new and struggling, Danjuma injured, Chermiti and Dobbin ineffective in the games they have had.

We can pick up wins with these players, we have earlier in the season. He needs a change of shape in my opinion as teams know what's coming from us, there's no surprises, and like Man Utd, they will just keep us at bay easily.

Danjuma is in my opinion the one that could have the biggest effect.

Dale Self
11 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:23:02
They are likely leaving the area to escape the doom and pressure. It actually makes sense if you can give it a fair look. It isn't a vacation in any way at all.

We may get lucky and see one of the players, hopefully Branthwaite, assert themselves and become the leader. We simply do not have one even though Seamus has the seniority. It has to be one of the starters that takes it on and kicks some of the players on to that next level.

Paul Ferry
12 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:32:02
Dale, good shout, Seamus must start the next game.

That is something that Dyche can do, in the same way that he has put Dominic on the bench (with mixed results) and he also needs to have Gomes on from the start.

Mike Hayes
13 Posted 11/03/2024 at 19:58:59
Not taking Ebere out is a good move – he scores goals for fun and Dyche wouldn't want him embarrassing Calvert-Lewin by finding the net.
Christy Ring
14 Posted 11/03/2024 at 20:39:35
The amount of chances we create, you can count on one hand. Godfrey against Man Utd had at least 5 or 6 crosses that never went past the first defender, Harrison never even tried to cross the ball, McNeil had so many blocks as well, and Mykolenko just passes the ball back… our buildup play is so slow and laboured, no early quick balls into the box.

I think Dom is the better option upfront, but he should be in and around the box instead of having to run the channels and covering back.

Dyche has to be more offensive in his game plan, and playing Harrison and Godfrey on the right offers nothing, maybe play Jack on the left, where he's more natural and play McNeil at 10, he's probably our most skilful attacker.

Brian Wilkinson
16 Posted 11/03/2024 at 20:56:21
We keep hearing Dyche has nothing to do with the results; yes, he has, because week after week, he goes with the same formation tactics and players.

To put it another way, Dom has gone a while without scoring, along with Beto. You can argue toill the cows come home about both players being out of form.

So let's have a look at the bigger picture: Maupay could not buy a goal for us, and Simms just never got a run of games, yet at other clubs they are both scoring regularly. Why is that? It has to be the tactics we play.

Not for one minute am I saying both Maupay and Simms have turned into goalscorers but clearly they are getting better service to score those goals. You can also add Iwobi into the mix – he could not tackle for peanuts but he knew how to play a forward pass.

The style of play we play is our strikers feeding off scraps and until Dyche comes up with changing the formation, we are going to continue with this "Oh, we were unlucky we had this many shots…" No, we haven't, can anyone say we had 23 shots where we were thinking unlucky.

We need to get up the pitch quicker, if that means dropping Godfrey for Coleman and trying Patterson as a wing-back, then give it a go. When Danjuma is back, give him an extended run in the team. If we continue with the same tactics and same starting 11 we are in big trouble, change it before it is too late.

Pat Kelly
17 Posted 11/03/2024 at 21:03:28
Confidence is low. Quality is lower.
John Connor
18 Posted 11/03/2024 at 21:23:36
The truth of the matter is, the squad is very poor and with no (seemingly) competition for places from the youngsters, the underperformers will continue as first choice. They mostly need a rocket up their arses, and it looks like Dyche can't motivate them to care enough whether they win or not.

He can't keep blaming others, luck, effort etc — it's his job to change tactics, formation, players. I know his hands are tied financially and the 777 position must be off-putting, but really we should be well clear of relegation, even with the points deduction. Motivation is the key and for a player to say they lack confidence is just a cop-out.

Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 11/03/2024 at 21:23:56
When confidence is low then players do a lot of things wrong, and this is the reason I was so angry on Saturday afternoon, because I couldn’t believe how much good possession we wasted, after initially getting into some very good threatening area’s.

We were slowing it down, when it should have been getting speeded-up, and we were constantly rushing, when it just needed that little bit more composure, and it frustrated the life out of a lot of us.

Confidence is such a massive commodity for any footballer though, and I would disagree with anyone who disagrees with me saying this!!

Soren Moyer
20 Posted 11/03/2024 at 21:26:17
I wish they could watch and learn from young Cole Palmer.
He has 11 goals and 8 assists so far this season in a below par Chelsea side and he is not even a striker!
Jerome Shields
21 Posted 11/03/2024 at 21:30:11
Need a coach for finished and attack..Dyche is bewildered by his own admission.
Rob Dolby
22 Posted 11/03/2024 at 22:44:06
David @10.

What's wrong with creating chances from corners or knock downs? Have I missed something? Our build-up play has been much improved this season, hence the amount of chances created from open play and set-pieces.

Do you think the Man Utd fans bought that rubbish about half-chances from Ten Hag? The most expensive squad in the Premier League made to look very ordinary for long periods in a game won by penalties, one of which was a blatant dive, or does it suit the agenda?

Who does Gomes replace in the current 11? The guy has contributed very little since his loan about 4 years ago and is a passenger without the ball.

Danjuma is injured and wasn't exactly arsed when he was fit.

Branthwaite the leader will lead us to more goals? Eh.

Confidence is massive and having the confidence to make correct decisions in the final third need to improve. Hopefully Dyche and the team can get some team bonding and raise some much needed confidence.

Howe wouldn't touch us with a barge pole.


Jim Bennings
23 Posted 11/03/2024 at 23:10:11
Watching Chelsea v Newcastle tonight the standout thing for me is both players of Chelsea and Newcastle all hit a ball cleanly with power, struck truly.

Contrasting that to our players who all seem to underhit and scuff everything so meekly.

Surely it has to be what gets done in training, it has to be?

Paul Kossoff
24 Posted 11/03/2024 at 23:14:28
Low confidence, give me a fucking break from this low confidence bull shit! These are highly trained (supposedly), highly paid professionals. Every time they need an excuse it's, lack of confidence. Well they are frauds then, aren't they?

Imagine any other sport with a team or an individual using that as an excuse. A boxer repeatedly getting beat and telling the press, "Oh, it's my lack of confidence." A batsman out for a duck every innings, "Oh, it's my lack of confidence."

No, it's not your lack of belief in yourself, it's because you're crap!!! You aren't good enough, you are a fraud. If you haven't got the mental belief to play the sport you are being paid millions for, then retire, go and take up fishing or gardening, and you won't be mentally affected by any stressful situations then.

Lack of confidence? Fucking bullshit!

Mr Dyche, here is what you do. Ask any player what's the problem on the pitch? Calvert-Lewin replies with "I'm lacking in confidence."

Tell them, "Oh okay, I'll drop you to the Under-21s for a few weeks. Any one else lacking in confidence?"

"No, Mr Dyche."

Raymond Fox
25 Posted 11/03/2024 at 23:32:14
If you change things you need to be sure its for the better.
In everyday life, the amount of changes forced upon you usually end up worse than the old whatever.

The truth is, we have a moderate bunch of footballers who haven't the ability to score enough goals.

We have been down at the bottom for the last three seasons, that should tell you something.

Paul Ferry
26 Posted 11/03/2024 at 00:01:17
Paul (Kossoff): A batsman out for a duck every innings, "Oh, it's my lack of confidence." No, it's not your lack of belief in yourself".

Paul: 'lack of belief in yourself' is one of the more important manifestations of 'a lack of confidence'.

I would trust someone who has played the game like Tony A on this one.

Mr Dyche, here is what you do. Ask any player what's the problem on the pitch? Calvert-Lewin replies with "I'm lacking in confidence," Tell them, "Oh okay, I'll drop you to the Under-21s for a few weeks."

That is the precise polar opposite of what to do with a player whose confidence has slumped.

Are footy players, Paul, the only people in your wide-ranging view of humanity who are not allowed to have their self-confidence knocked?

Still, your deep insights, reasoning, and articulation have much to be commended, Paul.

Give me a fucking break ... they are frauds then, aren't they? ... it's because you're crap!!! ... you are a fraud ... Lack of confidence, fucking bullshit!

Karen Mason
27 Posted 12/03/2024 at 00:43:35
Dyche did have the same problem – ie, lack of goals, at Burnley, so is this a coincidence?

I seem to remember an interview with Calvert-Lewin when he was scoring freely and Ancelotti was our Manager. He had been told by Ancelotti to 'stay between the sticks and in an around the box'. Granted, we did have James supplying him passes with real intelligence and guile. Dom thrived in that environment, so there is no lack of quality. Just lack of service to him.

It seems, with Dyche, he wants every player to work hard, covering every blade of grass, including the main striker. Perhaps this is why our main striker is not being successful? While Gomes is clearly not the best at defensive play, he can supply clever passes to feet, which could replicate James Rodriguez's role, in some small way.

We have Doucoure, Gana (and Onana when he feels like it), as ball winners and grafters, so we could afford Gomes and / or Garner to play a more free and creative role.

Having Calvert-Lewin (or Beto) in the right place at the right time (not chasing back to retrieve the ball) with some decent passes into them, could be the solution. It is something that worked for Calvert-Lewin to score 20 odd goals in a season.

But it seems that Dyche, is stuck in his ways and beliefs; until that changes, neither will our results.

The old saying, "Only a fool repeats the same thing over and over, expecting a different result" seems apt here.

Andy Mead
28 Posted 12/03/2024 at 00:48:30
Doesn't matter who Dyche has to pick from, he will pick the same players and formation every time.

Harrison is undroppable, Danjami if fit or not, will not get a sniff because he doesn't work hard enough.

Ernie Baywood
30 Posted 12/03/2024 at 02:17:22
So the forwards are just weak for lacking confidence, so goes the accepted white van man wisdom.

A lad capable of scoring goals (because we've seen him do it) is being asked to be everywhere but the penalty area, he's completely isolated from the rest of the team, and then he gets dropped for not scoring enough...

... and you think he should be tough enough to be confident in that situation?

Try telling him "you're our main goalscorer. You be ready in the box. You focus on losing those two centre backs rather than chasing them around the pitch."

There will be a change.

I suspect it's not happening because that's not what Sean Dyche wants. He wants players chasing and getting goal side because that makes us harder to break down.

Christine Foster
31 Posted 12/03/2024 at 03:21:37
Ernie, exactly right. I decided to go back and look at what Ancelotti did to improve Calvert-Lewin during his time here and came up with an analysis from a site called 23 Sport:

How Carlo Ancelotti has transformed Dominic Calvert-Lewin into a poacher

It makes interesting reading, perhaps someone should send a copy of it to Dyche, or send it as a reminder for Calvert-Lewin himself. To be clear, Ancelotti just wanted him in the box, first time finishing. The stats proved the point. Of course to do that, you need the service which has been disgraceful (remember Digne, Baines, Coleman).

Don Alexander
32 Posted 12/03/2024 at 03:24:08
Once again the Ferry-to-nowhere-sane (#30) seeks to reinforce his own opinion by attacking a fellow Toffee for HIS own opinion, in this case Paul Kossoff.

I broadly agree with PK.

The mentality of millionaire footballers regardless of performance has been clearly visible for decades across the "sport", and especially so in a club with a self-serving, deliberately unaccountable, insanely and uselessly and damagingly profligate leadership off the pitch as we've been subjected to throughout that lengthy period.

That sort of ineptitude is now all but impossible to shrug off even if these days obscenely wealthy nation states want to take you over.

The snag is that the whole "sport" is now well-infested with leeches devoid of any notion of professional responsibility.

The "sport" aside, in the last few days I've watched three professional international rugby union games and two professional rugby league games, and the players in all five were scintillating from start to finish in their commitment, endeavour and never-say-die courage.

The contrast is stark.

Laurie Hartley
33 Posted 12/03/2024 at 03:31:09
Mike # 4 - I completely agree with this comment of yours:-

”Beto is much superior to Dom. Watch the two of them and compare. Beto's anticipation and reading are way better.”

He is also hungrier for the ball. In the 49th minute of the first half he chased, harried, and finally dispossessed, Lindelof on the right of the box. Looked up and passed it to Harrison (who should have hit it with his left peg) but he passed it to McNeil whose goal-bound shot was blocked.

I do think he has to change the formation because the current set-up is most definitely not working. Maybe to 3-5-2. Perhaps this might produce more goals:-

Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko
Patterson, Gueye, Gomes, Garner, Harrison
McNeil, Beto.

Paul Ferry
34 Posted 12/03/2024 at 04:30:30
Laurie, with respect, that really is a weird looking shape.

You mean Patterson at right-back or do you mean three at the back with Mykolenko in the. middle and Paterson and Harrison as wingbacks? McNeil is not a No 10.

Agree about Gomes, Laurie, but we also need Coleman in the situation we are in and Ebere needs to be shifted to training with the senior squad.

Ernie Baywood
35 Posted 12/03/2024 at 04:48:27
If we're playing Champ Manager then mine would be:

Godfrey Tarkowski Branthwaite
Patterson Gana McNeil
Onana Gomes

Obviously with a few replacements available in every position - Seamus, Mykolenko as a CB or LWB, Garner at RWB or CM, Beto, Danjuma or Dobbin playing off the main striker...).

We have the recovery speed at CB (Godfrey and Branthwaite) to afford ourselves proper full or wing backs who join in with the game when they're not defending. Wing back is no stretch for McNeil - he already plays in that position ahead of Mykolenko.

It's all irrelevant though. That's one approach to being more threatening. There are plenty, but none are a silver bullet. You give up some defensive shape by doing any of them.

I'll bet anything that isn't what the manager wants. He wants to be hard to break down and you don't do that with full backs on the ball, midfielders getting on the ball (or even ahead of the ball occasionally) and attackers focusing on key goalscoring positions. If it was what he wanted, then we'd have seen something different to what they're giving us.

Laurie Hartley
36 Posted 12/03/2024 at 04:56:25
Paul # 35,

Branthwaite in the middle, Mykolenko on his left and Tarkowski on his right, Branthwaite is in the middle because he is the tallest, fastest and best on the ball.

Patterson and Harrison as wingbacks and McNeil playing off Beto.

I am a fan of symmetry. Patterson can cross a ball with his right foot and similarly Harrison can cross a ball with his left foot.

The reason I have McNeil playing off Beto is because he hasn't got the pace to get away from defenders from the middle of the pitch but he can control, dribble and strike a football.

The reason I have put Gomes in there is because I want to see the ball passed in front of the wide players so they can hit it first time into Beto. Beto scored his goal because Garner ran onto it and hit it first time. We are not seeing enough of that.

Mykolenko can also cross a ball but he has to be running onto it. As soon as he stops he has to turn back because he is so left-footed.

Alan J Thompson
37 Posted 12/03/2024 at 05:43:07
If it has taken from December to March to realize that there is a lack of confidence that is causing the problem and if it takes as long to fix, then we should be in, errr... preseason. Well, that's next season sorted and, in the meantime, set-pieces it is.

As we seemingly don't have any of our own, maybe we should find some expertise to help, a sports psychologist, but there's no telling how long it might take to find one. Google it maybe and see if that hurries things along.

The expression that comes to mind regarding efforts so far: "I cud doo dat, gis a job, Lah."

Paul Ferry
38 Posted 12/03/2024 at 05:50:36
Thanks, Laurie. Great explanation. I don't think that we need to accommodate Dwight mate. Harrison, imo, should not be starting. Love your Gomes thoughts and the absence of Onana.

As Ernie says, 'champ manager' – has to be four at the back ...

Pickford, Coleman, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Gana, Garner, Gomes, McNeil, Dobbin, Calvert-Lewin

Subs: Virginia, Patterson, Keane, Godfrey, Doucoure, Onana (or me), Harrison, Ebere, Beto

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 12/03/2024 at 07:46:37
Bournemouth - can't be worse than the two trips in 4 days last season.

Burnley home.

You never know, we might get something at Stamford Bridge.

Forest and Brentford home. The latter increasingly being sucked into the mix.

Luton away and Sheffield United home.

The small matter of the derby. Have no fear.

I won't even mention Arsenal away on the last day of the season. We always take a thumping there.

But with those matches prior to that we have, there are plenty of available points.

Get your heads up lads and find your confidence. You played well on Saturday. Just believe in yourselves.

Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:02:42
I would also prefer to see McNeil playing inside because he can play on the half-turn and instinctively knows what's ahead of him, but he's one player who has got to really improve and sort his decision-making out a lot quicker.

I know when you're confident, things just flow, so I suppose this backs up what McNeil is saying about confidence.

One person who got the best out of himself when he was a footballer was Steve Stone. Although he started in central midfield, he ended up playing as a wide midfielder and even got a few England caps for his sheer hard work and bloody mindset.

So it surprises me that he hasn't had a word with the manager about trying Doucoure in this position because he carries a lot of those same energetic traits.

This might also allow Danjuma to play on the left without exposing us defensively because it doesn't look like Mykolenko really wants to get forward anyway

That's three of the midfield places sorted, leaving Gueye, Garner and Onana to fight it out for the other two places. But, let's face it, it's a squad game now and they are all going to get on the pitch at some stage!

Dominic can now stay more central, although I would still like to see if he could develop a partnership with Beto, even if they have been poor whenever they've played together so far.

Dead easy being a football manager, I tried it twice and failed!

Derek Knox
41 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:16:16

I get the impression that Dyche is not easily advised by others (also known as a stubborn prick).

You see him on the touchline, with Woan and Stone (that rhymes) when subs are badly needed or change. They have suggested the best change etc. 30 minutes later, when the game is nearly over, he does what he wanted — usually too late, and to no avail!

Danny O’Neill
42 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:22:36
He was pretty much doing that on Saturday from what I saw Tony and, in my opinion, was our best player.

He was all over the pitch and almost got a goal from central position that flew just wide of the post.

I would play him more central playing in support of the striker. Almost a roaming role?

You're right about the manager thing. I didn't mind coaching youth teams but management never appealed to me.

It's why I rarely predict line ups and don't do fantasy football.

Raymond Fox
43 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:31:13
Derek @ 42, first off Dyche is the boss its his head on the block and its only your impression which might be totally wrong.

He consults with Woan and Stone a damn sight more than all our recent managers did their assistants

Christopher Timmins
44 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:48:13
As Danny has demonstrated, there are plenty of points that we should be in a position to pick up before the season ends.

But it will only occur if we improve our performance levels.

Paul Hewitt
45 Posted 12/03/2024 at 08:52:12
Raymond @44. I'd say it Everton's Premier League status that's on the block
Mark Murphy
46 Posted 12/03/2024 at 09:22:55
We've got to get the winless monkey off our back but, without stating the bleedin' obvious, it's only the lack of goals that is holding us back.

I thought the overall performances in the last three games have been decent, especially on Saturday when we were the better team.

I don't agree with this dour football tag either – I think we're playing some decent stuff – just missing the end product.

Ernie Baywood
47 Posted 12/03/2024 at 09:56:13
Raymond, I'm surprised one bloke thinks Harrison should start.

3 of them thinking that is practically impossible.

Bill Hawker
48 Posted 12/03/2024 at 09:59:43
Rob #23,

Who does Gomes replace?

That's an easy one. Either Onana or Garner who have done nothing either. With Gomes, there's a chance of a good assist or goal. More so than the two I mentioned at this juncture.

We're getting overrun with those in the middle anyway so your comment about Gomes in defense doesn't really hold water comparatively.

From an attacking point of view, it's clear Gomes needs to be given a chance at this point. It certainly won't hurt any more than what the current crop of midfielders are turning out.

Rob Dolby
49 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:07:07
I agree with posters saying Calvert-Lewin needs to stay more centrally and I think he probably would still be if we had Sigurdsson, James and Richarlison in the team from the Ancelotti days.

Karen pointing out Dyche's Burnley team also had problems scoring is pretty obvious as he had a crap squad there as well.

Kompany has spent a fortune at Burnley and wants to play expansive stuff, would anyone swap managers now?

Ernie has an interesting selection above. No Garner, who I think is our best midfielder. Patterson, who I think is a dud. Each to their own – that's why football is such a great sport.

If the whole squad is fit, my team wouldn't be far off what Dyche is offering up to us now:

Coleman Tarkowsi Branthwaite Mykolenko
Garner Onana Gana McNeil

I don't see anyone else breaking through, maybe Chermiti or Beto has a cameo along the way.

Had to laugh at the confidence post earlier from Paul @27 — are you a sports psychologist by any chance? Comedy gold.

Danny O’Neill
50 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:23:37
I don't need to comment, but I'll echo what you say Mark @47.

The performances are there.

Just convert the bleeding chances.

Brian Harrison
51 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:39:23
Tony @41,

I agree, play McNeil in a central position. He doesnt have the pace to play out wide, but against Man Utd picked the ball up centrally and ran at them – something neither Garner or Onana do.

Now whether Dyche doesn't want them to run with the ball, I don't know, but they both look to pass when they receive the ball.

I think, if fit, Gana should play in central midfield, and maybe have Doucouré on one side and either Gomes or Onana on the other side. Then either Beto or Calvert-Lewin to lead the line with Danjuma just behind.

Ernie Baywood
52 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:40:46
Rob, I'd take Garner in that midfield. He's more rounded than the alternatives, but maybe not as specialised as any of them.

And you have to have a right back who at least has some ability with the ball. That could be Patterson and that's about as good a reason as I have. We can't keep sending Seamus into battle and hoping he lasts most of the game.

As I said, it's just a possibility to counter the idea that Dyche can't influence results because he doesn't have any options. He doesn't have many, but he has some. And the very few changes he makes tend to be simple like-for-like, ie, he doesn't really change anything fundamental.

And it may simply be because he thinks that a few draws and a chance win somewhere will get us over the line. But jeez, he's trading on that little run of results we had a long time ago. Current extended form is dreadful.

Rob Dolby
53 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:44:49
Bill @49, we all see things slightly differently.

Onana has probably scored more goals than Gomes has in 4 years, Garner probably has more assists in his half a season than Gomes in 4 years.

I see 2 young centre-mids largely controlling midfield. They have looked our best central midfield combination imo. Fernandes, Casimero, Mainoo and McTominay looked 2nd best to me on Saturday.

I have seen enough of Gomes to see he offers nothing off the ball, the Premier League is too quick for him. He is obviously a top footballer but looks less than average in a struggling team.

Sam Hoare
54 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:46:12
I actually thought Beto was one of our better players on Saturday.

He's so strong and quick which can be a difficult combination to stop and his control and passing was better than it has been. He actually held up the ball pretty well and then got into the box but then the return ball was always lacking.

Having watched the game again, I thought that Harrison and Doucoure were really, really poor. Often making the wrong decision or executing poorly. It may be that both are not at peak fitness yet but obviously we have no good options to replace them. Dobbin was okay but I'm really not convinced he's on the same level as Harrison, let alone an upgrade.

I wonder what part Danjuma and, dare I say, Dele Alli might play in the run-in? A peak Alli would relish playing second striker behind a target man, though he's a long way from his peak, it seems he has been impressing Dyche (which is not always easy) and perhaps he may be able to make one or two contributions like he did against Palace under Lampard. Probably wishful thinking… though it sounds like he's getting much closer to fitness.

Sam Hoare
55 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:50:13
Rob @54,

I agree with this and think the only place Dyche would want to play Gomes should be in that No 10 role where he offers more guile and creativity than Doucouré. I believe that is where he played mainly for Valencia which was the best spell of his career.

Certainly his positioning and lack of athleticism makes him a defensive liability further back that Dyche would be unlikely to tolerate.

Allan Board
56 Posted 12/03/2024 at 10:58:44
Confidence?! Deary me… Is that the same as "I am too bloody negative to change anything"? Just how long are we expected to put up with this puerile spouting from Everton?

Let's have it right here – they got beat Saturday because of two brain-dead pieces of defending and the front 6 can't finish their dinners. That's Technical inability – bugger all to do with Psychology.

Tell Calvert-Lewin to play in the width of the goal only, his runs are only in that width, and no TWO touches when finishing. Play Gomes as a free role behind him.

You either play football as a tight unit, pushed up, which means the game is risky – it's called 'risk and reward' – or you drop off and counter-attack, aka Ancelloti. but for that to work, you'd better have 2 or 3 really technically great trigger players (eg, Rodriguez, Pienaar etc) or you are buggered,b ecause the ball will keep coming back.

Dyche is trying to play on the counter, but he doesn't have the trigger players. Which means, most of the time, the counter is too slow, the opposition can get back and disrupt it, thus making the creation of real clear chances very difficult.

Everton need what we used to call your 'pivot players' – pretty much useless at defending, but possessing vision and technique to spring the counter.

Defensive solidity is great, and Dyche has brought that, but the lack of goals will relegate this club, be sure of that. Got to change it for me, and go pushed up, more aggressive in the opposition's half, and make the games more frantic.

We don't have the personel to play as it is now and win many games. He was not playing this system earlier in the season, it was more press up top and get after teams. Riskier, yes, but we won more games doing that.

Goals change games and opposition mindsets – and percentage wise, more to your advantage. I'd hate to think that, come Arsenal away, this current confusing way of trying to counter has continued, and Everton need to win there.

Just on the confidence thing – Everton have what could be described as 6 relegation encounters left amongst the 10 games remaining; best be sure your 'confidence ' is back then, eh, lads? Or we are in even more shit than I think!

Andy Crooks
57 Posted 12/03/2024 at 11:10:19
There is no question regarding Everton to which Gomes is the answer. He gives away more than he creates.

Absence has indeed made some hearts grow fonder. It's always the way.

Jerome Shields
58 Posted 12/03/2024 at 11:54:22
As I posted earlier, Everton need coaching on attacking and finishing. They are currently not getting it. Even a poor performing player would know the ball that they have to play if a definite attacking strategy existed. But some players are not even coached on the basics.

Calvert-Lewin in particular has suffered as a centre-forward whose development throughout his career has been second place to the necessity of playing him.

Beto is not the finished article for Premier League football but, compared to Calvert-Lewin, he was better coached in his youth and it shows in his basic centre-football skills.

Ancelotti short-cutted Calvert Lewin's development deficiencies by his one-touch strategy, but the team was organised by Ancelotti around Calvert-Lewin for this.

With no current forward strategy and attacking players not coached in movement and positioning, attacking support players have no vision of what ball to play forward. If chances come, the players are not ready for them and it takes out-of-the-blue skills to score from them.

Dyche is bewildered by his own admission and will need to rethink strategy. Publicly telling Calvert-Lewin to work harder is pure stupid, since Calvert-Lewin works extremely hard in train, as he always has done.

Dyche needs to bring in an attacking and finishing coach or even listen to his existing coaches. The only blessing is that Dyche will have a fully fit squad and will have to play from the full squad and that variation in play may count in the run-in.

It is interesting that one ToffeeWebber noticed that Dyche was being advised of substitutions by his assistant coaches way before the substitutions were made.

Against Spurs, the unexpected added time give enough time for them to work. Hopefully he is open to listening to their advice during the break and changing his no-sense approach on substitutions.

It is going to be a rollercoaster ride on team performance and the twists of the relegation dogfight, but at least the players are experienced in the powderkeg to come. Losing the dressing room is not an option.

Brian Harrison
59 Posted 12/03/2024 at 12:50:24
Just looked at the stats for both Onana and Garner and their goals record for Everton is really poor.

Onana: played 52 games, scored 3 goals,
Garner: played 39 games, scored 1 goal.

Now whether it's the style that Dyche has them playing that is limiting their goals tally or just that neither score many goals, I would hardly say either are very creative and make chances for othera and the pressure on the forwards becomes even greater given how few goals our central midfield players score.

Paul Kossoff
60 Posted 12/03/2024 at 12:59:55

for God's sake, stop blowing blue smoke up the arses of the players we are unfortunate enough to have at Everton!

When do you say "Enough is enough, no more excuses, do your job or go"?

And others saying Dyche is not to blame, of course he is! If the players are not to blame, and Dyche is not to blame, then who is? How long have we been fed the, "Oh, it's lack of self-confidence" excuse?

Come on, Paul, when do you say, "They just can't do the job they are highly paid to do"? It's not just Everton players that are really not that good, have a look at most teams: they have bums who can't do the basics.

As far as I'm concerned, Dyche and his coaches cant either, he can go as well.

Danny O’Neill
61 Posted 12/03/2024 at 13:15:56
Paul, I would suggest the continued mismanagement of the club over decades has left us in the position we are in.
Paul Kossoff
62 Posted 12/03/2024 at 13:38:23
Danny, are you happy as Paul obviously is, at accepting the crap we are being fed?

You travel all over the UK to follow Everton, are you being justly rewarded for your efforts? If he team put a quarter of the effort you do into playing, then we would not be in the shit we are.

I will support Everton no matter what league they are in, but I support the club, not these bums who will be off as soon as possible if we go down, and who also will not take a cut in wages to help the club.

Christy Ring
63 Posted 12/03/2024 at 13:39:45
I always thought and still have the same opinion, play Gomes in a 3-man midfield, with Gueye or Onana as defensive cover, he's a playmaker and our most skilful midfielder.

In the past, when he was used in a two, he was totally exposed, and was never suited to that role. He nearly turned the game when he came on against Spurs, scoring one, and set up Dom for a goal harshly chalked off, in probably our best performance this season.

If Dyche would let our striker stay upfront, instead of running up and down the pitch, Gomes is the perfect answer. In my opinion, Beto is definitely not far superior to Calvert-Lewin, I must have been looking at a different player against Man Utd.

As was written here, when you see Maupay scoring for Brentford, it's definitely Dyche's tactics.

John Keating
64 Posted 12/03/2024 at 14:05:12
We're supposed to be skint, so let's all swan off to Portugal on an all-expenses jolly.

Sorry but everything that needs to be sorted can be done at Finch Farm. If they all haven't "bonded" by now, then they never will be.

I'm in "the players are more culpable than Dyche" camp. The players are the ones missing chance after chance from the opening game of the season. The players need to look at themselves.

Jay Harris
65 Posted 12/03/2024 at 14:17:37
Rob Dolby, Tony and Danny,

You make some positive and appropriate views which imo are spot on.

Between the previous board and the Premier League, they have thrown huge curveballs at the manager, players and the fans which have definitely hit the confidence of the players and the fans too.

None of us are happy with the situation and, as fans, our frustration and anger has to be directed at someone, whether it be Dyche, Calvert-Lewin or Harrison etc.

If we all get together and back the manager, the players and the club, we can start the building blocks of a better future and ensure our Premier League status.

I believe the players and the manager can do far better but, at the moment, they are like a punch-drunk boxer and, if the fans turn on them too, they are left with no hope. It doesn't matter how much they get paid or what a life of luxury they enjoy…

What matters is good performances and winning games and for that they need the full backing and encouragement of the supporters. They will make mistakes but some encouragement will go a long way to helping them get better.

Danny O’Neill
66 Posted 12/03/2024 at 14:20:06
I'm not happy, Paul K. It makes me sad.

Believe it or not, I do get quite critical in family debates. It won't stop me though. Never has even through equally dark times.

Same as you, I'll support them no matter where they play. They don't deserve us. But they've got us and we've got them.

I think we'll be okay again. But okay isn't good enough for Everton, but right now all I can do is be there, which I will be.

Barry Rathbone
67 Posted 12/03/2024 at 14:27:25
Dan @61,

And that position is a squad as bad as there has been in our Premier League history.

Yet some think this manager, or another (will we ever learn?), can move the same deckchairs around and around in ever-decreasing circles to create a front-foot attacking unit to get us out of trouble!!

They don't know “how”, of course… and concede the squad hasn't got such players… but does that matter?

Of course no!t Whatever the circumstances, football managers must be capable of turning water into wine and, if they can't, then fans must be allowed to swagger around blustering "time he went" — utterly mindless.

Not a single club in Premier League history has ever escaped relegation with this magical thinking but let's not let facts get in the way of a massive dollop of footballing fantasy.

Mark Ryan
68 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:09:49
And yet, speak to Millwall fans this week and they'll be very happy they changed their manager very recently. 10 points from a possible 12 in their last 4 games.

Dropping like a stone they were and they earned them points with the same players who couldn't buy a win and now they have their old manager back.

Funny how a change at the top can inject some fire and some new ideas. It's what we need… but alas, it won't happen.

Derek Knox
69 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:17:45
John K @ 64, my sentiments entirely, as if they are being rewarded for all the sterling performances (?) sorry I must have missed them!

Mind you, I love Portugal, especially the golf courses and the food, but Letra, Sagres, Super Bok and Cerveja Musa can also get you very merry and forget about Football altogether!

Maybe that's the plan! :-)

Rennie Smith
70 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:23:00
If ever there was a player who looked like he needed a break. it's McNeil. I know people will say he gets paid X blah blah, but the lad looks mentally and physically shot.

We all know he's had family issues off the pitch as well and because there is no alternative, he's asked not only to play every game, but to carry the team forward every game.

You may say play Dobbin as an alternative and give him a rest, but we know Dyche is not going to do that, he loves Dwight and would play him with one leg if he had to.

Let's hope this break is what he needs to get back to his best because he is an important player for us.

Bobby Mallon
71 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:29:41
We don't need to sack Dyche if we want a change in management. So long as the next manager is from within the club, ie, Baines or whoever.

Then Dyche goes on gardening leave until the end of the season. I'm just writing…

Danny O’Neill
72 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:47:52

Is Dyche perfect? No. Those of us who watch every week see that.

But we, more than most should realise that what has hurt us on the pitch, in terms of squad development and financially has been the revolving door of managers.

Dyche is unlikely to be a long-term fixture, however for now I'd rather let him get on with the task at hand, especially at this point in the season.

Dale Self
73 Posted 12/03/2024 at 15:49:53
Two things are really griping my ass in comments about team performance shortcomings; that somehow punishment for bad outcomes installs workable methods and you have to stay in the local pressured environment to get it right. Please refer to your own work experiences and think again about the situation. Exhaustion calls for rest – not intensifying the routine that exhausted you.

We need these players to believe in themselves as a collective. Right now, they are in protecting against mistakes mode because no single player up front has been able to break through and find form others can feed on. It is fine to get a bit pissy and have a go at them for a while. When it goes beyond disappointment and gets abusive or dismissive, be ready for what you are bringing upon yourselves.

The fans largely kept us up last season because of a bond between the players and fans. That bond won't withstand continued derision of the staff and players. I'm not saying this is our preferred path or that it is a lovely path and you should make peace with it.

All I'm suggesting is that we have one way out and it is with who we have now. Given that, we need to find a way to reserve the right to make justified criticism and get behind them whatever that takes.

We have three weeks. They are out of town. Have your say and list your reasons for how and why they've failed. We who have supported Dyche will hear it out and not just blame the players to shield the swan.

But damn, when they get back, they deserve the support and we really don't have any other move than to fully provide it. Get yer old school football head on and cheer on some, shall we say, agricultural ascendancy. It is what I initially dug about Everton.

Raymond Fox
74 Posted 12/03/2024 at 16:50:32
Good post, Dale.

Why fans think changing the manager will make the players better beats me. Have we not tried that god knows how many times? I've lost count.

They have been given plenty of chances to score but we are on a run where they cannot find the net.

Sometimes, the run of the ball doesn't go for you, but we are pretty toothless just now.

David West
75 Posted 12/03/2024 at 17:13:18
Rob 22. Nothing wrong with making chances from knockdowns or set peices, but when we are relying on them as our only way of getting goals we are in trouble.

We were restricted to half chances against utd, if you don't agree that's up to you, but we never really carved out any golden opportunities.

Utd were happy imo to just let us have the pot shots from range, they delt with all our set pieces, which decent sides will do mostly now everyone knows it's going to Tarkowski every single time, it's easier to defend!

I know Dyche has limited options, he's done well to get the points he has already, but momentum is as important as confidence and we are going backwards down the table so we need to change that momentum and bring some confidence back.

There could be room made for Gomes. Garner can do a job at right-back or as wingback, he can't be worse than Godfrey. Mykolenko can play in a 3 at the back. Try something new !!!

Or are you just happy carrying on playing this way and getting zero points and confidence dropping further??

With our run-in and our form, teams like Luton, Brentford & Forest will be confident against us… will our players be confident having been on this run?

Tony Abrahams
76 Posted 12/03/2024 at 18:03:46
Mark @68,

I've watched a couple of those Millwall games and they have just got away from trying to play football that didn't suit their squad and gone back to basics.

This 3-week break will hopefully give us some answers about the long-term future of our club, and I believe that this is by far the most important thing for Everton right now.

If we get this right, I'd take relegation in a heartbeat because when I was reading Frank Lampard talking about how the Evertonians are very proud they haven't been relegated – what exactly has that done for us over the last 29 years?

Everton used to exist to win trophies, and the only way we are going to win again is once we have had a complete reset, imo, and a season in the Championship might even help us in the longer term.

I don't think many will agree with me but just continuing to make up the numbers is definitely something the once-famous Everton FC need to get away from now that the curse has gone.

Barry Rathbone
77 Posted 12/03/2024 at 18:07:56
Dale 73

Well said.

If ever there was a time for fans to put away the egos and accept the limitations of this squad it's now.

Won't stop them for a minute.

Dave Evans
78 Posted 12/03/2024 at 18:18:52
Dale @73 A great post with good points but I think fans too have lost their confidence.

Dyche said the team had to find a way, any way, to win. Over the last few seasons fans have witnessed an astounding variety of ways in which we have lost and when the solace of joined up football is rare, it is bound to make supporters edgy and narky. Or, like myself, not wanting to turn on the team, waiting braced in silence for the familiar or inevitable to happen.

Everton fans always turn up in numbers. At the moment for match going fans it really feels that this is enough and, for once, the proactive steps should come from the team first.

Andy Crooks
79 Posted 12/03/2024 at 18:55:08
Bobby @71, had you written a decent, thought out analysis of why Baines should replace Dyche, it might well have been worth reading. But... seriously your analysis is "Baines or whoever..". Fucking hell.
Brian Williams
80 Posted 12/03/2024 at 18:59:18
Baines could bring his years of managerial experience to the table and have us racing up the league in no time.

Oh, hang on!

Paul Ferry
81 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:00:39
Paul (K), why would you say that Danny and I are happy with the current situation. How could we be?

There is nothing in any of our posts that suggests that: trying to make it to the end of the season with what we have is not being happy; pointing out that footy players are as vulnerable - in fact I would say more vulnerable - to self-confidence slumps is not being happy.

Quite the reverse. Having players low on confidence is a reason to be unhappy.

I constantly suggest things that Dyche could do to make things better and on this thread and others have suggested that his position needs serious review over the summer.

Hardly happy.

Rob (D), do share your informed and incisive views of why my post is "comedy gold". You clearly have an informed view on this subject. I assume that your credentials are impressive. Perhaps you are built from strong stuff lad and believe that men – especially footy players – by nature should not have low confidence as its so unmanly?

So, dead simple: why "comedy gold"?

Paul Ferry
82 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:02:21
Baines is utterly unfitted to the situation we find ourselves in.

Magnificent player, but remember how he limply gave the ball to Mirallas.

Brian Williams
83 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:19:50
I think when someone says that Beto is a better player than Calvert-Lewin, and then someone actually agrees with him, it's time to get the fuck out of here.
Ray Robinson
84 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:41:19
Tony #76,

We can all agree that the club needs a complete reset but why does it have to be in the Championship? If we could guarantee an immediate return, I'd agree with you but who is to say we'd only spend one season down?

Never happened with Leeds, Forest, Derby etc. With a new ground and all the investment that it could attract, a relegation could prove disastrous.

Mike Doyle
85 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:46:27
Brian @83,

Our former captain Alan Stubbs was speaking about Beto on Radio Merseyside after Saturday's game.

Suffice to say he's not impressed.

Tony Abrahams
86 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:47:02
Maybe I should be careful about what I wish for, Ray!

I've watched a few games in the Championship recently and although Everton would be the biggest scalp in years, I'd take my chances on a swift return, once we have rid the club of nepotism.

Dave Abrahams
87 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:56:53
Tony (86),

I think you know how poor and threadbare this present squad is. I shudder at how I imagine they would perform in the Championship, where every game is a battle. I honestly think we would finish in the lower regions of that league.

When we stay up this season, we will still struggle next season but there is the hope that the club will be in the hands of more professional people than 777 Partners and the clique of self-centred people before them.

I also think players, if we can afford them, would be better inclined to join us if we are in the Premier League rather than the Championship.

Paul Ferry
88 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:59:34
Completely agree Brian W (83). We need Calvert-Lewin back starting.

I thought that Stubbs was interesting on Beto over the weekend. I sometimes think that a preference for Beto in a post is little more than ammunition for another swipe at Calvert-Lewin.

Bill Hawker
89 Posted 12/03/2024 at 19:59:47
Swift return???

We'll have a better chance of pulling a Sunderland and dropping straight down to League One after our playing assets are sold off or they take advantage of their relegation clauses. We'll be stripped bare if we go down.

Which players would possibly stay to try to get us back into the Premier League? None, that's who.

Paul Ferry
90 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:04:25
Dave A (87):

One thing I really worry already about next season is that the three clubs likely to come up will be much better prepared for Premier League survival than the sorry three who came up this season and will go straight down.

Sean Kelly
91 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:12:35
Pat Kelly (17),

Succinct as always… and very true.

Danny O’Neill
92 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:13:15
We can stay. I believe we will regardless of what the grey suits throw at us.

A reset is required. It has been for 30 years.

But let's do it in the Grand Old Lady's last season in the top flight.

Mike Doyle
93 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:23:38
Paul 90, I agree. At least 2 of the 3 promoted clubs should give a good account of themselves.

Things would get worse if we are forced to sell the likes of Branthwaite and Pickford.

Danny Baily
94 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:38:30
Paul 90,

That would be a nice problem to have. We've got a massive fight on our hands to stay up this season. There's pretty much no room for error in the winnable games we have left.

Tony Abrahams
95 Posted 12/03/2024 at 20:45:58
How many players would you be really upset about leaving us, Billy?

I honestly think that is one of the reasons they gave us such a draconian punishment, Paul F, because they knew that the three promoted teams weren't good enough.

I watched Ipswich the other week, and if they are near the top of the Championship, then it genuinely wouldn't worry me if Everton went down, Dave, but again I have got to stress, that only if we are sold to decent owners.

Paul Ferry
96 Posted 12/03/2024 at 21:01:18
Danny B (94):

Of course you're right and, looking backwards over our shoulder to the time since 16 December, and looking forwards to the end of the season, it is a horror show.

That said, Danny, I am convinced that we will stay up – further points deduction or no – and am giving myself the luxury about being shit-scared of next season already.

In key ways, Danny, it is the summer that matters most: ownership, finances, the manager, transfers out (definitely), transfers in (maybe).

It's 30 years since Definitely Maybe came out! It's being re-released this year so that means that we will definitely win the FA Cup next year (or maybe).

Danny O’Neill
97 Posted 12/03/2024 at 21:03:57
Good shout that, Tony.

I can't think of many.

I wouldn't like to lose Pickford, Branthwaite, Garner and I would even add Mykolenko into that to a lesser degree.

Other than that, I'm struggling.

Laurie Hartley
98 Posted 12/03/2024 at 21:38:12
Paul # 88,

I want Beto to start because I think there is more chance of him scoring than Calvert-Lewin – simple as that.

The stats would appear to support my point of view:-

Calvert-Lewin: 21 starts - 1 goal... maybe if Harrison hadn't touched it.
Beto: 2 starts - 1 goal.

Paul Ferry
99 Posted 12/03/2024 at 22:03:58
Thanks for the reply, Laurie. Stats are stats, I know, but sometimes they can be a veneer which I think is the case here.

A 50% match/goal is impressive (though he missed sitters in the same game, including a penalty), but even more so if it is stretched over a statistically significant number of games. In addition, Beto has spent a fair number of half-hours or 15 minutes or so not exactly making a case for himself.

This is a case, I feel, Laurie, where Beto getting the nod is not an acknowledgement of his abilities and development but rather more concern and criticism aimed at Calvert-Lewin.

I wanted to see Beto (or someone else: who?) start, by the way. I think Alan Stubbs was correct on Beto over the weekend and I wish it were otherwise, Laurie. You and I in effect are discussing two strikers and in an ideal world that doesn't exist at Everton right now – neither would be the first choice.

I lean towards Calvert-Lewin because I think opposing defenders are more concerned about him (it would be interesting to ask them) and his bigger physical presence. Beto runs but not always effectively. Calvert-Lewin is a better header of the ball, although the last few months would make you think otherwise.

We have two unsatisfactory strikers, Laurie, and the cynic could quite easily say pick either of them with two balls in a bag like cup draws because it won't make much difference who plays at the end of the day.

I would ask that Ebere gets to train with the first team so the coaches can have a good look at him. But it is what it is, Laurie, and none of the choices on the table are especially attractive.

Laurie Hartley
100 Posted 12/03/2024 at 23:09:53
Paul #99,

I respect your opinion. We can agree to differ. If either of them starts scoring a few goals, I am sure we will both be happy.

I haven't heard much about Ebere until this thread – I'll do a bit of research on him.

Stephen Williams
101 Posted 12/03/2024 at 23:19:28
First names on the teamsheet are:

Pickford, Branthwaite and … Gana.

Gana is so important and he stops teams breaking on us. No one else can do that job. I can't believe he's overlooked on here.

Then set up to create chances from open play, quickly. Dyche is so conservative that players need to always be behind the ball to offer protection but by then the opposition is well set, whereas, if we went quickly, we'd create many more chances of much better quality. But leopards and all that.

It's going to be a tough and stressful watch.

Rob Dolby
102 Posted 12/03/2024 at 23:26:17
Mike @68,

Millwall is a great comparison. They sacked their managers quite regularly.

Our previous assistant, Joe Edwards, I think took the reigns and tried to play footy like Frank did with us. Surprise, surprise, they got battered and he lost his job with fans saying they didn't have the players to implement his style – sound familiar?

They then appoint an old boy who has been sacked by previous clubs in the lower leagues. Harris has a reputation of being a back-to-basics manager – sound familiar?

He has had the usual new manager bounce; he will probably get the sack in 12 months.

Dave @75.

Of course I am not happy with the results. The confusing thing is that I am quite happy with the performances with the obvious exception being the lack of goals.

I think we have a top keeper, two very good centre-backs and two young very promising centre-mids. The spine looks very promising to me considering the mess we have had to deal with over the previous 3 years.

Goals paper over massive cracks in teams which I think I mentioned quite a few times when we had Lukaku.

Paul @81,

I was referring to Paul K's post at 24, not yours. With those motivational skills from pre-industrial revolution. No offence meant. It's only footy talk.

Paul Ferry
103 Posted 12/03/2024 at 23:41:39
Sorry Rob D, that one is down to me getting post numbers wrong and names wrong!

Thanks for the clarification!

Dale Self
104 Posted 13/03/2024 at 00:46:16
Thanks Raymond, Barry and Dave. It is worth a shot. Fair point on the fans' perspective, Dave. Hopefully the team will do something, anything, to give them some belief and we can build up from there.

I know I get carried away in the Live Forum but I know we all love Everton, some with more gritted teeth than me and that is okay given performances suffered through.

Steve Griffiths
105 Posted 13/03/2024 at 01:11:18
Stephen 101, It's a game of opinions.

I don't think Gana is overlooked on here. I think most people appreciate what he brings to the team. It's what he's not so good at that people have a go at him for, ie, his passing and shooting. It depends what you want from a player in a particular position, and we all see things differently.

Jerome Shields
106 Posted 13/03/2024 at 07:29:57
The elephant in the room is the club's finances, present and future. That is what the Premier League is trying to get the club to sort out. Everton have to stay in the Premier League to continue that process. To go into the Championship and different rules would be disastrous.

Dyche has to get the team to a level where they potentially win games. Errors in the last games meant there was no basis for that. The fact that Everton can't get a team goal is a continuing problem. Dyche has to turn that around. His job should be in question on the present team performance. but such is the vacuum in leadership at the club, that is not even under consideration.

There are also players who are not performing and players who are not consistent enough for Premier League football, but Everton are stuck with them. Deadwood is now acceptable with no choice. Over this break, Dyche has to change things. Blaming players is not good enough.

Bill Hawker
107 Posted 13/03/2024 at 16:33:34
Tony #95,

Honestly, at this point only Pickford and Branthwaite and they're our two most sellable assets. The rest are Championship caliber anyway but enough Premier League teams would be duped into putting in bids for them.

The concern is that we don't have much coming up from the academy and what good quality player would want to join this toxic shit show called Everton FC? Sure, money talks but if you'd have to choose between Everton and another club, is it really a choice?

Karl Masters
108 Posted 13/03/2024 at 16:51:10
Never mind the players. It sounds like you're low on confidence, Bill Hawker.

But we are needed. We are needed again big time for the last 5 home games – the derby and 6 pointers against Burnley, Forest, Brentford and Sheffield Utd.

Our fate is clearly very much in our own hands and a nervous, doubt-ridden Goodison has been dragging the players down too many times in the last few years. I always laugh when people say how tough it is to visit Goodison! We have lost over 30 times there in the last 3 or so years! Roughly half the matches have ended in defeat!

I put this down mainly to us. We create the tension. When we score first, we are often okay. Concede first and the crowd gives up (with a few notable exceptions) and the players freeze in the tense atmosphere.

So, stop saying all our players are shit except two. They're not, but they need our unconditional support. Yes it's hard, but that's our job – supporters support the team.

Dave Lynch
109 Posted 13/03/2024 at 19:25:01
Karl @108,

You are seriously blaming the fans who spend a lot of hard-earned on creating an atmosphere that makes million-pound earning professionals unable to perform!

Give me a fucking break!

Danny O’Neill
110 Posted 13/03/2024 at 19:33:40
Not sure what to make of that one, Karl.

On many occasions in the past few seasons, Goodison has been a cauldron of blue fire. Yes, the supporters go quiet, but you can label that at many home supporters.

It's mostly the away supporters of all clubs that create the noise, ourselves included. That's in general.

There are many examples, but a good example of Goodison rocking to the core was that Crystal Palace match.

Dave Lynch
111 Posted 13/03/2024 at 19:59:29
Don't know why you're trying to justify disagreeing, Danny. That post is absolutely bollocks and a slight on us match-going fans who turn up to be entertained.

If Karl is right, then they are a shower of self-centered snowflakes.

"Please don't boo me... I might pass to the wrong player."

Fuck right off.

Paul Kossoff
112 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:10:48
Those of you saying Dyche shouldn't go, well for one thing, he's a coward, takes the easy option of no change, don't take a chance, try and nick one, go for a draw, everything about him says we are were we are because of him.
Paul Kossoff
113 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:17:54
Bournemouth 0 Luton 3, Barkley rocket.

Not good enough for us?

Bournemouth, bunch of shit houses.

Michael Bennet
114 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:37:01
Paul @112...

We are where are because of years and years of mismanagement and dogshit players, mate...

Dyche is just one in a long line of managers who has to get a tune out of our crap players.

Paul Kossoff
115 Posted 13/03/2024 at 20:59:45
Bournemouth 3 Luton3
Paul Greenly Jones
116 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:00:31
3-3 Bournemouth Luton
Tony Abrahams
117 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:01:01
The sad thing was Dyche was getting a tune out of these players but, since we got those 10 points deducted just before Christmas, we have not been getting results.

There have been some decent performances but it's goals that win games and the longer we have gone without winning, the bigger the burden has increased.

It's no good sorting the defence out if you can't score at the other end and that's now the conundrum for the Everton manager who has not got an avalanche of attacking riches in his squad.

Three central midfielders who are not known for their attacking prowess, two stay-at-home fullbacks who would sooner let the keeper come 30 yards out of his goal, and act like a quarterback rather than try and join in themselves, which leaves two struggling wide midfielders, one midfielder returning from injury who can get ahead of the ball, and two centre forwards who are both badly struggling for form.

McNeil says confidence is low, so when people analyze Everton, some will agree with him, whilst others will say we have simply got a very poor squad. (Or we are fucken shite!)

Others will say it's because Dyche is playing negative football whilst others will say "But we are creating chances!"

The Premier League have killed us and put a lot of pressure on a squad that has been struggling for years, at a time when the team was just starting to relax after fighting relegation for the previous two seasons.

Even if you don't agree with this assessment, then at least agree that the team needs the fans right now, so it's about time we regrouped and came together once more!

Michael Bennet
118 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:02:40
Bournemouth doing us a massive favour 3 goals in 14 minutes...are you watching calvert lewin
Paul Kossoff
119 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:04:19
Micheal, we are in it because Dyche is being lauded as your savior but he's tactically inept. At any other team, he's gone.

But blind panic by lots of us, not me, is keeping him as the answer.

Brian Williams
120 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:10:57
Paul Kossoff
121 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:12:53
Bournemouth 4 Luton 3, Dyche, are you watching?
Paul Kossoff
122 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:21:34
Nine minutes added time at Bournemouth, cheating fuckers!
Michael Bennet
123 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:24:02
Paul, 90% of managers are inept, mate, their fans are always fucking moaning – just like us.

Unless you're Man City, Liverpool, or Arsenal fans, fella, everyone else moans like fuck, just like us.

Michael Bennet
124 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:29:40
Any manager in world football is only as good as the players on the field, and recruitment, of course. They all get sacked in the end... except the players — they just jump ship on to another club – and so it goes on.

Look at all the so-called world class managers who have had the sack in the Premier League in the last 10 years!! Don't blame Dyche for our woes – the Premier League is a graveyard of managers.

Tony Heron
125 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:36:09
I get that people are unhappy with the tactics of Dyche but, if we had taken 10% of the chances we're making, we would be well out of trouble.

Remember also that we should be on at least 31 points and 10 clear of the relegation places.

Dave Lynch
126 Posted 13/03/2024 at 21:43:46
I'm not having a go at Dyche, he is what he is and we are what we are under him. To change now would be football suicide, that's been proven in the past.

It's posts like Karl's who insinuate it's the fans' fault that boil my piss.

Tony Abrahams
127 Posted 13/03/2024 at 22:02:02
I was talking to an Irish fella over for the Liverpool game at the weekend, Dave, and I said that I thought the crowd was going to be very important if Liverpool were to get a result.

He was with a scouse Liverpudlian, and after I said this, and to the dismay of the bitter red nose, he said there are only certain grounds where the crowd, plays such a huge part> Then, in his next sentence, he said that when he's watching on the television, Goodison Park, seems like it is more fierce than any other ground.

He didn't know I was an Evertonian, and when I agreed and told him that, being an Evertonian, I have always known this, he said but when you're struggling, it often works against you, because you can feel the anguish coming right through the tele.

Dave Lynch
128 Posted 14/03/2024 at 00:40:07
Fair comment, Tony.

But I'm still of the opinion that it's the team that gives the crowd its impetuous and fire. To blame us for the team's shortcomings is appalling.

If Liverpool play shite, the place is like a morgue, my kopite cousin admitted that to me, the crowd are reactionary to what's happening on the pitch.

Not the other way round, IMO.

Bill Hawker
129 Posted 14/03/2024 at 18:13:47
Karl #108,

Yes, you are correct. I'm normally a "glass half-full" guy, an optimist if you will. Everton's recent performances have really beaten that out of me.

Then, to add insult to injury, I watch two teams that are around us in the table score seven goals between them and just wonder how we can't possibly score at all???

Charles Ward
130 Posted 15/03/2024 at 19:03:29
Problem with these warm weather breaks is they can lead to the players becoming a bit too relaxed and losing some sharpness.

Hopefully they've arranged a behind-closed-doors friendly to keep them on the ball!

Charles Ward
131 Posted 15/03/2024 at 23:12:57
Dave @128,

The crowd does react to what happens on the pitch and quite often it's not necessarily a stunning goal but a good tackle by one of ours or a bad one by the opposition. Sometimes, even the antics of the opposition manager can get the crowd up but a good atmosphere is engendered by what happens in front of us.

Unless it's Crystal Palace with their plastic Ultras.

Neil Lawson
132 Posted 17/03/2024 at 14:18:39
I have just read details of the training location in Portugal where the squad stayed. It's such a tough life being a pro footballer, even a seriously underperforming pro footballer.

Pitches that range in size, a huge pool, a range of massage facilities, a range of restaurants. Access to a choice of championship golf clubs. Access to overpriced and overhyped restaurants…

The ball is now very firmly in the hands or at the feet of Dyche and Co. Failure at the mighty Bournemouth is not an option.

Judgement on the merits or otherwise of the last week will have to be reserved until the final whistle. I just wonder though how many professions we can name where you can benefit from underperformance and underachievement?

Robert Tressell
133 Posted 17/03/2024 at 14:26:20

It is galling that the life of a Premier League footballer is now so far removed from reality. However, this is not an underperforming squad. If anything, it is overperforming.

Although "we are Everton", we are no longer the Everton of old. After many years of club mismanagement, the squad is very definitely worse than that of Palace, Forest and Bournemouth for example.

Our total of 31 points (without deduction) would have us in 14th place – and we definitely don't have the 14th best squad in the Premier League. On paper, we are worse than that.

Andy Crooks
134 Posted 17/03/2024 at 17:17:02
I agree, Robert. Without the deduction this squad would be punching well above their weight. I have noticed lack of quality, never lack of effort.
Dave Williams
135 Posted 17/03/2024 at 18:20:42
Our squad is weak but our first-choice eleven is actually not bad and, if we could only get Dom or Beto scoring goals, we would hold our own with most outside the Top 6.
Jim Bennings
136 Posted 17/03/2024 at 20:13:18

No way. Our midfielders are absolutely shite.

Our strikers don't score either so it's all a case of ifs and buts.

Ernie Baywood
137 Posted 17/03/2024 at 01:00:22

Pretty much every source I've looked at considers we do have a squad at that kind of 10-14 level. At least in terms of how our players are valued or how much we have spent on the squad.

While the points return is 14th... the 10-game form is 17th. I'm not sure that feels like overachieving. We overachieved through a short period of time but, since, then it's been absolutely dreadful.

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