With the arrival of Roberto Martinez at the start of last season, Everton's style of play drastically changed. His predecessor, David Moyes, played attacking football that was direct, and showed variation between short passing and directed long balls (usually to Fellaini), often to great effect. If anyone remembers our last game under Moyes (vs West Ham), we scored two cracking goals at the end of great moves.

Don't try to tell me that it was negative hoof-ball football, a myth heard a lot recently, because that is just blatantly incorrect. Think of the 4-4 draw vs ManU or the 2-0 defeat of Man City when Jelavic scored in the last minute. Was that bad football? I don't think so.

Under Martinez, tactics changed. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that we play a slow, possession-orientated game that relies on the individual skill and power of players to break through a team. It worked for the majority of last season because other sides were also trying to play attacking football against us, giving us more room in attack. Players like Mirallas, Barkley and Lukaku could flourish, as seen in games against Stoke, Arsenal and Newcastle last season in which we scored at least 3 goals and won comfortably.

For me, the turning point was the match we played Palace at home. They put their entire team behind the ball and counter-attacked at pace with the likes of Bolasie and Puncheon. Successive 3-2 losses at home against them in almost identical circumstances showed our weakness to the rest of the Premier League who have just copied that gameplan.

Sunderland, West Brom, Swansea, Hull, Leicester and Stoke all got results against us at Goodison Park doing the exact same thing. They sat back with 11 men behind the ball and essentially told our team "Break us down". Players like Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley don't play like this. Lukaku loves balls over the top of the defence.

Barkley loves to run at retreating defences on the counter-attack. Mirallas loves to take defenders on and run into space. None of them like to play neat little passes 35 yards out from goal for 5 minutes until a poor pass or touch loses the ball. It's ineffective and it's boring.

I think of the 3-2 win against Swansea last season. There were 5 goals scored in what should've been a great display of football. Instead, it was dull, predictable and we were extremely fortunate to get the 3 points. Last season, we beat Stoke 4-0. This season, it was an uninspiring defeat. Other teams have worked us out.

My point is illustrated no better than in the matches we played well in this season. The 3-0 win vs Man Utd and the 2-0 victory in Wolfsburg were our best performances by a distance. And in each game we let the other team have the ball and then counter-attacked ourselves, doing to them what all the supposedly smaller teams had done to us.

In those matches, 4 of the 5 goals we scored were on the break, with balls to Lukaku and Mirallas proving particularly useful. We had 35% possession against Man Utd and 40% against Wolfsburg, well down on our average of 55%. Yet we played good football that got the crowd going, a quality missing from nearly every showing this season.

So for me, that is where we should focus on next season. Yes, the players under-performed, but most of them weren't playing in a style that suited their strengths. Baines now stays back and plays conservative passes back to Jagielka or sideways to Barry. He needs someone like Pienaar there to compliment his ability. At the moment, he doesn't have it. The only player who seems to suit this style of play is Naismith, who was inexplicably dropped at the end of the season.

In my opinion, this is the strongest squad of players we've had for many years, perhaps since the late 80s. They just need to be used in the right way; otherwise, the talent at this club will be wasted.

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Reader Comments (62)

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Joe Foster
3 Posted 29/05/2015 at 19:13:35
We just need to expect more of the same next season with the omission of some of the players we have now Sam. ItÂ’s going to be a long long season.
Steavey Buckley
4 Posted 29/05/2015 at 22:46:46
One player we missed last was season was Gerard Deulofeu, who beat Stoke the season before last by himself before he got injured. And Pienaar has also been a great loss for most of the time, especially, a great loss to Baines.

Those 2 players represented the importance of width on both sides of the field, to break-down teams who Â’park the bus.Â’

Danny Broderick
5 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:02:36
"His predecessor, David Moyes, played attacking football that was direct."

Not against the big teams he didnÂ’t. He shit himself and parked the bus every time, hoping for the best. What was his record against the top 4 again?

Chris Feeley
6 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:03:00
The team, and Baines especially, has suffered because of the ManagerÂ’s insistence on playing lopsided formations (alongside the obvious other negatives). The left hand side, which in the relatively recent past was our strongest facet, has become our major weakness. Expecting a player to do the work of two men game in and game out, without any support, is ridiculous.

Baines stays back because he has to - firstly to protect the team from exposure on the counter attack, and secondly to protect himself. The amount of times before Christmas he would regularly charge down the flank towards the Park End expecting the ball in space, only to see Barkley or Mirallas turn inside into congested areas, was frustrating enough.

On the odd occasion he did receive the ball, heÂ’d look up to see nobody available to get on the end of a cross. ThisÂ’d result in him having to play it back inside, the pace would slow, and the momentum would be lost. Is it any wonder his trademark raids towards the oppositionÂ’s byline are becoming more and more infrequent?

Chris Feeley
7 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:20:43
Danny – fair point, but I’m more concerned at Martinez’s inability to break the lesser teams down. You might win leagues with your record against the top 4, but your record against the rest is needed to get you anywhere near contention.
John Daley
8 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:19:13
"David Moyes, played attacking football... DonÂ’t try to tell me that it was negative hoof-ball football, a myth heard a lot recently, because that is just blatantly incorrect."

How attacking is it to play with no fucking forwards at all on the pitch... in consecutive games... when youÂ’ve got some sat on their arse, watching on from the bench?

How is it not negative to have ambition that stretches only so far as Â’getting out of there aliveÂ’ in way too many games?

Richard Reeves
9 Posted 29/05/2015 at 23:53:55
Sam Day, the myth is what youÂ’re trying to create with comments like that. YouÂ’ve conveniently ignored 10 years of evidence and used three games to prove Moyes did not play negative hoofball.

Well, I donÂ’t know what youÂ’d call it but it bored me into slight depression for the most part of 10 years and if I was going to judge a manager's style of play I would consider his whole time here as manager and not just his last season.

People were doing the same trick with Tony Pulis earlier in the season.

Sam Day
10 Posted 30/05/2015 at 00:31:15

MoyesÂ’s record against the top teams wasnÂ’t great, thereÂ’s no denying that. It was one of his many flaws and it was the right time for him to leave when he did. However, he adapted his style for the team we were playing, something Martinez seems very reluctant to do.

I feel like falling asleep in half the games we play nowadays, I donÂ’t remember feeling like that a single time under Moyes. To me, there is no doubt that watching a Moyes team was more exciting than a Martinez one.

John Daley
11 Posted 30/05/2015 at 01:33:23

I donÂ’t disagree that weÂ’ve had to bear witness to some almost unbearable, turgid, displays of titanic tittery this season. However, I donÂ’t think this current dross makes former dross look any less...err...drossy. For me, the struggles of Martinez havenÂ’t suddenly recast the days of Moyes in some new halcyon light demanding reappraisal. Sure, we played some good stuff under Moyes for spells, but it was always interspersed with plenty of hit and hope, safety first shite. These pages were full of people screaming blue murder about it often enough. To now claim that the oft witnessed Â’hoof ballÂ’ was just a figment of our collective imagination, simply because Â’tika-takaÂ’ has turned out to be a bit crap, is taking things too far.

For what itÂ’s worth, I do agree that the players Martinez has at his disposal are much better suited to playing a counter-attacking style and have said so myself on a number of occasions. We have neither the craft nor brain to break down sides who come to stubbornly dig in, or the energy and endeavour to outpower teams who work their arses off to deny us space and time on the ball.

Harold Matthews
13 Posted 30/05/2015 at 05:07:09
The slow sideways and back football was ditched a couple of months ago.

Stones and Jags no longer spend half an hour passing the ball to one another, very few 20-yard passes back to Howard and they run forward with the ball if the opportunity arises.

McCarthy joins in with the attack, Coleman tries to cross the ball instead of stopping to dribble the fullback and Lennon carries the ball forward at speed.

Unfortunately, as Chris points out, Baines has no left side support, is often faced by two attackers and can rarely get forward. The "No 6" Barry should be in front of him but he drifts inside to protect the centre backs. Things will only alter when we go 3-4-3 with the two wingers putting in a full shift,

People who still go on about the slow sideways and back stuff are beginning to annoy me. They yatter on about other managers sussing us out, which is very true, but itÂ’s about time they themselves sussed out that we have drastically changed our playing style.

WeÂ’ve been doing our best to quicken things up and the recent Lennon, Mirallas and McCarthy goals were the end result of lightning-quick forward passing movements. 18 seconds for a 65-yard six-man passing sequence starting with Jags and ending with a Lennon tap-in is 5 star football and, by the way, Kone was the striker that day and he played a vital role in the goal.

Michael Winstanley
14 Posted 30/05/2015 at 12:34:32
Nice article, Sam.

"Teams have sussed us out" seems to be the story under Martinez but I remember teams coming and parking the bus under Moyes. We struggled to break them down then and often would grab a draw from either victory or defeat.

Deulofeu was the game changer last season, coming up with vital goals and assists: Cardiff at home, Sunderland away and of course the cracker at the Arsenal.

We have always struggled to break teams down, in fact most teams struggle to score when the oppo has 10 men behind the ball. The players with the skill and vision to break down such teams we donÂ’t have. Silva, Nasri, Augero, Rooney, Ozil, Sanchez, Hazard, Fabregas, Oscar and Cazorla. They play for the big teams.

We do struggle to break teams down, unless we spend big on a Number 10 and get Deulofeu back I canÂ’t see that changing next season either.

Dick Fearon
15 Posted 30/05/2015 at 21:56:10
Sam, you covered most of the good and bad yet omitted the most important which was the speed of play. The frustrating completely wasteful ticka tacka along our back line. Passing the ball backwards was too often the easy option. That style was dragging us precariously close to the relegation zone and Martinez point blank refused to accept any tactical mistakes on his own part yet had the gall to criticize opposing managers for not falling into the silky webs he spun.

Our much needed upturn resulted I believe from vocal dismay of the crowd and a revolt by senior players.

Martinez has made no secret of his possession at all cost philosophy thus re creating the turgid mish mash that failed him in the past. His grandfatherly attitude, specially toward our young players does them no service. Some of them are on the threshold of lucrative national or international careers. There are times when a vigorous kick up the bum would be more appropriate than being constantly told how phenomenal they are.

A glance through the life stories of some of the games greats makes one realize that their early managers were hard bastards. David Beckham still carries the physical scars of SAFs temper.

Nick Entwistle
18 Posted 31/05/2015 at 13:21:49
Andy, I just donÂ’t know what the point of Everton is under Roberto. I rarely get up to Goodison so not part of the faithful match day support, but the man is delivering exactly what was feared.

If he takes Everton on a year-by-year downward spiral he orchestrated at Wigan, I hope BK has the foresight to avoid the repeats of Barry Horne and as Sunderland were able, have the belief they are worthy of a manager on Dick AdvocaatÂ’s level. Until that day, the longer he remains in charge, the longer we will take to recover.

Dave Ganley
19 Posted 31/05/2015 at 13:45:15
Nice article Sam. I happen to agree with your assessment about last season being more of a product of MoyesÂ’s previous organisation being in place rather than Martinez being a tactical genius. This season is all Martinez.

I think reading the posts here some people do have selective memories. MoyesÂ’s early years were quite dull and pragmatic but that's how it had to be. Moyes took over a really bad side and he had to try and make us hard to beat which he duly did. The bonus is those early years was making the top 4.

We had some disasters in the Moyes years notably the 4-0 drubbing by Bolton at home, Wigan in the cup game, not to mention the 5-goal hammering we had from Man City last game before Rooney moved. However, for the most part, the reaction to those humiliations were positive ones and we put in a performance next time round.

True, MoyesÂ’s big stumbling block was playing the so-called big 4 away from home (I do recall more than giving as good as we got at home against these teams) although he did have a very good record against Man City home and away. However, for the last few years of the Moyes reign, we did play some good football regardless of some peopleÂ’s opinions. Fiorentina at home, the Sunderland drubbing, RS 3-0 drubbing, to name a few but there were many others too as Arteta, Pienaar, Baines, Coleman, Osman etc attacked at will... we did have an exciting team and I canÂ’t remember too many occasions leaving the ground bored.

Fast forward to the Martinez era and to be fair he has done an excellent PR job on our record against the so-called top 4 in his reign. Apart from beating a piss-poor Man Utd team away from home (as did WBA around the same time) we have done nothing really of note against the others. A walloping at the RS, regular beatings against Man City and Chelsea (6-3 total humiliation at GP), the exceptions being Arsenal and Man Utd at home. Some will point to the entertaining game against Arsenal away last season but again we didnÂ’t beat them.

Most games this season have been so dull and that's not just me being biassed against Martinez, I have never heard so many people saying the same at the game. For all of this season, Martinez has seemingly been unable or unwilling to change the sterile tactics we employ. Even towards the end of the season, Martinez did not employ a faster style of play as some allude to; it just appears that Jags and to a lesser extent Stones decided to hoof the ball up the field rather than fuck around with it. We were still as dull as dishwater and a half empty ground at the final whistle, even when we were winning, backs that up.

Speaking to Wigan supporters, this is the Martinez way of football. We can expect more of the same next season and I guess more of the same pathetic excuses. Even allowing for all of the good footballers we have at the club – and we do have a lot in my opinion – I can see no silver lining. Martinez has managed to oversee too many players having a bad season for it to be a coincidence.

I would like to be more positive about Martinez, I don’t hate the guy like most Martinez apologists seem to counter arguments with, I just don't think he is good enough for top level football and if I had to make a choice between Moyes and Martinez then it would be Moyes every day of the week – regardless of the flaws Moyes had, I never had the impression that Moyes didn’t have a clue what he was doing, unlike Martinez, and I never ever questioned whether I should renew my season ticket under Moyes, like I did at the end of this season. I also never left GP under Moyes having had the joy and life sucked out of me and left wondering whether football would ever be exciting again.

Amit Vithlani
20 Posted 31/05/2015 at 14:26:33
Sorry to annoy you, Harold @13, but the first half against Villa, Sunderland, West Ham and the full 90 mins was characterised by lethargic movement, no width, limited possession in the final third and very few shots on goal. The directness of the prior 6-game streak had gone.

The tactical setup was to compress the space between defence, midfield and attack engendering a more possession based approach. Kone was missing in those games, whilst McCarthy was much more withdrawn having been used as an enforcer in the oppoÂ’s final third to try and win back possession quicker.

We had abandoned the basic attacking precept that the ball needed to be played forward far quicker if we were to unsettle packed defences.

On a separate note, I disagree with Sam DayÂ’s inference that we played sparkling football on a greater frequency with Moyes. I admired the way Moyes had rebuilt the squad into a tightly knit athletic outfit capable of overpowering less capable teams on a regular basis. But against the big boys his consistently stubborn safety first approach ultimately scarred his reputation. Watch replays of the 4-4 Manyoo game and see how deep we fell back after we took the lead. Same in the semi against the RS and the final against Chelski.

Phil Walling
21 Posted 31/05/2015 at 14:42:40
Whilst I see myself agreeing with much which appears in this thread, I have got to thinking about what the likes of Kenwright and Elstone feel on these matters.

Whatever may be said about them, their futures and fortunes are at stake and are, therefore, as dependent on the team thriving as any emotional feelings we, as mere Â’specciesÂ’, may have towards team performances.

Whilst most of us see the Martinez Â’wayÂ’ as boring, disappointing and leading only downwards, do they hold a contrary view or is it that Â’sold outÂ’ notices at most games is enough to convince them the public are very much Â’on sideÂ’?

I don’t think so because I have never subscribed to the view that ’the powers that be’ are so detached from their public that they are oblivious to the common feeling – after all, they watch the team just as we do!

So is the total absence of any comment on the Martinez philosophy indicative of Â’private concernÂ’ at the direction of travel? Watch this space...

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:19:48
Phil, as a matter of interest where does Elstone figure as an Evertonian, IÂ’ve never heard or read anything about him, eg, was he an Everton supporter? Is he from Liverpool? Is he even interested in football?

I just donÂ’t know how he came to be part of EvertonÂ’s story.

Colin Glassar
23 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:27:46
Dave, heÂ’s from Barnsley and is a big rugby league fan. He hates football and Everton in particular (if his crap commercial deals are anything to go by). IÂ’d have sacked him years ago and offered the job to the Tesco fella. At least heÂ’s a Blue.
Allan Board
24 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:17:11
A Question Of Style? Indeed.

I am sure you all watched the FA Cup Final yesterday. The team in yellow displayed all that I wish to see from an Everton side. A wonderful incisive passing display from players who are told to use the ball quickly, in two touches, and be positive!

Villa were lucky it wasnÂ’t 8 or 9. Fluid football at its best. My tip for the title next season if they avoid major injuries. Fabulous. Any chance we can pinch Wenger on a 10-year deal?!!

Patrick Murphy
25 Posted 31/05/2015 at 15:57:46
Phil (#21)

I think the bums on seats is a very important scenario for the club and if, as has been reported, we have 3,000 less season tickets sold for this season as opposed to last season, that will make them sit up and notice. If BK is as much a football lover as the fans are he surely canÂ’t ignore the silence of the supporters at home games or maybe he can.

If there were any moves afoot regarding the manager's position, we might have to wait for the 2nd anniversary proper of RMÂ’s tenure (June 13th?) but I donÂ’t think the board will be pro-active and will be happy to jog along, hoping they still have the right guy in charge.

Paul Tran
26 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:26:07
Can someone show me the quote where Martinez says, "I want us to pass aimlessly, defend poorly, create very few chances and score very few goals."

IÂ’ve often heard him talk about how he wants the team to play fast passing football that opens teams up. I couldnÂ’t agree with him more.

The biggest issue regarding MartinezÂ’s Â’styleÂ’ is the great yawning gap between how he says he wants the team to play and what we see on the pitch.

Nick, hereÂ’s my tip for cheering yourself up re Everton. We played most of last season with unfit, demotivated players in various unbalanced formations, we defended poorly, created few chances/goals... and we still finished 11th! The teams around us will spend vast sums on ordinary players, we will spend a few quid on ordinary players and at worst we will stay mid-table and heÂ’ll be sacked. And if he gets his finger out and does his job... who knows?

Or you could sit in a darkened room with a bag over your head repeating the mantra, Â’He took Wigan down and heÂ’ll take us downÂ’ at least 100 times till you nod off.

I know what IÂ’d prefer to do...

Phil Walling
27 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:45:58
DonÂ’t be daft, Paul, of course he doesnÂ’t say that! But the consequence of how he wants them to play is what we see on the field. Fear of doing the Â’wrong thingÂ’ means that all instinct is abandoned and play becomes more ordered and thus much slower.

As I challenged you and others this past week, name just ONE player whose game has improved under your heroÂ’s tutelage! Still waiting...

Dave Ganley
28 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:44:28
Paul (#26), your post just typifies where we are at. We look at other rubbish teams and say "Well, they spent millions yet we didnÂ’t, so mid-table is okay." To be honest, IÂ’m not really that interested in other teams but I am in Everton. Your statement saying we played unfit demotivated players in variously unbalanced teams defending poorly and creating few goal scoring chances is unacceptable enough for me without comparing us to any other crap team.

As we all know, Martinez talks a good game but rarely actually delivers. ThereÂ’s no actual evidence he will get his finger out... the general consensus is hope hope hope rather than any expectation and that, my friend, is just not good enough for Everton Football Club.

Paul Tran
30 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:02:31
Phil, I donÂ’t know if you read my posts, but since the end of January, IÂ’ve been advocating his dismissal at the end of the season. IÂ’d have sacked him last Monday.

So he certainly isnÂ’t my hero.

My point is that he canÂ’t communicate what he wants to the players, resulting in the confusion and inertia weÂ’ve been watching, which for me, is far worse than any Â’styleÂ’ or Â’philosophyÂ’ issues.

Dave, I am not inferring that it is Â’OKÂ’. Martinez should be sacked for turning a top 5 team to a midtable one. My point about relative spend is an answer to those who are Â’certainÂ’ we'll go down. We wonÂ’t. ThereÂ’s plenty of teams worse.

Please read what I say.

Darren Hind
31 Posted 31/05/2015 at 16:49:11
Paul T

YouÂ’re looking for bogeymen again Mate.

Nobody will show you where Martinez says "I want us to pass aimlessly, defend poorly, created very few chances, and score very few goals" ... but then you won't be able to point to the post where somebody actually accuses him of saying or doing any of those things. Even his biggest critics don't claim he gets thing wrong deliberately

Give this up. You have better things to say,

Darren Hind
32 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:24:04
"I donÂ’t think the current dross makes the former dross look any less... err... drossy."

And vice Versa.

IÂ’ve been trying all season to find the words to say to people who want to compare the two managers ... and Daley does it in a sentence.

The Bastard!

Dave Ganley
33 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:23:52
Paul, youÂ’re right that there are worse teams in the league than us, but thatÂ’s nothing to shout about and that point didnÂ’t come off that well in your post (I did read it, btw).

Darren is right; you have written far better posts than this clutching-at-straws post.

Paul Tran
34 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:39:41
IÂ’m not intending to accuse anyone of saying Martinez Â’deliberately gets things wrongÂ’. Sorry if that's what you thought.

Dave, sorry for any offence, I get a bit annoyed when I write something critical about Martinez (especially the part you referred to) and it is then misconstrued as me justifying his appalling performance this season.

People keep talking about Â’styleÂ’ and Â’philosophyÂ’, whatever that is. For me, it's about straightforward incompetence. He says he wants his team to play in a certain way; the team plays in a different, very poor way.

I canÂ’t comment on a player that Martinez has improved, because I donÂ’t believe heÂ’s improved any players .

I donÂ’t buy into the nonsense that Â’heÂ’ll take us downÂ’. He wonÂ’t. I canÂ’t prove it; itÂ’s just what I think. It doesnÂ’t mean IÂ’m happy, it doesnÂ’t mean I think itÂ’s acceptable. It isnÂ’t.

The fact that I didnÂ’t and donÂ’t believe heÂ’ll relegate us is a separate issue from whether he should stay as manager. IÂ’d sack him, for all the reasons I stated in my original post. For the reasons IÂ’ve stated for the last few months.

I promise to do better next time I post. But IÂ’ll maintain my argument that you can criticise Martinez for his dreadful performance, without thinking heÂ’ll definitely take us down, or without acknowledging the good he did last season.

Bill Gall
35 Posted 31/05/2015 at 17:55:12
The only thing I would have liked to see in the Moyes / Martinez comparisons on style would have been how Moyes would have got on with Lukaku as his forward striker. In his last season, Moyes finished 6th with 9 pts less than Martinez achieved in his first season, but with a delta of +17 (+15 vs –2) in terms of goal difference.

You can't compare managers as they all prefer a different style and build the team to that style. The problem is with Martinez, his style is difficult with the players he has, and I do not think he will last long enough to bring in enough of the type of players he wants, so will have to change as his ideas seem to one-dimensional.

Paul Tran
36 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:10:12
Bill I think Lukaku would have worked in a Moyes team. I also think Barry would have been great as well with all the energy around him.

Which is largely why I was happy when the current manager brought them to the club and why IÂ’m frustrated that he canÂ’t get the best out of two good players.

Back to straightforward incompetence. .....

Dave Ganley
37 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:16:42
Fair enough Paul... put like that I do agree with you and I do think we probably wont get relegated due to the dross around us.

I also agree that Lukaku would have been a hit under Moyes... pretty similar to Saha really although not as good. Would have been interesting to have had a top-level striker in MoyesÂ’s team in his prime... the one thing that was missing for much of the time.

Phil Walling
38 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:06:42
Sorry, Paul, I misread you. I agree he wonÂ’t take us down UNLESS a few too many players fall out with him and just say, "Fuck it, I canÂ’t be arsed" as some do these days.

I have a feeling all is not well behind the scenes – that’s why I said earlier I wondered what Silent Bill was thinking. But then, I’m thousands of miles away and KNOW nothing!

John Crawley
39 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:38:32
Phil (#27), I can think of at least one players who has improved this season and got better under Martinez and I’m shocked that you can’t as it's so obvious – Joel Robles!!
Phil Walling
40 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:47:09
Bugger me, John. HE could hardly have got worse!
Brian Harrison
41 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:40:43
Even his most faithful supporters are saying give him 10 games to try and get it right. The only thing against this idea for me is he will no doubt have used our transfer kitty, and usually trying to appoint a new manager in November or December will severely limit our choices.

I fully expect Cleverley to join us in the summer having watched his negative display in the Cup Final. He was quite happy passing square or backwards always taking the easy option.

Phil Walling
42 Posted 31/05/2015 at 18:49:51
Yes, Cleverley will fit in very well. Mancs tell me he only developed the crab-like passing style whilst he was at Wigan with Roberto. Will he replace Barkley or take the Â’false winger Â’ slot?
Brian Harrison
43 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:03:36
When I heard Tim Sherwood say after the game he had told certain players they could leave, I immediately thought I bet RM is already on the phone to him about Cleverley. Just the sort of negative midfield player RM craves donÂ’t lose the ball so keep passing back and across.

And donÂ’t dare think about running beyond the forwards thatÂ’s definitely a no go area for RM.

Phil Walling
44 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:13:38
Sad bastards, arenÂ’t we? Mithering about Everton, Roberto and the likes of Cleverley on a sunny Sunday evening out of season!

But I guess it shows we all care and want the very best for our club.

Michael Winstanley
45 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:04:31
A No 10, a winger and a centre half. Cleverley is none of them but he maybe the plus one more and given how crap Villa have been lately heÂ’ll be on his way probably.
Colin Glassar
46 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:26:36
ItÂ’s alright for you, Phil, out in Qatar in your 7 star hotel, being pampered by FIFA. Some of us have to face the rain and cold weather back here in blighty.
Phil Walling
47 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:37:17
Hey, Colin! Some are born lucky, some are born Evertonians!
Terry Downes
48 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:40:45
Dave Ganley, We did have a top striker under Moyes!?! What about Yakubu?

Well, he was till Moyes got hold of him and had him running all over the place.

Colin Glassar
49 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:55:56
Never a truer word said, Phil.
Paul Tran
50 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:51:15
Cheers Dave and Phil. IÂ’ve had suspicions for most of the season that all is not well, which makes me wonder what heÂ’s doing differently thatÂ’s affecting everything and everyone. Funny how you donÂ’t hear any of this stuff when things are going well......

Still, Muthmir and New Bay both won, so allÂ’s not so bad in the world of sport!

Jim Jennings
51 Posted 31/05/2015 at 19:47:28

The following players have improved under Martinez relative to where they were before he started working with them: Stones, McCarthy, Barkley, Coleman, Naismith.

Mike Childs
52 Posted 31/05/2015 at 20:38:56
But I wasn't born Evertonian, so why am I here? Simple answer: you guys and gals are the best. Incredible passion!
Dave Ganley
54 Posted 31/05/2015 at 20:57:45
Terry#48 yeah we did have the Yak and for a season or so he was great but as for being in his prime... well did anybody/does anybody know how old he is??? He must be nearly ready for his telegram from the Queen surely??
Paul Tran
55 Posted 31/05/2015 at 21:21:46
I felt for Moyes re the Yakubu and Arteta injuries. YakubuÂ’s achilles snapped and Moyes brought him back too quickly, maybe a combination of YakubuÂ’s laziness and MoyesÂ’s admitted lack of empathy.

Either way, at the point of being close to something special, we lost our two most creative and irreplaceable players. The only time I ever felt sorry for Moyes.

Dean Adams
56 Posted 31/05/2015 at 21:57:39
And the rock at the back, Paul.... Jags!!
Darren Hind
57 Posted 01/06/2015 at 05:46:58

The Yak didn't do "running all over the place".

Not for Moyes; not for anyone.

James Stewart
58 Posted 01/06/2015 at 17:39:55
Some good points but in summary it just reads like you want Moyes back?
Bill Gall
59 Posted 01/06/2015 at 17:57:23
James. I do not believe that the majority of supporters want Moyes back. What I think most of us want is a manager that realizes that the game changes, and what may have worked 1 season may not work the next, and instead of continuing with a style that the players are struggling with, fail to make the necessary changes to adapt, until we are in a relegation battle.

Martinez "may" have learnt from this season and adapt but I think he is too stubborn, and he believes that his style and philosophy is the only way to play the game. Next season will show if he is right or wrong.

Philip Yensen
60 Posted 02/06/2015 at 16:26:10
For the attention of Danny Broderick. Danny you numpty if weÂ’d lost against the so called "big teams" and beat all the lesser teams we would probably finished in the top four. Moyes never shit himself he was very logical, he saw the quality of the opposition and their benches. Why do you think the top four never play their strongest team in the domestic cups, to save their best players for important games that they need to win. Small purse means less quality in the squad. The cloth was always cut to suit. We have not played fast penitrative football all season, only on the odd occasion, perhaps when Matinez has gone for a piss. I think Sam is saying the blame is squarely on the managers shoulders.
So lets not slag the players any more or Moyes, the problem is with the draughtsman with no drawing board to go back to.
Mike Childs
61 Posted 04/06/2015 at 03:01:14
RM style is the more the EPL experience you have despite form or injury you start.
Clive Rogers
62 Posted 06/06/2015 at 16:28:37
Jim #51,

Barkley, Coleman and Naismith have all had a terrible season and gone backwards. Naismith even lost his place in the team.

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