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Moyes and Europe

By Peter Laing :  13/05/2010 :  Comments (21) :
Following our exit from the Europa League, I, like many Blues, watched with interest at the progress made by Fulham, culminating in narrow defeat last night at the hands of Atletico Madrid. The plaudits have quite rightly gone to Roy Hodgson for motivating his player's and using his undoubted tactical nous and acumen that he has garnered through many years of European managerial experience to achieve such success.

On reflecting upon our own situation, The Blues' failure to qualify for next season's Europa League will be viewed by many as a blessing in disguise as it will allow Everton to concentrate on the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Aston Villa's early European exit all benefited this season from such an approach, and many would quite rightly argue that our threadbare squad at present simply does not have the resources to compete on several fronts.

However, knowing David Moyes, I am sure that he will remain frustrated by the fact that he will not again be able to have the opportunity to pitch his wits against European opposition next season. From our very mixed past European experiences, I would hope that David Moyes and his backroom team reflect upon our European experiences and learn from the tactical mistakes made — particularly home and away against Sporting Lisbon.

Roy Hodgson's coaching is a prime example of how a team should be set up to play against European opposition. Fulham's home and away success against the host side Hamburg highlighted the different approach and mentality needed.

It will be at least another season before we see the Blues again in Europe, I'm hoping that the current sabbatical will be used by David Moyes to continue to learn the art of playing against European opposition — and maybe a little advice from Roy Hodgson wouldn't go amiss for our next adventure.

Reader Comments

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Tony J Williams
1   Posted 13/05/2010 at 15:07:30

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It would have been interesting to see what could have happened this season if we had a fully fit squad in the Europa Cup from the start. Ironically it was one of the first games we had Mikel back when we were knocked out.
Alan Kirwin
2   Posted 13/05/2010 at 16:14:49

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I hate not being in Europe & would have loved us to be where Fulham were. Hats off to Fulham, they did magnificent. I reckon Moyes is stinging, even if there were one or two mitigating circumstances.

Will be interesting next season. Liverpool are in semi turmoil and have to start competitive games in mid July. Don't expect to much from them. Spurs, if they progress, will suffer a bit from the extra games. Villa? just don't rate them. City? still disjointed, but should be up there. Arsenal? similar. ManU? would not be surprised if they slip down.

Everton? lowest 8th, highest 4th.
James Stewart
3   Posted 13/05/2010 at 17:43:20

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Strange... I watched the game last night and felt the exact opposite. The team was set out wrong from the start. Duff was totally ineffective playing on the right and Gera looked awkward on the left. Substitutions were poor and the tactics were negatives and mostly Fulham just resorted to long ball even after Zamora had left the field.

Fulham also failed to even finish in the top half. I think I will stick with Moyes thanks!
Richard Dodd
4   Posted 13/05/2010 at 18:42:11

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How can giving us a better opportunity to qualify for Europe be a good reason not to qualify for Europe?

Call me a pessimist but I see no possibility of our being able to get a top four place... neither do I consider it failure when we fail to do so. So the Europa League is the peak of my expectations and next season will be the poorer for our not being in it!

Eugene Ruane
5   Posted 13/05/2010 at 20:22:33

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I agree with Richard Dodd.

(it's true - there IS a first time for everything!)
Paul Gladwell
6   Posted 13/05/2010 at 20:52:27

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I bet Moyes sat torturing himself watching two teams not as good as us in that final. I still cannot get over thinking "What the fuck is this?" as we tried to play a slow casual european way, against a poor team, from a poor league at home to Sporting, during a part of the season we were steamrolling Chelsea, Utd and City with fast tempo in your face footy.

I just hope, if he is here for next time, he learns from his cautious approach.

James Stewart
7   Posted 13/05/2010 at 17:43:20

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Strange I watched the game last night and felt the exact opposite. The team was set out wrong from the start. Duff was totally ineffective playing on the right and Gera looked awkward on the left. Substitutions were poor and the tactics were negatives and mostly Fulham just resorted to long ball even after Zamora had left the field.

Fulham also failed to even finish in the top half. I think I will stick with Moyes thanks!
David Booth
8   Posted 13/05/2010 at 22:19:43

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We undoubtedly have the ability, given an injury-free squad to choose from.

What we haven't got is sufficient belief and self-confidence.

We're improving, slowly.

But there's still a long, long way to go before we can intimidate opponents in the way that sadly (despite them getting knocked out at home), our nasty neighbours can.

The only way to improve that is to keep trying and realise that it's time the likes of these Belgian and Portuguese teams who outplayed us this season ought to be in awe of us - and not vice-versa.

Once we overcome that hurdle... watch us go?

Dick Fearon
9   Posted 13/05/2010 at 22:27:43

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Peter Laing, you hope Moyes learns from his tactical mistakes eh? As he never owns up to making one, there's not much chance of that. According to him, it is always something else that brings our demise.

He has been in charge for 8 years and in that time I have never once heard him make a tiniest admission that he could perhaps have done better job at tactics.

Nothing summed up his lack of adventure, foresight, call it what you will, than our home game against an under-manned Fulham; from our point of view there was nothing at stake, not league place or entry into Europe. It was a rare golden opportunity to give experience to a few kids.
After 8 years on a so called learning curve, Moyes opted for Osman. That alone summed up his woeful tactical nous.

Derek Thomas
10   Posted 13/05/2010 at 22:45:55

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I agree with Paul Gladwell Re. the in-your-face approach; put in very simplistic terms, "They don't like it up em."

The are a number of analogies that I think apply and a number of provisos to them as agianst taking them literal and absolute, examples are...

Boxers and fighters and the really good ones who KNOW when to do either and can actually do it, example; the 85 Team Vs Bayern.

Which thus in itself gives lie to the old con job that you need experience of Europe to play and succeed there. Q. Just how many European games had the staff and players been involved in in the 10 years prior???

Scissors, paper, stone... A lot of the European teams seem to be 'Paper'; they wrap Us (stone) up in thier tricky devices (aka very good ball skills).

So it comes down to the secret of coaching (I hope the Inquisition of the coaching masons aren't reading this), which is.... tah daaah.

BETTER PLAYERS... That's why the 85 side, with no Euro experience, was named European and World team of the Year.

And we are slowly getting there... As seen Vs Chelsea etc better players and more of them as back up for injuries.

If memory serves, Yobo was Moyes's first big signing and you could see he was, for then, somewhat of what passed for the Real Deal... 6yrs on, when he should be at his peak, there are question marks, some quite valid; especially when compared to Heitinga; Pistone, Baines; Bent, Kilbane, etc etc...

Ironic that Davies looked goodish, scored a good goal and nearly had another... why he'd be like signing a new player.

Money, aye there's the rub... without a bit more, we can only go in baby steps; I think Moyes knows this with his second half of the 5yr plan just starting.

Players like Yobo come to the end of their shelf-life and fall off the everlasting conveyor that is our playing roster, soon (in the mid- to longish-term) it will be Cahill, and Arteta, Saha, Yak and Pienaar for that matter.

One day, hopefully, we will be the old cliche of the 'Overnight Sensation'... That was 10 years in the making.

Just as everything goes wrong, sometimes everything goes right, well it could... but only if we get a ... DECENT PRE-SEASON AND START!
Dennis Stevens
11   Posted 13/05/2010 at 23:20:25

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The performance at home to Sporting was somewhat disappointing, the performance in the return leg was rather embarrassing. I don't think there were any mitigating circumstances that would adequately justify either performance. Moyes & the team he selected got it wrong, especially in Lisbon.
Colin Potter
12   Posted 14/05/2010 at 08:28:24

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Well said Dick Fearon. Not once has he ever said, that a defeat could have been tactial error on his behalf.
Matthew Mackey
13   Posted 14/05/2010 at 10:19:03

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In every season, there is a defining moment and for Everton the defining moment (in my opinion) was in the 91st minute at Villa Park. This is when the Jags unfortunately guided a defensive header towards our back post and Howard was too slow to react and thus fumbled at the ball as it bobbled over the line. At the time, the overall impact to our season was not apparent, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So why do I think that this particular incident more than any other defined our season? The next bit will explain:

(1) If you look at the final PL table and the stats, you will see we finished in 8th and just 3 points off Villa in 6th. Had the Jags header not gone in, had Howard been a bit quicker to react then Everton would have won that game and both Villa and Everton would have finished upon 63 points (we gain 2pts they lose 1pt);

(2) Both sides would have ended up on the same GD of +12 (+ 1 more for us and -1 for Villa);

(3) Having the same points and the same GD then who finishes above who would have then been decided upon who scored the most goals or even who won the most games; in both cases Everton did better than Villa.

So if the Jags unfortunate OG hadn't occurred just 30 seconds from the end of that game then (unfortunately) the RS would have finished 6th (better GD), we would have finished 7th (in Europe) and Villa would be totally out of it like we are now.

The point of my comment is to show just how close we came to pulling off a great achievement after such an appalling start to the campaign primarily due to injuries. I was at that match at Villa Park and for long periods of the game we played them off the park which made the final score even more hard to take.

I hate Villa. Living in the midlands (due to work) I am surrounded by winging, moaning, arrogant shit head fucking Villa fans who seem to think the world owes them a favour and that they are on a par with the Barcelonas and Inter Milans of this world. So it irks me more than most to find them in 6th and us below them for the first time in 5 seasons.

If we hit the ground running next term and manage to hold on to our key players (given a choice i'd rather do that than buy unknown quantities), then I think we can push on to greater things next season.

Rob Young
14   Posted 14/05/2010 at 12:38:08

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Not being in Europe will help us concentrate on the Premier League. Obviously it will as we have no choice but hang on ...

3 years ago when we played many matches in the Uefa Cup we were very much in the hunt for 4th place by the time we were drawn against Fiorentina, also having progressed through to the semi-fainals of the League Cup.

Being in Europe never hurt our league form and I would even suggest the team started playing better because of the experiences gained on the continent. More so, after we were knocked out by Fiorentina, we started to struggle in the league and 'only' finished in 5th.

Two years ago, we were knocked out by Standard and despite not having the distracttions of Europe, we still couln't get higher than 5th.

Somehow makes the whole argument about not being in Europe being a good thing sound ridiculous. What happened to 'NSNO'?

The club and managment team should simply make sure we have a big and good enough squad to be able to deal with league and cup football. When this is not the case and we're relieved not to be competing internationally, it is simply a sign of weakness.

Chris Briddon
15   Posted 14/05/2010 at 12:40:25

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Colin & Dick - cos Fergie is permanently admitting all his glaring tactical errors isn't he!

Fulham set up like we did the year we finished 4th, with a team far more than the individual players. We have moved on from that and generally play a better game (compare league positions between us and Fulham). However, on a one-off game (ie, a cup game) then anybody can beat anybody as Fulham have proven — I mean, come on, Liverpool won the CL in 2005, not cos they were better, or tactically cleverer just that they got the breaks when it mattered — that's what happens in cup competitions.
Tony J Williams
16   Posted 14/05/2010 at 13:47:45

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Dick and Colin, what do you want Moyes to do? Do you want him to come out on Match of the Day and tell everyone how he messed up, that'll go well in the changies wouldn't it? What possible good would it do? All it would do is appease posters who what him to admit he is not the Managerial God they are somehow comparing him to.
Andy Crooks
17   Posted 14/05/2010 at 20:44:45

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Tony, I certainly wouldn't expect any manager to admit his mistakes in public. I would hope that he would learn from them but David Moyes has been slow in doing that.
Tony Cheek
18   Posted 15/05/2010 at 06:36:14

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We were 3 points short of qualifying for the Europa League and putting the RS behind us. The reason we are not in it next year is not that we did not win it, but rather DM's half-hearted attitude in the last few games. Especially the side he picked to play Stoke away was an absolute balls-up. I hope he has more guts next year, because he is running out of excuses.
Matt Traynor
19   Posted 15/05/2010 at 06:25:18

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Fulham played 19 games in the Europa League in getting to the final. I think they will have earned just around £5-6 mill for that.

19 games is half a league season — for one cup competition. Hodgson did state that he felt their league form suffered as a result.

It's very simple (Rob Young) to state that the club & board should provide us with a big and good enough squad to compete in the league & cups, but we all know that isn't going to happen until the current custodians sell out to a suitable investor.

With a good run of luck with injuries, there's really no excuse now for Moyes and his boys not to make a decent fist of the league campaign.

All things being equal, I think Alan Kirwin has it in post #2 — lowest 8th, highest 4th.
Callum Wilson
20   Posted 16/05/2010 at 05:14:21

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Paul, post 6: "I bet Moyes sat torturing himself watching two teams not as good as us in that final."

Personally, I think Atletico Madrid are a pretty good side with a lot of talent and would say they are equal to us at least. I think they would have murdered us if we played them in a final to be honest but that's not just a player-to-player comparison — more Moyes's tactics.

And whoever said I'll stick to Moyes because the subs were wrong etc — Hodgson still got to the final, which Moyes couldn't, and had to beat some serious competition, a few who are the best in there.

Ben Jones
21   Posted 17/05/2010 at 14:35:45

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I think Tony Marsh will be agreeing with this. Where has he been anyway?

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