It's not been a great start to the season. Leaking goals, one league win, and hovering just above the Premier League basement. A far cry from any aspiration to consolidate on last season's performance and even challenge for the Top 4.

Doubtless there will be those who want to point the finger at Roberto Martinez; after all, his record with Wigan was far from stellar, FA Cup win notwithstanding. Could it be that his first season was so successful because he managed to build on a solid foundation that had been set in place by his predecessor? Is second- season Everton no more than a higher-profile Wigan with better known players?

Time will tell. Martinez is a refreshingly positive and charming man, but he should not be above questioning. Was he too keen to spend too much on Lukaku (though most Evertonians were probably quite pleased at the signing when it happened)? Was he too quick to bring too many Wigan players with him? Can he instill greater defensive steel? Can he consistently get the best out of Lukaku?

There certainly seem to be some mitigating circumstances in all of this.

  1. Injuries to key players. Barkley, Mirallas and Coleman are three of Everton's most explosive threats. Defending against Everton minus these three players has to be an easier prospect than if all three are full fit and firing on all cylinders. It's ironic that it's these younger, pacier players who are injured, while old warhorses like Osman and Barry stay fit!
  2. Individual and collective mistakes. Coaching can do a certain amount, but teams are still prone to individual errors of judgment.
  3. Four of the games so far have been against teams with top 4 aspirations (they may not all finish there, but it's what they aspire to). That should not be an excuse for conceding 6 at home, nor is it an excuse for defeat at home to Crystal Palace.

Will the return from the post-international break signal some positive momentum?

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Reader Comments (40)

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Clive Rogers
1 Posted 09/10/2014 at 17:10:48
I know what you are saying Alan, but those 3 are not really mitigating circumstances. More part and parcel of the game. The third won’t apply at all after the next 6 games, so we will all have a better idea then.

Personally I think it was a big mistake not to bring in the 6 or 7 new faces promised pre season. The squad needed freshening in several areas. This didn’t happen and we are paying the price. EFC never seems to consolidate on success. It’s always 3 forward and 2 back.

Ian McDowell
2 Posted 09/10/2014 at 18:27:30
Fair point, Alan. I fully agree especially the injuries. Barkley, Coleman, Mirallas we just haven't backup of a sufficient quality for them.
Michael Winstanley
3 Posted 09/10/2014 at 19:22:24
I find us over cautious, like we're playing within ourselves.
James Stewart
4 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:05:05
Squad is not big or good enough for top 4. An ageing defence was not adequately reinforced and we have no replacements for Injuries to key men like Barkley, Mirallas etc. First 11 a match for anyone but beyond that not so much. Same old Everton .
Steve Orchard
5 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:10:34
We seem to be very slow in attacks and possession this season; it was a lot more direct last year, especially when we had a breakaway on. Just look at the amount of chances we had to break against the RS and we balls it up by checking and stopping and slowing it down.

Now, with all the injuries, it's time to see if Roberto can get more from these fringe players. The return of Barkley can't come soon enough!

Darren Hind
6 Posted 09/10/2014 at 19:21:41
I blame the over-the-top adoration and from a section of our fan base for Martinez's shambolic management since May. They repeatedly told him he could do no wrong and boy did he believe them.

"A top class manager destined for one world football's top jobs." On current form, Robbie will have to buy an alehouse in Barcelona to have any chance at all of managing there...

Robbie's worshiping disciples have been embarrassed. They excused the extended holiday he took this summer, but it has come back to bite him on the arse. While he was "scouting" in Brazil, other Premier League managers were getting busy signing players here.

Martinez has neglected his duties. He knew we needed 6-7 players, he even said as much in May, but instead of securing those signatures, he spent his time raising his own profile in Brazil – and please don't tell me all the transfer kitty was spent. There was enough left to try to tempt Demba Ba here (㾶 m?) before the window closed.

Talking of transfer dealings – How much of the 㿞-odd million spent on Lukaku, Kone, Robles, McCarthy and McGeady do you think he would recoup if he were to sell them all in January? 㿊M? ... 㿔M? One thing is absolutely certain: he wouldn't get anywhere near what he paid for them.

Mitigating Circumstances? One thing is certain: there'll be no shortage of excuses...

Patrick Murphy
7 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:26:36
Apparently there have been 666 injuries to Everton players in the past 12 years, that seems a high figure at first glance especially as it feels like we have had 600 in the last six months.
Patrick Murphy
8 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:28:22

Football is built upon excuses and cop-outs and it is also full of people who have a myopic view and constantly fail to acknowledge the good points. I still don't believe that you and your like-minded fans are correct in your assertions about the Summer and the TV work. But I do admit that the gloss is coming off Roberto a little and he has a tough job to get Everton back to winning ways.

Perhaps we should have been happy with 7th place after all and I for one would certainly settle for a top-half place come the end of the season at this juncture.

I'm not happy about the situation; I'm even less happy that people like yourself seem to be enjoying the poor start to the season but I do acknowledge that being right is far more important to some fans than the success of the club on the pitch.

Mike Price
9 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:32:31
I'm pro Martinez but am disappointed in him this season. I agree that he neglected his duties, the pre-season was a joke and I wonder if that's contributed to all these injuries we're picking up. The season's fast becoming a write-off already.

I actually think that his management has been lazy. Lukaku, Barry, Hibbert and Howard, not to mention Robles, Kone and Alcaraz last summer, were all signed because it was easy but we should have done a lot better. We've spent a lot of money and given some long contracts to players that simply aren't worth it. It's these decisions, the lack of value and economic negligence that could come back to haunt us and him, for years to come.

Darren Hind
10 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:58:49

"Enjoying the poor start to the season"?

I dreaded this, had nightmares about it, and when I expressed those fears, people like you told me everything would be okay... and you think I'm enjoying it???

It's not a general knowledge quiz: football is not about being right or wrong. Your comments are a disgrace.

Kevin Tully
11 Posted 09/10/2014 at 20:59:13
Has anyone realised there are 31 games left to play? Obituaries are being penned for most of the squad, and the manager, yet we still have 93 points to play for.

Sometimes, I think ToffeeWeb should have the poster's age next to their name. That way, at least we could understand why they are acting like spoilt teenagers, when that may well be the case. (Kevin - 15½)

Nick Entwistle
12 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:08:10
Whatever and whenever the problems, if you're five points off top four, you have to remain positive.

Kevin Tully
14 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:19:35
Darren, nobody disagrees it has been an awful start, and the manager has to carry the can. The substitutions have been bizarre, and the team look unfit.

Now, we have a very good chance of pickling up 10 points out of the next 4 games, then we may possibly be back amongst in the top 6 very near future. Until then, I refuse to write off the season, worry about relegation, or want the manager out of the door.

Give your own team a chance, mate.

Darren Hind
15 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:27:34

No obituaries from me. I backed this team to finish top four and I don't think they have turned shite overnight. But we have dropped 7 or 8 points that we never should have dropped and for that I hold the manager responsible.

I fully expect us to turn things around but, whatever happens, we cannot get those squandered points back They will still count come the final reckoning.

Just as a matter of interest, Kevin, we know you beat the drum loudly for Robbie last season, but if you were marking him out of 10 since the Hull game, how many would you give him?

Bobby Thomas
16 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:27:11
Mike Price #9

I agree we are becoming a soft touch on deals handed out.

Im thinking specifically of the Barry, Eto’o, Kone and Hibbert deals.

We’ve had the best of Barry already in my opinion. Now, he’s good, but clearly will only deteriorate and is going to be sat on that deal at 36. It reminds me, a little, of the deal we gave Saha when it was never going to get any better than his 2nd season. By the end he could hardly move!! Outright finished.

No doubt the 3 year deal swung it. For me, anyone with a football brain can play holding. Surely we could have gotten someone younger and cheaper in? I will be interested to see how much Barry contributes in the third year of his deal.

Likewise Eto’o. I was very surprised it was a two year deal and the wages will be steep. He will be a squad player. The main reason he’s here will be the 2 year deal.

With his age and injury record of late a 2 year deal for Hibbert is simply ridiculous, low wages or not.

I knew the Kone deal was dead money before the injury. Age wise for a striker the deal was all wrong. We need to be taking players 27 and under.

I actually also think we possibly should have sold Baines if it was do-able. Fit as a fiddle and never injured, but had his best days for me.

Like it or not we live on sell-on value. These players have none.

We need to watch it. The club is losing its discipline and its not just defensively.

Kevin Tully
17 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:41:04
Darren, that’s the whole point in a nutshell. I don’t want to judge any manager, or player, over 6 or 7 games. I doubt that will satisfy you though, so I will give him a manky 5/10, or a D.

The pre-season means nothing now the real thing is underway, and we can only say his decisions have come back to haunt us after our last game.

I am not blind to the manager’s shortcomings, but I do think he changed it enough at Anfield to show he learnt from last season. If it wasn’t for Howard having one of his worst ever games against Palace, the picture would be so much different. So many individual mistakes have cost us this season. Cut those out, and we’ll be back to our best soon enough.

After many years of letting the bigger kids take our dinner money off us, I believe Martinez will stand up to them all. We may get a few bloody noses, but we will throw a few good punches ourselves.

It takes some balls to try and ’out-football’ the likes of Arsenal, and we even tried it on their own patch. That courage wins you trophies, and we need a manger who believes we can win things, not one who thinks a top half finish is a miracle.

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:05:46
How much has he been allowed to spend? There should be more in the kitty even allowing for the improved wages for players with new contracts.

Maybe Kenwright has closed the purse as usual, wouldn’t surprise most of us on here.

Jamie Crowley
19 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:10:56
I'm with Kevin Tully 100%.

I was also one of the persons who said there's nothing to worry about, even submitting an article "Try Decaf."

Yes, I was wrong-ish, but only in part.

How the hell do you legislate for what?, 8-9 players (damn good ones by the way) being out with injuries?

How the hell do you legislate for Jags missing an easy defensive header to lose points (Arsenal)?

How the hell do you legislate for our defense and keeper being sub-par when we were arguably stellar in defense last season? I'd not have changed a thing other than I'd have started Stones ahead of Jags beginning of the season.

Martinez is not above reproach. But Jesus have some perspective and put the knives away already!

Jamie Crowley
45 years old

Dan Brierley
20 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:56:43
I don't agree here Alan. I think for two of the points, you are looking at the symptoms rather than the causes.

1. Injuries: Caused by the fact that the players were simply not conditioned correctly going into the season.

2. Mistakes: Happening more often due to the defensive players clearly not being comfortable with the system they are being asked to play. Uncertainty will always lead to more mistakes.

3. Not too long ago, it was our defensive mindset holding us back. 60 million later and it's a mitigating factor to lose against top four.

Historically, we have been at our best when the chips are down. The glorious thing about difficult times, is that it gives you the opportunity to show your true value. Martinez record at Wigan showed that he wasn't able to get the players motivated enough to avoid relegation. He now has a chance to put that right, and show a more pragmatic approach that might mean occasionally sacrificing possession football, in favour of a more aggressive, direct approach. Whilst I admire his dedication to his footballing beliefs, I think he really needs to learn how to grind out those single goal, 'ugly' wins for when times are tough. Playing possession football when you are low on confidence seems to smack of 'I change my style for nobody' type arrogance.

John Daley
21 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:37:05
"While he was "scouting" in Brazil other premiership managers were getting busy signing players here"

Darren, which 'faster than a speeding bullet' bosses got the jump on their half-wit rivals by getting all their business done and dusted during the World Cup?

If someone (who could be bothered with such things) worked out the total number of deals done pre-season then I'm pretty sure the figure following the World Cup would comfortably dwarf those from preceding and during the World Cup. Does that mean the majority of the leagues managers were also off on a jolly then? Perhaps they were taking turns lying on a sun lounger in Sao Paolo, supping lagers and staring at birds in bikini to see if they had the telltale lower bum bulge that screams 'Tranny with a tucked back scrotum'. No? Just Brenda then.

"How much of the 50
odd million spent on Lukaku, Kone, Robles McCarthy and McGeady do you think he would recoup if he were to sell them all in January?.... he wouldnt get anywhere near what he paid for them."

Maybe not but so what? If you're going to look at signings purely as investments rather than players then, like any investment, you have to realise you're not going to see financial growth in the short-term.

Take Lukaku. 㿈m was over the top but, if he were to stay and give ten years service as our top scorer each season, then you can't say you didn't get your money's worth.

If he spends only two or three years here simply maintaining his scoring rate of recent years then his value isn't going to deteriorate is it?

If he goes on to be as good as a lot of so called experts were claiming he will be not so long ago, then his 'price' is only likely to rise rather than plummet.

A premium was paid because of his past record and future potential. Both those benefits still stand and haven't been blurred or erased from peoples minds merely because he's made a mediocre start to the season. That's all it is at the moment. A few months off form. It'll take much more than that for him to be deemed a fully fledged flop worth a mere fraction of what we paid for him.

As for the others: I'd suggest McCarthy is already worth more now than when we bought him. Certainly the bookies didn't deem it out of hand that United might dig deep to try and prise him away this summer for a higher fee than Everton paid. Kone was already at an age where future resale value was non-existent so profiting financially was never a consideration there. Robles and McGeadey cost about ٢m between them, which isn't exactly extortionate for two squad players when you look at the sums spent on similar players by other clubs.

Also, if you're going to slate him for the sums shelled out (like the manager actually determines the fee) then should we not, simultaneously, give him credit for the coin brought in during the same period? 㿕 m for Anichebe, Fellaini and Jelavic? Same combined fee it cost for McCarthy and Lukaku? I'd snap your hand off every day of the week for some of that switcheroo.

John Daley
22 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:38:58
As for the points made by other posters about contracts being handed out too freely? I suggested during the second half of last season that the club should be wary of pulling the trigger on a permanent deal for Barry because he was clearly feeling the pace from the moment he finished his Xmas pudd. However, you can see why Martinez thought it essential he be retained and, once the rumours of Arsenal (amongst others) being interested began to emerge, you can see why the club were willing to put together the best possible package to entice the player. Also, you need to remember that Barry was effectively trading off a significant drop in wages in return for a lengthier playing contract.

Eto'o is probably a similar story. A world name, on a massive weekly wage, with other options open to him. If you don't want to shatter your wage budget, what sweet smell do you waft under his nose to get him to snub other suitors? Tell you what, we'll stick another year on your career Sammy lad.

I also didn't agree on a new deal for Hibbert. One year or two years. He hadn't set foot on the pitch for so long, what was the point of keeping him around? I wanted him to be thanked for his solid service and sent swiftly on his way but, in hindsight, I was wrong. Given the injuries to Coleman and Stones, the right side of our defence would have been well up shit creek right now if Hibbert had been told to get his coat.

Dick Fearon
23 Posted 09/10/2014 at 21:55:31
Alan, Is it mere coincidence that your three most explosive threats , Coleman, Barkley and Mirallas were signed by Moyes on the cheap and who's value has greatly increased. Others he bought for a song and went on to give very good service are Howard, Stones, Baines, Pienaar, Naismith, Fellaini, Arteta, Cahill and Jelavic.

While under OFM, each of those players ended up worth far more than their initial cost. OFM made a number of borderline signings that mostly at least recouped their cost eg; Beattie, AJ Johnson and that mad bastard Scandinavian whose name slips my mind. Not all signings were not bargains eg; Krøldrup, Andy van der Meyde etc... yet there was only a handful of them.

How many of Roberto's signings will prove to be a success?

Mike Childs
24 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:22:14
Mike Childs, 61 years of age but only 5 years following the game.

Yes I am big on Roberto because I love attacking and pressing football. Where has the high press gone? Yes, many of his decisions have been forced on him because of injuries but the thing I question most his game time adjustments they are not of the quality of last year.

I want to believe that Lukaku is a good investment and that this year we spent money on offense next summer hopefully we rebuild the defense that isn't solid anymore. Then we move up on the money boys.

I am more than willing to give him that chance but without a doubt the shine has worn off. I knew that mural after only one year was a bad idea. It's cursed that mural I know it is.

Tony Abrahams
25 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:26:20
I reckon he would get pretty close to all his money back, Darren. Too much money in this football and it makes everyone stupid. Look over the park. Lovren, for 㿀-odd million, and they sold Kelly for ٟ.5M?

I canÂ’t believe we missed that kid at that price especially with him being on our doorstep.

Martinez has been poor since last season finished but no way was there going to be more money available to him this summer. We only got one player on loan which indicates to me that we couldnÂ’t afford any more on the wage bill.

John Daley
26 Posted 09/10/2014 at 23:19:56

Moyes 'signed' Barkley? Not only that, but he bought him 'on the cheap'?

I'm guessing that was a simple error on your part and the point you're trying to make is that Barkley was already here before Martinez arrived and, therefore, he's one of Moyes's boys?

Shame Moyes never told him that when he was here then.

By this point, Barkley is very much a Martinez player. He's the one who put complete faith in him, installed him as a first team regular, talked up his talent and told him to go out and play his natural game without fear of fucking up.

Moyes, on the other hand, declared mere months earlier that Ross was nowhere near the level required to start Premier League games yet. Err... after he'd just started him in one, watched him play well and then decided to publicly slap him down for some reason.

Denis Richardson
27 Posted 09/10/2014 at 22:27:09
Honestly I cannot believe some people are already worried about the season after just 7 games!

Let's at the very least get to 10 games played, if not 15, before we start writing the season off.

Darren Hind
28 Posted 10/10/2014 at 04:03:25
Sorry John (Daley),

Perhaps my comments were misleading. It wasn't my intention to talk about players purely in terms of an investment. I asked what the value of his signings would be to guage whether he had gotten value for money (working for Kenwright, you have to get VFM).

Robles, McGeady and Kone cost (according to the usually reliable TW transfer fees) 㾷M, add their wages to the fees, then add the cost of those extended contracts to ageing players and the wages paid to virtual non-contributors like Alcaraz... what would you say that lot comes to? 㿊M? Can a modern-day Everton afford to get it so wrong?

Today's transfers are complicated; months can lapse between initial registered interest and a player actually signing on the dotted. Martinez came back to work a month before the season started. Would his time have not been better spent courting available players who were better suited to the game he wants to play? Caulker, Lescott (just examples)... Did he really need to spend summer in Brazil to sign Besic?

I understand the problems of managing todays Everton, The handicap of having to compete with players the richer clubs have already passed over; I don't expect miracles from Martinez, but I expect more than this. For ٠M+ a year, I think we are entitled to expect 100 % from him.

To let the window close while clearly still having the money we were going to spend on Ba in the kitty is not the actions of a guy who is totally focused.

Kevin Tully,

Fair enough, I think your 5/10 is very generous, but you are right of course. There is still time for Robbie to redeem himself, but he's gonna have to be at least a 9 from here on in to have any chance.

Peter Barry
29 Posted 10/10/2014 at 06:41:42
We were told that we had the strongest squad we have had for years but the games so far have proved that not to be true and some of Roberto's initial team selections and dodgy substitutions have not helped either.

What is wrong with Lukaku too? He is completely off the plot this season... Why do strikers all seem to go the same way when they play for us?

Mark Griffiths
30 Posted 10/10/2014 at 07:04:24
I've just seen our Christmas period fixture list: Why are we playing 3 away games on the bounce?
Paul Andrews
31 Posted 10/10/2014 at 07:08:44
John Daley,

That's a great point re the fees brought in for Fellaini, Jelavic and Anichebe paying for Lukaku and McCarthy. Great bit of business from the manager there.

Kieran Fitzgerald
33 Posted 10/10/2014 at 08:34:56
For me, there have been too many instances of the first half display against Man Utd. We couldn't complete one pass, let alone string two together, lacked cohesion, desire, confidence and motivation and players simply looked like they didn't want to be there. The second half improved but we looked better than we were as it went on simply because that Man Utd team retreated into itself.

How we can go from the performances of last season to the display against Man Utd is the biggest concern for me. The mentality, confidence and morale of the squad is through the floor at the moment and they look like a team in March who are only a game or two from being officially relegated. At present, it looks like Martinez and the whole of his coaching staff are clueless as to how to fix this.

Yes, injuries have definitely not helped. Yes, the fixture list was also harsh. However, there is no reason as to why these two issues should affect the confidence and morale, and performances as a result, of the squad to the level where all three are at at present.

I'm not prepared to write the season off yet, that would be ridiculous. We are only seven games in, after all. With players coming back from injury, and easier games, there is every chance that things will improve. However, there need to be signs that confidence and desire are coming back or we really could slide into a rut.

Anto Byrne
34 Posted 10/10/2014 at 11:00:36
This season has to see the introduction of younger players such as Garbutt and Browning with Long another bright prospect up front. The tired old brigade can be phased out over the next two transfer windows. Players can be sold or released and with the lure of USA football our legion of Dad's Army footballers can make their way across the pond.

On my list of outgoing players will be: Osman, Hibbert, Distin, Pienaar, Barry, Eto'o, Gibson, Kone, Alacarz and Howard. That's ten players to replace; Southampton got rid of ten players and they haven't fallen apart. Problem is our players ain't worth much and we will have to pay someone to take 'em!

Thomas Lennon
35 Posted 10/10/2014 at 13:15:36
Opposition teams have learned that we didn't suddenly become a top class passing side last season. If they push up on us, they break up our rhythm and we fail to get going. That is a tiring tactic for the opposition hence we are getting more into games as the opposition tires at the end. The answer to this is experience, tactics and more confident players.

Our injuries reduce our ability play on the break, making the risk to our opposition of pushing up minimal. Individual mistakes by players who have had little break over the summer, or who are showing their age.

My tuppence – for what it is worth.

Eddie Dunn
36 Posted 10/10/2014 at 15:37:30
My memories of Gibson ( it has been ages) of a man who can pick a pass, and he attempted to put Lukaku in on a couple of occasions at Old Trafford.
He didn't get it quite right, but given a few more starts, he will get his radar working.

We have missed someone creative in midfield and hence our striker has had poor service.

Osman was great for the last 20 mins of that game - if only he was still able to last a full 90!
Pienaar was great for about 5 mins. Maybe he wasn't as fit as they thought?

For the record, I think Gareth Barry has been really good, it is McCarthy(when fit), that needs to get forward more.
Last season he started to venture farther up and we looked a lot more dangerous.

Paul Tran
37 Posted 10/10/2014 at 16:50:06
Darren, I think you're shooting at the wrong target. I'm not convinced that
Martinez being in Brazil (like Wenger) was the problem. The big issue was the nonsense that passed for preseason. The players looked unfit, demotivated and sluggish at the start of the season and that has cost us points. I'd be inclined to think he was planning a relatively light preseason and got it badly wrong.

Martinez has been unlucky with injuries, but my hunch is that all is not well in the camp and the next year will determine whether he maintains his reputation.

By the way Darren, as a fellow punter, what the hell made you back us to finish in the top four? You'd probably regard me as a 'disciple', but I wouldn't have gone near that bet, even before preseason!

Brian Harrison
38 Posted 10/10/2014 at 17:20:23
There has been much comment about our start to the season and RMs dealings in the transfer window. I have to say that I was in the camp that wasn't keen on RM becoming our manager. But football is a results business and last season the results RM achieved were excellent, and I have to say by the end of the season I had to hold my hand up and admit that RM had done a tremendous job.

I was still a little skeptical about some of his buys I didnt think Eto should have got a 2 year contract, I didnt think Robles was a good buy, same with Alcaraz and Kone had hardly set the world alight although we haven't seen enough of him to pass an opinion. I also think RM had nailed his colours to the mast regarding Lukaku and Chelsea extracted every penny they could have possibly got for him. Time will tell whether Lukaku was a brilliant signing given his age or an expensive mistake. Seeing that he was with us for a whole season RM had seen him close up and knew he had no first touch and I have seen milk turn quicker. Having said that his strength is running onto the ball and not playing out wide or with his back to goal.

So although RM converted me to his approach last season, I am now reverting back to my original thoughts about him. Call me fickle and that may be the case, I just hope that he again proves me wrong and he is a top manager, who has just hit a blip that he will soon put this right.

Steve Orchard
39 Posted 10/10/2014 at 21:59:44
Bobby Thomas, you’re completely wrong about Baines – he is far from past his best and still bombs forward and crosses great balls in at every opportunity. He just doesn’t have his Siamese twin in Pienaar to link up with but he’s still class.

And no, they shouldnÂ’t have sold him. They got rid of a one-dimensional player in Fellani for a good price instead.

Dick Fearon
40 Posted 10/10/2014 at 22:00:21
Thomas L @ 35, I disagree with your point that this season opponents are pushing up on us and breaking our rhythm. I believe it to be the opposite where we cannot create clear chances against opponents that park the bus and rely on fast breakaways. This began late last year against Chelsea and the RS when they successfully used those tactics against us. Other teams began to copy and our performances began the slide that Roberto has been unable to counter.

Paul T @ 37, Pre-season plans should have began immediately last season ended. Players would have been on holiday or involved in the World Cup, making it an ideal time to set plans in motion. It gives every impression that rag tag arrangements were hurriedly thrown together ad hoc and only after Roberto returned from his Brazilian jaunt.

There was no reason why preliminary plans were not afoot before he took off.

I have just this minute been listening to a couple of ex pros who were adamant about the benefit of a good pre-season. Everton's pre-season could only be described as pathetic and our manager has some explaining to do.

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