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Pre-season preparations

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Can anyone shed any light on why Everton are always so badly prepared for the start of the season? I wrongly thought this year would be different. There's no Lescott problem this year, no long-term injuries, no contract situation for Moyes, no midweek qualifying European fixture. Our top players, Pienaar aside, have all signed new contracts each stating their love for the team and manager.

Putting the tactics to one side and the selection of Osman on the right wing, the players didn't look up for it on Saturday. This to me is absolutely criminal. How can our players not be arsed about the start of the new season? This is far more of a fundamental problem than whether Neville and Osman play. If we'd have lost by an awful goalkeeping error but the team had shown some fight, I think a lot more of us would have been a lot more forgiving and left feeling more positive about the Wolves game.

So why the hell can't Moyes get his team properly preprared? Considering Blackburn had a very similar pre-season in terms of the standard of opposition they played (they also went on a tour of Australia), why were their players up for it and not ours? It has to be far more to do with getting the players right mentally, which Moyes obviously has trouble doing.

I've not lost all faith in Moyes because this team will still come good but we may well have lost too much ground on the likes of Spurs and City by that point. I'm getting sick of our season not starting until November and I'm sick of reaching May and saying if only we'd have started the season better.
Alan Clarke, Manchester     Posted 16/08/2010 at 12:49:58

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Jay Harris
1   Posted 16/08/2010 at 13:52:53

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Too early to say Allan with only 1 game in but the signs in the Wolfsburg and Blackburrn matches were worrying.

It seems as if Arteta's new contract has had the opposite effect than what was thought.

He looks to have the weight of the world on his shoulders and the other players seem demotivated.

I hope I'm wrong but it doesnt seem all sweetness and light in the camp at the moment.
Kevin Hudson
2   Posted 16/08/2010 at 13:57:37

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I think for us we perhaps saw it as a tricky game, and stood off them for the opening 20 minutes. Then just as they realised that Blackburn are "no great shakes," as Sharpy is so fond of saying, we started to dictate, only for Howard's Howler to put the mockers on things.

Which placed huge pressure onto our shouldersand ,like Arsenal yesterday, struggled to pick the lock. Arsenal got lucky. We weren't so fortunate.

Frustrating, but no need to pour over it in minutae... 3 points next week! COYB!
Richie James
3   Posted 16/08/2010 at 14:13:24

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Wow, we lose a tricky away game following the most settled and problem free pre-season in recent history and this is the response?

You can speculate about who should or shouldn't have played on Saturday, but to accuse the players of not trying is ludicrous.

Blackburn are well drilled and organised outfit and lost three home games all of last season. They won on Saturday courtesy of an error which I would not expect to see repeated again this year.

It's a frustration I agree, but by no means is the result of 'poor preparations', steady on.
Gareth Humphreys
4   Posted 16/08/2010 at 14:27:01

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They just got beat - it's no biggy.
Simon Watts
5   Posted 16/08/2010 at 14:29:25

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I have said this for the past 3 seasons: Everton's pre-season is the problem. They go and push their bodies to another level, and it is well documented how rigorous it is. I remember Distin's comments about it, compared to all his previous clubs. There is no benefit of this at all unless you gradually work up to this level of fitness, and stay at it. When a player is saying that they feel the effects, which I have noticed on numerous times, a week before the season kicks off, it means that the body is still recovering. The muscles haven't repaired yet, and the player will not get to 100%, endurance and flexibility for weeks, or months.
Jamie Morgan
6   Posted 16/08/2010 at 14:55:12

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I'm not sure what it is to be honest. I would like to think that professional coaches and sports people would know how to get the body up to peak shape by a certain date.

My concern was Neville's comments today about Saturday being a "kick up the backside". I find this completely ridiculous. Didn't we hear this almost exact response after the Wolfsburg defeat?

First day of the season where we are all so excited about our prospects. Not that far to travel, unlike a trip to London, against organised but pretty average opposition. And they couldn't get going? I feel more gutted about each defeat more than ever now and will more so this season, because right now I expect more from them.
Anthony Hughes
7   Posted 16/08/2010 at 15:11:39

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Agree with Jaime, Neville's comments were an absolutely joke, if you can't have your arse into gear for the first day of the season then it's a sad state of affairs.
Joe Carroll
8   Posted 16/08/2010 at 15:19:06

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The fact is, teams lose. It's very early days, and if we now manage to go on a 6-match unbeaten run then this won't look as bad as everyone is making out.

Whilst we don't tend to make a very good start to the season, we seem to finish very strongly where typically in the past few seasons City/Villa have fallen by the wayside. We all want to start well, especially with the obligatory pre-season optimism we all seem to get carried away with every year, but let's just see where we go from here. Hopefully this is the kick up the backside the need.

From a still daringly optimistic blue!
Simon Watts
9   Posted 16/08/2010 at 15:09:44

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Professional coaches and sports people should know how to get the body up to peak shape by a certain date. Obviously they don't, and this is not happening. There is an obvious cause and effect here. Coincidence every year is now too big to ignore. In a month we will start to win again, and play catch up. It is obviously something in pre-season. It is not tactics or anything as we will play the same way with the same team and start winning in one month.
Charles King
10   Posted 16/08/2010 at 15:16:39

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I am of the opinion Saturday's result was a ruse.

Due to the 24-year thingy, we're nailed on for the league title and Sky have asked DM to make the boys look crap.

The "come from behind" title charge is a ratings blockbuster and I reckon DM said he'll try his best to hold back the brilliance till the last minute.

....hiccup!
Brian Lawlor
11   Posted 16/08/2010 at 15:56:13

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Blackburn players were up for it? Really?
I thought it was a poor game all round for both sides and but for an absolute howler it had 0-0 written all over it.

If it had finished 0-0, would we still be seeing these knee-jerk reactions?
Ciarán McGlone
12   Posted 16/08/2010 at 16:00:15

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"Agree with Jaime, Neville's comments were an absolutely joke, if you can't have your arse into gear for the first day of the season then it's a sad state of affairs."
---------

The problem is that you can expect the same crap from Neville after every unexpected loss this season...
Tony J Williams
13   Posted 16/08/2010 at 16:12:26

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Pre-season isn't the reason someone can't seemingly pass the ball to another player. You don't forget how to do that because you have had a few weeks off.

It's the mental part, the movement off the ball where we constantly fail and have done for years.
Tony Hughes
14   Posted 16/08/2010 at 16:37:08

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Gareth Humpreys #4 ? we got beat so its no biggy? Ah well, if you are happy with that, that's ok then!
Alan Kirwin
15   Posted 16/08/2010 at 16:41:43

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It's worrying. In fact more so because having dispensed with the relatively easy pre-season games without much issue, the first realgame (Wolfsburg) we just don't turn up. I mean whatever else is going on, you really want your boys cranking it up in their last PS game before the real action. And it didn't happen.

Osman on the right of a 5 is nonsense. As far as I'm concerned a 5 is also nonsense. There is some deja vu here from when we had the injuries at start of last season. Moyes was bemoaining our lack of wide players and persisted with a middle 5 that didn't work. Other coaches may have looked at it and thought, hmm, well I've got no natural width or pace, we're conceding silly goals too, reckon I'll play more narrow to suit teh players and stick 2 guys in the danger area to snuff thigs out in front of the defence.

Yes, we should have been playing 4-2-3-1 a year ago and we should certainly be playing it now. I guess this is the last hurdle for DM. I mean, we clearly do hit our stride at some point, but it's almost always too late. But also changing things in the game itself tends to come too late or not at all. This MUST change.

How Rodwell could be left out staggers me. Fellaini is a great player but he's not yet fit. Playing Cahill in teh hole is ludicrous. That role is far better suited to Pienaar or Bily. In fact I somehow believe it could be the making of Bily.

If this blip persists then this season could be over before the clocks go back (again). Please god Moyes & Round have watched the video and the devout appreciation of Spain's tactics was not just skin deep puff.
Simon Watts
16   Posted 16/08/2010 at 16:49:59

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No, the pre-season is not time off and playing friendlies. It is the most gruelling exercise routine in the Premier League. Everton's pre-season training is different to other teams, and well known for being over the top. Whereas most teams get back in shape, Everton push the fitness and bodies to another level, and then don't give enough time to settle and rest.
Dan Parker
17   Posted 16/08/2010 at 17:11:50

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We believe our own hype and never learn, manager, players, fans alike. Agree with Simon, players always do come out and say the pre-season is gruelling.

I think Moyes made a few tactical errors as well such as playing Fellaini and putting subs on too late.

No point trying to play pretty football if you can't string two passes together!
Brendan O'Doherty
18   Posted 16/08/2010 at 17:16:47

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Simon Watts (#16) - very good point. You may have something there.
Simon Watts
19   Posted 16/08/2010 at 17:34:35

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If you want to know more about over training, I think the Americans are quite well up on it. This is from the new york times. its worth a read. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/04/health/nutrition/04BEST.html
Garry Corgan
20   Posted 16/08/2010 at 18:51:32

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I saw the game live. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... when a team comes at us, we don't play to our strengths. We hit the panic button and start hoofing it time and time again.

We showed towards the end of the game on Saturday that we can play football and give the likes of Blackburn some serious problems with our passing game. The problem was that with 70+ minutes gone and them holding an unlikely lead, they stuck ten men behind the ball so creating any kind of chance was difficult. Add that to our lack of width and it was too much for us.

Moyes needs to discipline the squad in how to play their way out of trouble and stay calm in the periods of the game in which we're second best.
Andy Crooks
21   Posted 16/08/2010 at 19:13:08

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One of our major problems is an inability to play the ball out of defence. Heitinga can do it and my first choice centre back pairing would be to give a run to him and Distin. I like Jags but if Wenger offers £14 million then we should grab it. We have Duffy coming through and he will be a star. Also, Joseph if we are stuck. Everton minus Jags plus £14 million seems to me to be good business . Then., DM might actually address the problem wide right and maybe, even introduce some pace into the side. I believe the game against Wolves is our most important for some time.Anyone care to predict the starting eleven?
Des Farren
22   Posted 16/08/2010 at 18:53:51

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I can't shed any more light on why we start each season so poorly. Badly prepared? Possibly. Pre-season too concentrated on physical fitness? Also possible. But why should this problem present itself every year?

At the beginning of each season we see all that is worst about Everton... back to hoofball,a lack of confidence in players to do the simple things, poor body language, and, generally, a feeling of not enough motivation or preparation for the task facing them.

Coincidence? Hardly...

Tony Rice
23   Posted 16/08/2010 at 20:05:37

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People are right in saying it is only one match... however, Everton have now lost SIX of their past eight Premier League opening fixtures. Hardly a "knee-jerk" reaction to question the club's pre-season preperations.
David Price
24   Posted 16/08/2010 at 19:47:22

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Didn't see Arsenal getting slated for a performance by them that was so similar to ours. The only difference was Robinson pulls off a decent save opposed to someone throwing the ball in the net. The basic syle of play is conducive to lasting the season. The obvious requirement is directness at the right time to get the elusive goal.

This team is capable of winning games 5 and 6 on the spin. The quality within can take on last years top 7 and in a straight fight player for player and take them. As mentioned by some of the lads, our issue is breaking teams down, usually after giving them a goal start as per the first few home games of last season.

Moyes now has to show his tactical development in picking a team that plays in a way the opposition will least favour. On Saturday we put out a side that held no fear to Blackburn and, after gifting the goal, a gamble was required to change tact. Pienaar wasn't having the best, so Big Sam would not have been prepared if Arteta suddenly went left, a position he graced three seasons ago, Rodwell came centre and was given license a la SG to attack, Bily on for Cahill to probe off the front man or alternating with Osman. All this with the beauty of hindsight, in truth, Saha and Osman could have come off as well, such was the collective drabness from the general play.

It was one of those games that we are unfortuately prone to produce. The key now as noted in an earlier post, is that after 6 games to read won 5 lost 1.

Reality check taken, myself included, that nothing comes easy in this league other than a defeat but to read some of the stuff on TW made a lot of you sound like Kopites and Rafa was in charge. Get behind them, the team will put it right.

Mick Wrende
25   Posted 16/08/2010 at 20:58:57

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There were 2 problems on Saturday - we played crap pre season friendlies - 3 Australian sides that Macclesfield could beat, some Chile deadbeats and Norwich. As soon as we played a reasonable side like Wolfsburg we are poor. And on Saturday we had the wrong side out - other world cup players are out there now but we cant get Heitinge ready and Osman and Hibbert are nowhere near good enough. I think Allan Clarke is right in that we always take ages to get going. Moyes needs to be much more adventurous and play Coleman and Bily and attack on both flanks.
Jay Harris
26   Posted 16/08/2010 at 20:59:05

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Ah David
if only you were right!!

Arsenal tore a good Liverpool side , motivated by their new manager, apart in the first half.

We couldnt even muster a shot on target until Jags in the last few minutes.

Now if you're comparing Blackburn to Liverpool and 40 odd thousand screaming RS supporters then I'm afraid you are even more deluded than your post suggests.

By ANY standards we were extremely poor against poor opposition as we were against Wolfsburg.

We can all theorise on explanations but we cannot avoid the fact we WERE poor and lost at least 1 point that may be valuable come the end of the season.
David Price
27   Posted 16/08/2010 at 22:35:03

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Jay, did say it was collective drabness, Arsenal like us created nothing and like us over passed it because that's what Blackburn wanted us to do and parked the bus.Didn't notice them tearing RS apart.

No comparisons made with RS and Blackburn at all just the way the flow of the game went in both matches. RS played well but won't maintain that intense level all season due to no squad depth.

Anyway bottom line, we were poor and have to trust Moyes to sort it.
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
28   Posted 16/08/2010 at 22:31:47

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David Price, this forum is provided for all Evertonians to air their views on all things Everton. That latitude does not extend to you being insulting towards your fellow fans. I'm clamping down this season on comments that denigrate the contributions of others, such as:

"...to read some of the stuff on TW made a lot of you sound like Kopites and Rafa was in charge." If you have some valid basis to enter the debate and question the opinions provided, then do so, but don't descend to posting stuff like that, please.

Some other points: (1) Gareth Humphreys: "They just got beat - it's no biggy." Do you honestly think many of your fellow Evertonians appreciate being told that? This is along the same lines as Main and Price, suggesting that concern expressed on these pages by others is worthy only of disdain. Please don't post stuff like this.

(2) The crap about "knee-jerk reactions". Again, people are commenting on the game and what they saw. Don't belittle their comments by labeling them as "knee-jerk reactions", please.

Alan Clarke
29   Posted 16/08/2010 at 23:18:42

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David, I think we will get behind the team come Saturday. There's no way the fans will accept a similar performance to that this Saturday. You can look at it 2 ways though, one game lost or like Tony Rice says 6 of the last 8 lost. And they've all been lost in similar pathetic fashion. You can see why people start to question Moyes when he reverts to this type of football and his old tried and tested hoofball tactics. Has he learnt anything during his time at Everton? Playing Osman wide right suggests he hasn't learnt much. Please prove me wrong, Mr Moyes.
Tony Rice
30   Posted 17/08/2010 at 01:28:23

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Well Alan....I'm going to behind the team on Sat....I'm coming over from Canada to see my FIRST league match at Goodison vs Wolves! My 8-year-old son Will (Everton) Rice is beside himself to see them play live....

COYB !

David Price
31   Posted 17/08/2010 at 15:58:11

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Michael, if you had a laugh at the Echo comments from the RS, which is over the top alarmist criticism then you would see a vague parrallel with some of the manic doomsday thoughts coming out from the Saturday's defeat. I always thought our supporters were more informed with their opinions.

However, I take your point they are opinions, as are mine.

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