Having watched the Stoke match, I felt that a lot of the reaction was somewhat harsh on Roberto Martinez. Once again, we were not only the victims of a dubious penalty but, even leaving that aside, we had two chances (Barry’s and Mirallas’s) that a 10-year-old could have scored. My response to the critics (in my head) was that Martinez was not to blame when two highly-experienced professional footballers can’t do a basic task that they are paid enormous amounts of money to do.
I was tempted to ask whether Martinez was to blame for Distin falling asleep against Arsenal and consequently Everton losing two points. Or if he was responsible for Howard’s two clangers against Crystal Palace that lost us three points. Or if he was responsible for Distin’s pathetic defending gifting Hull a point and losing us a further two points (not to mention the blatant penalty not given in that game). That’s 7 points right there that, at first glance, cannot be attributed to the tactics or strategy that we are adopting but just to bad errors by players who ought not to be making those errors. (Ten points if you add the terrible misses against Stoke). Let’s face it, Everton (and Roberto) just haven’t had the rub of the green this year.
But I became more worried after today’s ‘performance’. I still think we haven’t had the rub of the green. But it’s more often struggling sports-persons who become unlucky. I think it was Gary Player who said that the more he practised, the luckier he became. I don’t think Roberto is a bad manager – it’s difficult to get through a whole Premier League season like the last one as a flash in the pan. The difference is that things were running for us last season, until the very end when our squad became a bit threadbare, and success and confidence breeds more success and confidence. This season, things are not going our way. In addition to what I’ve mentioned above, we’ve had several key injuries and our squad depth has been exposed.
The test for Roberto is where he goes now? What worries me is the way he is responding to what is happening on the pitch. The BBC report on his post-match comments today suggests that he was not watching the same game I was. Yes, we were let down by soft goal concessions. But, other than the goals, there was precious little to enthuse about that performance. The build-up play was turgid, Newcastle had far too much time on the ball and we were inviting pressure for most of the game, which would almost inevitably cause our threadbare defence to buckle at some stage.
What does Roberto do now? Surely he has to admit that things are not going well? I assume it is not his tactics that dictate that Everton are almost always second to the ball and back off rather than pressurizing? But it is his job to work on the players’ confidence and self-belief. Other than the top few clubs and the odd season where there is a truly dire bottom team (or teams), the difference between most of the rest, I think, is in their heads. And what is in our heads at the moment is the opposite of where we were last season. Roberto needs to get that confidence back, but I’m not sure if he can.
Reader Comments (17)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 29/12/2014 at 04:58:52
The crap refereeing I can live with - it's been that way forever.
The errors are not just from the defenders, Barkley and Lukaku this season have lost possession where it has immediately lead to a goal against. McGeady last night.... what do you say?
There's no pace or aggression in our attempt at possession play. When we have the ball, the ball and the opposition should be doing the work, the opposition should be knackered after 60 minutes, when we should be able to pick them off, bringing fresh attacking impetus on from the bench if required.
Instead it's us who look knackered. Bereft of ideas, often from midway through the first half.
I wouldn't feel half as bad about the situation if it wasn't for the inane shite that Martinez spews after another horrible defeat. That just leaves me ambivalent as to whether he's given the chance to turn it around or not.
3 Posted 29/12/2014 at 05:21:02
We can all see what is not working, but his blind faith is blocking him from seeing what IS working, which is the quicker ball played from inside their half and 2 or 3 quick passes later, Osman or Eto'o or Kone or Mirallas is putting the ball in the net.
It's basic old-fashioned business practice, where Companies in a bit of a slump, or better still BEFORE they get into a bit of a slump, sit the various departments, down to the lowliest brusher-up, in a room with a whiteboard and ask everybody the old standby: 'What do we need to do to get it right first time?' and even if they are 'seemingly stupid' get them down then grade them. You will be surprised what the guy on the shop floor sees and how often the obvious is not stated. It used to be called TQM or some such...
But, as with everything, the Management have to, to some extent, buy into the solution process, admit there IS (or even MIGHT be) a problem, and a solution that they haven't seen, or an Improvement they haven't made... and Â– just because the guy on minimum wage says something Â– it doesn't mean he's not right.
Moyes seemed (to me) to do this... I said it so it must be right and thus it must be right because I said it... and also the reverse of not saying it.
The first step, Roberto... admit there is a problem.
4 Posted 29/12/2014 at 06:38:15
The fact that the glimpses of joined up football under him seemed so fleeting suggests it was in spite of, not because of him.
Personally I think Martinez has to accept we don't have the personnel at the back to make this work. Think Distin and Jagielka at their stages of their career are suddenly gonna have an Indian Summer-esque reincarnation as Beckenbauer?
I admire his "sin miedo" mantra, but when you've got the likes of Stones, Barkley and Lukaku Â– young players Â– making mistakes that lead to opposition goals, it can't be good for their overall development.
Kone's goal last night showed what we're missing. Attacking with pace. Doing in 3 passes what 40 fails to achieve. We just need to mix it up more. I believe (like others) that once confidence comes back (along with some match fitness for some players) they're capable of going on a run. But we've lost too much ground already to hope that can lead to a European place come the end of the season. (Not that that will stop some "We can still make 4th" posts.)
5 Posted 29/12/2014 at 08:46:02
As for making him captain, that was just about RMÂs worst decision since he arrived.
6 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:08:01
There again, MW might be ahead of our Roberto: at least he had a plan. Yesterday, we were shambolic, and that is being kind.
7 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:39:48
Great title/question Michael but I have no answer I'm afraid.
Seems there is an awful lot of soul searching to be done.
8 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:20:29
I don't think a South American is the answer.
9 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:24:46
You are asking for trouble, inviting pressure, giving the opposition time to regroup and helping to create your own problems when it is just not necessary, it is clearly counter-productive.
Souness and Neville were spot-on last night in their analysis: Everton try to play it too much in the wrong areas with the wrong players. We are trying to play a certain way in the Barcelona mold when we haven’t got the personnel to achieve what we set out to do.
Martinez is not getting the best out of the quality he has at his disposal and he is too stubborn to recognize this and rectify it. He is getting the basics all wrong, playing people in the wrong positions, with no balance to the side and persevering with his ridiculous "philosophy".
How can it be that we have 2, potentially 3 England International defenders, one of which was talked about as probably Everton’s greatest ever left back a couple of seasons ago, we have perhaps the best right back in the league with Coleman, and with Distin and Barry we have two very experienced and proven Premier League defensive players and yet we have the 2nd worst defense in the league? Something is fundamentally wrong. I don’t think the players can be blamed.
10 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:14:59
Coleman, Jags, Barry, Garbutt
Osman, Naismith, Baines
11 Posted 29/12/2014 at 15:32:01
In reality, we arent playing a passing game, we are playing a pass it backwards game and putting pressure on those least comfortable on the ball.
We are literally gifting the opposition chances - which is kind of the opposite of defending really.
If we were knocking it about in midfield or on the edge of their penalty area fine. We don't.
I really don't blame the players - they have clearly been instructed to keep the ball when in defensive areas rather than clear it - and they take huge risks to do so for very little benefit.
I think he tried to arrest this by keeping our full backs back and adding more defensive midfielders. Now we have very little width or overlap and just pass it about in front of their defence.
If there is a better candidate available Id seriously consider a change whilst we have a decent squad - at this rate I wonder whether we'll keep our better players or attract new ones
12 Posted 29/12/2014 at 15:52:38
Fast forward to now and he looks even more tactically at sea. All good sides have one thing in common regardless of style or philosophy: a solid defence. Basic fundamentals of football that Martinez doesn't seem to know the first thing about. His obsession with 'a goal from open play' is also bizarre. Who cares? Â— a goal is a goal!
A woeful Newcastle side scored 3 against us with ease. It's not like we are getting beat by good teams. It's shameful and embarrassing the performances we have been putting in.
13 Posted 29/12/2014 at 15:00:08
So what was different about those 6 compared to the other 13. They were easy games against poor teams that RM felt he could risk starting Leon Osman in the team.
The other 13 games were so tough that thankfully we were able to get 8 points because I am sure with Osman in the team it would have been zero.
14 Posted 29/12/2014 at 21:03:18
If those players had been sent off, would we have gone on to win? I have to say that I don't think so. Those teams would only protect their back line even more and as we have all seen this season, we are incapable of breaking them down and with Roberto's blinkered view and unwillingness to change(two strikers anyone?) I can only see relegation looming.
I did raise this concern on the day of Roberto's appointment so no, I'm not on a bandwagon.
15 Posted 29/12/2014 at 21:15:16
16 Posted 29/12/2014 at 21:21:20
17 Posted 29/12/2014 at 21:26:09
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.