I was disappointed but not in any way surprised to read in that Sporting Life article Moyes's reaffirmation of his deeply rooted defensive mindset when it comes to football management. It's an age old ethos that many will claim as the root to success... summed up in this line: "I would prefer a 1-0, as a coach that's what you do."
But it only works if you have the right kind of counter when your team (well... David Moyes's team) almost inevitably goes behind or loses that precious 1-0 lead by yielding a silly goal. Moyes's solution to the problem is not yielding that silly goal, sticking to the 1-0 win.
What do you do when the other side goes 1-0 on you (Blackburn)?
What do you do when you get the 1-0 lead, but then squander it and go 1-1 (Wolves)???
Obviously you must go up the other end and score!
The lesson from the first two games this season, which constitute a very poor start to this vital league campaign, is that you absolutely need something else when 1-0 doesn't happen.
You must attack when you have the ball, you must retain possession, you must play the ball out of the back, you must pass accurately, your players must move off the ball and show for it....
So to me the huge irony is this classic line ? not from Moyes but from the journalist:
Everton hit five themselves in demolishing Huddersfield in the Carling Cup in midweek but Moyes remains concerned by the team's general lack of goal threat.Go Figure! Why do you think Moyes's teams carry a general lack of goal threat? Do you think it might have something to do perhaps with the manager's total preoccupation with defending? I wonder... ?
Well, to my eye, that's the way we play far too much under Moyes. His players must have this defensive ethos drummed into them 24/7 on the training field, attackers made to forever "track back" and defend.
Playing just one striker up front seems such a defensive formation but we have been told it can be attacking if you have width and play with full-backs who can come forward and overlap.
I don't want to get dragged into the Hibbert/Neville/Coleman argument, but it's hard not to think of Coleman's effect and be forever frustrated by the fact that this exciting player is being held back for the precise reason that his defending is a bit lacking!!!
So, just when we need to come out and attack to rectify the deadening effect of this poor league start, Moyes comes out with this affirmation of what I strongly believe has prevented us from winning anything under him these past 8 seasons.
Unless the ethos changes to embrace attacking play when we have the ball, I can see this preoccupation with defense could once again prove to be our undoing.
Michael Kenrick Posted 28/08/2010 at
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1 Posted 28/08/2010 at 13:58:49
2 Posted 28/08/2010 at 14:13:35
3 Posted 28/08/2010 at 14:23:56
Last week against Wolves it was clear that whenever Hibbert overlapped his crossing and driving into the box abilities were sadly lacking and he is a seasoned PL player also, so he is not going to improve. He also then started to get run ragged by the Wolves left sided player in the last 15 min or so. We counteracted this by bringing on Osman, so compounding the problem.
An introduction of Coleman would have switched the onus onto the Wolves left side to counteract a direct attacker running at them... but no, we reverted to type and opted for Osman/Hibbert and got absolutely nothing down the right side for the rest of the game.
4 Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:07:35
You make some good points, our ability to change the course of a game is very worrying, but we have done it against the best in recent times (Chelsea, Man United last season).
Also, look at our most successful seasons in recent times under Moyes. Two 5th place finishes, built on a solid centre back partnership of Lescott and Jags, we conceded more than 10 goals less both seasons than we did last year with a lesser new recruit (Distin), and a classy centre back who cannot play in the LCB position (Heitinga).
As Moyes says, we do need to get back to the basics of defending, then we wont concede the goals that put us 1-0 down to the likes Blackburn.
It is hard to argue that Moyes's style has got more defensive since 2008, just in 2008 we didn't make so many sloppy mistakes and we were better at playing that way.
Also, look at the players we have at our disposal, creative players we are fine for, we are lacking a genuine right winger and a top left sided central defender. A 20-goal a season striker would be a bonus.
But last season we scored 60 in 38 so this is not the problem for me.
A solution as to how we win a game away from home after going behind would be nice, but not going behind in the first place would be a lot better.
5 Posted 28/08/2010 at 14:48:48
Can anyone think of a manager who has been at a club for a long-ish time, who suddenly had a "road to Damascus" moment, and changed his total outlook? Cos I can't.
Actually, a second, related question:
If we suddenly had access to the transfer funds, would he sign players who would totally transform the way we play, or would he go for better players to play in his system?
6 Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:29:21
Not conceeding and defending well gives forward players more licence and confidence to attack, and in a more flambuoyant way.
If you have poor defenders/ goalkeeper, then attacking midfielders and strikers will be less willing to take risks.
What do you do when 1-0 behind Blackburn?
Hell, I'll give you a different question. What do you do when 1-0 behind Chelsea or Man U? Well on the example of Moyes' teams the last time that happened, you go up the other end and score two or three.
7 Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:26:26
100% spot on, this article will forever sum up David Moyes reign as Everton manager.
It's this rigid defense at all costs attitude which has seen us come unstuck in two-legged European football and also when we go behind to well organised teams.
David Moyes has built one of the best Everton squads in recent memory but maybe just maybe it will require another manager with a less inhibited/defensive mindset to get the best out of it.
David Moyes when Plan A doesn't work never seems to have a Plan B. It's one thing having a defensive formation etc but, when we go behind, Moyes also needs to have a attack plan as well, which, to be honest, we don't.
David Moyes has taken the team and the squad to a new level but I now firmly believe that in order to reach the next level we now require a different way of thinking.
8 Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:36:20
We are the only club at our level where the only concern is to preserve the status quo. Rather than look to get better we just want to avoid going back to being bad. In a couple of years another club can enjoy Rodwell playing and being a great midfielder.
9 Posted 28/08/2010 at 15:59:17
I think it is time for boldness, Villa are all over the place ? let's take the game by the scruff of the neck and go for it; to quote Fredrick the Great "He who defends everything, defends nothing"
10 Posted 28/08/2010 at 16:46:13
You make a great point regarding possession, as frustratingly, we so often lose it far too cheaply. I also agree with you on the need for us to be looking to dictate games, and habitually develop an attacking posture.
I often feel that teams who project confidence & intent, intimidate the opposition into retreat. There were signs of us hunting in packs at Ewood Park, and Blackburn withdrew to their own box. If our final ball had been better, they could have been lambs to the slaughter, because THEY had no secondary tactics at 1-0.
I believe we have the ability to learn how to dictate games, and perfect the art of picking the lock. In due course, I would take it as a compliment to see teams park the bus against us. Which of course poses more tactical problems! It isn't simply a case of shooting fish in a barrel...
... As I see the PL as a predominantly counter-attack based league, and I think that suits three-quarters of the teams. But, like all Evertonians, I know which quarter we would like to be occupying.
Therefore, the method of getting there, lies solely at Moyes's feet. Will he eschew the safety net, and grab the bull by the horns?
I doubt it, as I believe he sees more than one way to skin a cat. We may well see a continuation of the 'horses for courses' approach,continuing the gradual development of this club's psychology: from defence to attack.
Nota Bene: Please excuse my over-usage of farmyard metaphors!!
11 Posted 28/08/2010 at 17:28:42
In our case, we don't have the quality in wide areas for this system and the lone striker is rarely supported and generally spends most of the game frustrated with his back to goal. I would prefer us to play to our strengths and have Beckford and Cahill playing in tandem at the front of a 4-4-2.
Until we address the right wing situation, we are going to struggle with our current shape; DM's defensive mindset and his inability to positively react when things go pear-shaped just compounds the situation.
I personally would prefer it if we took more chances and attacked more, Pienaar must start on the left with Baines and that shirker Bily would be bombed out in favour of Gueye. I know this causes a dilemma in the middle between Fellaini and Rodwell but surely it would be healthy for them to battle for a starting place:
Heitinga Jags Gueye Pienaar
12 Posted 28/08/2010 at 18:59:40
13 Posted 28/08/2010 at 18:59:29
Thought as much.
14 Posted 28/08/2010 at 19:07:22
15 Posted 28/08/2010 at 19:11:15
I found DM's comments depressing but to be expected given the "safety first" ethos of his tenure as manager so far.
I want Everton players to play without fear, to be brimful of self-confidence and to be able to express themselves freely and play expansive, adventurous football.
For this to happen, the players need a Manager who loves the beautiful game and makes his players BELIEVE ? Is DM capable of this?
16 Posted 28/08/2010 at 19:18:37
My biggest criticism is that we seemed to have lost the will or inclination to press the opposition when they are in possession and therefore sit back too deep instead of defending further forward.
I posted something last season which I called "In yer face" which I think Michael changed for aesthetic reasons but we used to be right on the opposition and were keeping clean sheets.
Now we have discovered we can play football and pass the ball, we seem to have lost the art of defending on the front foot.
Even our striker(s) don't seem to chase defenders down as much anymore.
17 Posted 28/08/2010 at 19:31:31
Even the title sums it up just right, you're unlikely to concede when you've got the ball, especially in the opponents half.
I prefer a 2-0 or a 3-0 to a 1-0, and a 2-1 is factually a better result than 1-0, as your 'goals scored' column is potentially a deciding factor. These are indeed depressing comments from Moyes, especially when it seems we are beginning to look to play good passing football regularly. Of course we need to defend well, but that's 'defend well', not 'be defensive a look to win 1-0'.
I can only hope this isn't going to be reflected in performances, as we're now in a position to create chances and goals regularly, so that's what we should be doing.
18 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:14:46
"Now we have discovered we can play football and pass the ball, we seem to have lost the art of defending on the front foot."
Totally agree with that Jay, and I remember you making this point on a recent thread.
The closing down of the opposition seems to have receded in the last season or two. It used to be that there were games where we were ahead, and you absolutely knew that we would have no problem keeping the lead and getting the result. We were so difficult to break down.
It seems to me that since the Jags/Lescott partnership was broken up, this has dissipated. This has also coincided with the better style of football we saw last season. I think that getting back to being solid in this way, is what DM means when he talks about getting back to defending. Hopefully it will not compromise our relatively newly-found attacking prowess.
19 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:31:12
Wait a minute: 3-0... better another 6-0 slaughter of Villa! Far, far better than a 1-0 'park the bus' typical bite-yer-nails defensive Moyes display.
As Michael Evans (#15) says... WE WANT TO BE ENTERTAINED!!! It was only Huddersfield... but how much fun was that? Who didn't feel great watching the goals fly in?
Some good posts by others: Steve (#4) makes some fair points. The most effective defensive partnership Moyes built was Jagielka and Lescott: he was distraught that this was busted up, and that was a massive factor last season.
My problem is that it feels like he must rein in the attacking invention of the team unless he is totally 100% satisfied with the strength of the defence. For presumably that is the thinking behind the ability of these players to perform against Man Utd, Chelsea and Man City (x2) last season.
We DO have the players; I just want him to be more adventurous with them. This post fby Anthony Hughes from an earlier thread really sums it up well, I think:
Moyes is a conservative, safety-first manager; it's not his style to go out and play attacking football. Some of this has been down to lack of resources down the years but apparently we do now have options going forward; however, whether he can break out of his defensive mindset is another thing.Mike Allison (#17) ? Cheers, lad! I fully expected the ritual slaughter for daring to question the wisdom and omnipotence of the Moyesiah... like this next post, which some guy called Jake thought was worthy of being a free-standing article...
More often than not, though, when were linked with or buy players, they seem to be right-backs or centre-halves which is an indicator of howh is football philosophy is. Moyes has his positives when it comes to backs-to-the-wall, up-against-it mentality type performances but I don't think we'll ever be the great entertainers under him.
20 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:44:51
He is there at the training ground day-in and day-out. Even in his time off in the summer he goes and scouts players. He has made us from relegation favourites to top 4 challengers in 8 years. He broke into the top 4 by spending less than £5 million. Now what manager has done that since?
We are notorious slow starters, that has been the case for a number of years now but when we play a big team at home that usually kick-starts our season. Liverpool last year ? after that game we didn?t lose till February ? and Manchester United the year before.
I know Moyes could play Coleman and start Rodwell. But he knows what he is doing, I was there on Wednesday against Huddersfield and Coleman was great going forward, yes, but he was exposed at the back a couple of times. I know we didn?t get punished for it but they were Lower League opposition. Now against Villa we could get punished for them. We are best letting him break into the team gradually.
Rodwell on the other hand is a different prospect; he is more mature and is already experienced. But I think he needs Fellaini or Heitinga holding the midfield for him; that means you have to drop Cahill or Arteta. Now we cannot afford to lose Arteta in the midfield, he is the player that keeps us ticking. But we are playing Villa who have big men all over the park we need a player who will try and get every ball.
So the prospect of Jack Rodwell is very exciting but if he comes in it could upset the balance of our team. I know you will be saying but Rodwell can hold the midfield and he is young, strong, quick and has an eye for goal. He would be better in an attacking role as his goal record in pre-season shows. So Moyes leaving Rodwell out is the right thing in my opinion because the balance of the team would be disrupted otherwise.
Knowing our luck we will have a bad injury and Rodwell will come into the team and do well. So I'm going to end this article I want everyone to remember?.. In Moyes We Trust
21 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:32:54
Btw, why does Howard, when he takes control of the ball, hold it until every player on the pitch is back in position? Surely a long throw/kick to someone moving forward, occasionally, might show dividends. But who am I...
22 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:46:37
The things that cry out presently are that Heitinga should move into centre defence, have Coleman as an attacking right back, and play Rodwell.
Oh and he still doesn't seem to realise ? if you play Osman, don't stick him on the right!!!!!
23 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:52:15
24 Posted 28/08/2010 at 20:55:49
In the 2007-08 season, our record was won 17, drew 12 and lost 9 and in 2008-09 it was won 16, drew 13 and lost 9. Pretty consistent, unless I have the wrong numbers, which often happens. Now if we can change a few of the draws into wins and a few of the loses against poor teams into draws or wins, then we could be up their in the top four.
To do that, we have to change the way we have been playing over the last few years... and yes, I know about the injuries etc. So far this season, it looks like more of the same. We have a loss, which should have at least been a draw, and a draw, which should have been a win.
If we lose at Villa and then lose against United, we will once more have had a poor start to the season. It is stating the obvious to say the Villa game is a must-win. If we go in with a defensive mindset, I fear the worst.
25 Posted 28/08/2010 at 21:34:21
Would you take that?
Yes, you would, wouldn't you?
26 Posted 28/08/2010 at 21:58:58
Yet the manager says, "We're going to have a go."
Another thread bemoans our pink away strip, we should consider tangerine.
27 Posted 28/08/2010 at 22:25:02
Can we score against Villa? Yup. will they score against us? Yup.
Everton are never going to be one of those sides who score 80 goals in a campaign (i.e. United and Chelsea and no sod else), therefore the key to a successful season is winning 1-0 instead of drawing 1-1 AGAINST SODDING TEAMS LIKE WOLVES.
28 Posted 28/08/2010 at 23:39:36
29 Posted 28/08/2010 at 23:45:04
30 Posted 29/08/2010 at 00:36:32
Now, I would be happy to say eight years no trophy but what a fun ride it has been. It has been in the main grim. Someone said (I apologise for not remembering who) that it was like the era of Gordon Lee. They were spot on, except for missing the comparative entertainment of those days.
I am hoping that injuries might bring a more positive side tomorrow but I doubt it. Time, I fear, will show that these have been wasted years. It didn't and it doesn't have to be like this.
31 Posted 29/08/2010 at 01:15:25
That was pure entertainment that was.
32 Posted 29/08/2010 at 01:35:06
31 - Mike, "Not like the flirting with relegation before Moyes". well ok, how about wiining things in the 80's before Moyes. Moyes cannot keep getting away with, well at least it;s better than the dark old days of Walter Smith, WS was the worst manager in our history.
33 Posted 29/08/2010 at 01:35:23
I think that Andy might like Walter Smith back in charge. After all, he's on first name terms with him. Now that's what I would call "grim".
Nothing like wasting years finishing in the top 6 most of the time, is there ?
34 Posted 29/08/2010 at 05:52:28
Why can't we criticize Moyes? His tactics have been shite so far and with the squad we have we shouldn't be playing hoof ball and defending so much against the likes of Blackburn and Wolves. We may be slow-starters in the league but it does not excuse his tactical failings as a manager. And is there any reason why we SHOULD start slow in the league? Wouldn't it be better to hit the ground running? One point from two games is relegation form!
35 Posted 29/08/2010 at 06:42:10
36 Posted 29/08/2010 at 08:57:47
37 Posted 29/08/2010 at 10:09:48
What most Evertonians that don't agree with you are trying to say in simple terms is that we have a Great Racehorse but a BAD Jockey. This team would thrive under a positive attacking manager.
And dont reply by 'Well Who Would You Have' because Martin O'Neill won 9 trophies to Moyes's none, but is not good enough in your blind blinkered opinion. Steve McLaren won the Carling Cup, got Boro to the Uefa Cup Final and won the Dutch League but i know you think Moyes is better. There are many managers out there who would make this squad into a winning team.
38 Posted 29/08/2010 at 10:34:21
If we played more attacking football then in my opinion we would win more games. It's horses for courses and we don't seem to be playing the right tactics given the teams we have been playing. Villa are there for the taking (if we attack them). Curtis Davis FFS! ? I rest my case.
39 Posted 29/08/2010 at 10:31:49
I think if, at the end of the season, we have finished around 7th or 8th, then Moyes is a big enough man to recognise that as failure given the squad he now has at his disposal. Whether that results in the club and manager deciding to part ways, or to Moyes reviewing his defensive approach, then time will tell.
40 Posted 29/08/2010 at 10:35:26
Couple Howard's lack of throwing and one of my pet hates that every single set-piece throw-in or corner in our area has every single player back in the box, leaving us no chance to counter-attack quickly. I wish Moyes would try to leave just one or two players near the halfway line for these, giving us a chance to counter-attack but it's another classic defend-at-all-costs example.
41 Posted 29/08/2010 at 11:09:18
Is Moyes channeling Walter Smith?! Every time I watch, I see different tactics. Moyes has had time now to win us something, how can you say after scoring 5 (6 actually!!!) we lack goal threat, admittedly against inferior opposition?! But I've been patient and now I want us to win something.
Like Joe (#57), I have supported the Blues for over 50 years and now want Everton to have a respectful slot on MotD! Let's hope Villa isn't another banana skin!
42 Posted 29/08/2010 at 13:30:38
"is Moyes channeling Walter Smith"
I'm still chuckling, wish I'd come up with it... great stuff!
43 Posted 29/08/2010 at 14:27:56
44 Posted 29/08/2010 at 14:41:14
Too simpleton? Maybe.... But give it a crack. We need those 3 points.
45 Posted 29/08/2010 at 14:48:53
Or maybe it is because an £11 million forward got crocked a year and half into his contract, We have spend months since with no availble strikers.
And the only money we've had since has been for £1 million players. And we have got four of them, three this year.
Had Moyes £10 million to spend, I think he'd get a striker, unless he's confident Yak will be back to anything like his best. The players he has got in the past three or year years show me that.
And why does this site insist on spelling defence with an s?
46 Posted 29/08/2010 at 15:21:30
I like Moyesie but he does some very bizarre things, especially in the development of star material.
47 Posted 29/08/2010 at 16:20:35
48 Posted 29/08/2010 at 20:11:04
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