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Martinez rues weak second half against Arsenal

by | 24/08/2014  Comments (71)  jump

Roberto Martinez says that he and his Everton side were frustrated by their inability to hold on to a precious 2-0 lead at Goodison yesterday due to a "drop in energy levels" that meant they lost control of a contest in which they had looked comfortable for the first 75 minutes.

The Blues were in a commanding position at half time thanks to Seamus Coleman's headed goal and a second of the season for Steven Naismith, but they lacked intensity in the second half and allowed Arsenal to grab a point with two goals in the last seven minutes.

Despite that noticeable fall-off in drive after half-time, one that echoed a similar second 45 minutes against Leicester City last week, Martinez felt that his team had been "phenomenal" for the first 70-75 minutes and that the display up to that point had been very similar to when the two teams last met.

Our first-half display was full of dynamic football and energy," the Catalan said after the match. "We looked really strong every time we went forward and when we defended we stopped Arsenal from having a shot on target.

Scoring the two goals should have been enough to control the game in the normal manner that we do. I just felt that certain individuals, and as a team, we dropped our energy levels and we couldn't control it."

Typically, while there are questions being raised over his players' preparedness for the new season, Martinez is remaining positive about what he learned from the disappointing draw.

The disappointment is the result - there are no two ways about it," he continued. "But the performance was phenomenal.

It gave us exactly what we wanted; a clear direction of where we have to work because it was an early part of the season performance where we couldn't maintain it for 90 minutes, but for long spells of the game it was one where we deserved the three points.

We were dominant against a very good side. We're frustrated but we now know where we need to work in order to get those performances to last 90 minutes.

Quotes sourced from

Reader Comments (71)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 24/08/2014 at 17:37:39
I didn't get to see too many pre-season friendlies but, by all the reports I read, everyone said that our general lack of fitness was a concern.

The question is why?

We should have really been the fitter team towards the end of that game yesterday given Arsenal having a tough Champions League match in Turkey.

If we were looking tired then why wait so long to bring on the athletic Atsu and the "run all day" energetic Mohamed Besic?


Dan McKie
2 Posted 24/08/2014 at 17:48:32
What he learnt from the disappointing draw? You mean he didn't learn these things from the game just a week before? They were carbon copies, just like his substitutions.
Paul Ferry
3 Posted 24/08/2014 at 17:42:00
Ok IÂ’m a big Bobby fan - although I seem to be calling him Martinez more and more these days - but these words twenty-hours or so on are well puff pastry.

This would have been nice:

"So when we took the field for the second half, there was a real spring in our step after, like last week, we scored with almost the last kick of the 1st half. We started quite comfortably I though and there was no real pressure from our opponents who did not get a shot on target until the final third of the match.

"That all said, it was clear that some players were starting to struggle at around this time and it’s clear to me now that that was the time when I should have made changes. I brought on Osman on early – and we are taking reports on the extent of Steven’s injury and I’m sure I’ll have some very clear news for you on that score in a day or two to leave you all in no doubt where we stand with injuries – and in hindsight that was a mistake, I should have brought Besic on.

"But, as we all know, Leon is good for 60 minutes at best these days and I should have brought him off with 20 or so to go to bring on a fresh pair of legs, again Besic would have been the right choice I now see.

"If I had known that McGeady would have had such little impact on the game, I would have brought Atsu on instead to give him a longer run. But in the blink of an eye it was 2-1 and I cannot fault my defence for the goal.

"I now see that this was the time to bring on Besic to close things down and Gareth and James looked like they needed more support as Arsenal were now looking very dangerous. But instead I brought on Atsu.

"That might look strange now as essentially our game now consisted of holding back inviting Arsenal to bring the game to us. And then, unfairly in my view, Arsenal leveled at 2-2. Again, no blame can be apportioned to any one of our defenders for this goal. A misplaced cross led to our downfall.

"In sum, IÂ’m very happy with the way we played and special credit goes to the central defenders and Leon who never stopped running did he. Like all other teams at this point in the season, we are not yet 100% match-fit and I cannot think of any other team who keeps going up until the final whistle at this early juncture who might, for example, score 2 goals in the last 7 minutes.

"But I put my hands up in air. I made mistakes. I apologize to the great Everton family and this club with its glorious sense of the past and tradition and culture that I have studied. I made mistakes. I made subs too late. I made the wrong subs.

"I should not have bought Leon on. The key thing now is to build around the successes of these last two games and take the positives like the central defence pairing and learn from our mistakes moving forwards."

Gary Cargill
4 Posted 24/08/2014 at 17:52:47
I think pre-season was a bit of a mess this season. It sort of felt a little bit kick, bollocks, scramble. Fixtures seemingly all over the place and last minute.

Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for not being ready at the start of a season to fight for 90 minutes physically and mentally. Every second of every minute is there to fight for and to win. That is the only way to beat the best and to be the best, because nothing but the best is good enough. Simple as.

Brent Stephens
5 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:24:10
Roberto – "The performance was phenomenal"

Struth, Roberto, who ya trying to convince? In parts, very good, certainly. As Dan says, lesson not learnt from last week. See me after School, Roberto.

Denis Richardson
6 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:26:16
Performance was 'phenomenal'?

Well I guess that's one way of looking at it. The other way is that we played decent in the first half and they were shite. Also, our second goal was lucky as the ref could have blown for a foul on Mertesacker by Rom or Naismith being offside.

For the last 30 mins, we were shite. The energy may have gone after 75 mins but we were already panicking at the back after 60 mins.

If that's 'phenomenal' in his eyes, i'd hate to see what 'okay' is — and am really scared to see what crap is!

Kelvin Thomas
7 Posted 24/08/2014 at 17:44:27
So disappointed to drop 2 points again. Even though fitness needs to improve, it's very pleasing to be dominating Arsenal only two games in.

Improving fitness levels will be easy. Adding another striker to the squad is as important.

James Elworthy
8 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:43:36
Jagielka is a liability and he makes a costly mistake every match.

Roberto's superlatives after every performance are wearing thin with me — does he think the fans are thick morons describing yesterday as 'phenomenal'? The fans leaving the ground at the end were in uproar at that second-half performance, his choice of subs was disastrous and the fact we don't have a back-up striker is diabolical.

Mark Frere
9 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:45:25
It's hard to take Bobby seriously sometimes. I mean he's just so over-the-top positive all the time.... everyone and everything Everton is always 'phenomenal'. I even remember him talking about Vellios in glowing terms. A little more balance would be nice at times.
Mike Hughes
10 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:50:45
I think 'phenomenal' is Catalan for 'good'.
It's a little bit rich at times, particularly after the start to the season, but I like the guy and hope his positivity works again.

Still a point ahead of the Mancs and one behind the RS tonight (and hopefully still that way tomorrow night).

Top 4 is on! (The anti-depressants are definitely kicking in.)

Brian Harrison
11 Posted 24/08/2014 at 18:53:14
I think Roberto needs to remember he is managing Everton, not Wigan. Our fans are bye and large knowledgeable and would rather he gave an honest opinion than trying always to see things as being amazing or phenomenal.

My worry is that, in both our games this season, we have tired badly; now, seeing as we had most possession in both games, that usually means the team doing the chasing get tired first.

After 70 minutes yesterday, we just kept getting deeper and deeper to such an extent that we allowed Arsenal to get the ball into our half unchallenged. Despite them not playing well, this sort of tactic played right into their hands.

There were times deep into the second half were our players were receiving the ball 20 yards inside the Arsenal half and their first thought was pass it 30 yards backwards to Jags or Distin; why not go forward and try and kill the game off?

I know it's early days and we will get fitter, but I just hope we play more positively when we are in front in games. I thought RM's comments about 2-0 being a dangerous score was a crazy thing to say. So the next time we are 2-0 up are players will be even more paranoid thinking careful we might end up losing here as RM reckons this is a dangerous score.

Mike Hughes
12 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:07:21
Brian - don't forget 'incredible'.

(To be fair, it may be a non-native language thing combined with the psychology. There are worse things in the world. I don't think he's trying to kid anybody.)

Harold Matthews
13 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:07:06
I was pleased Giroud wasn't in their starting eleven.
Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:17:24

Giroud surprised me as to his size and physical presence; he always appeared to be a bit lightweight to me on previous occasions. Oxlade-Chamberlain was so anonymous during the match that I only realised he was on the pitch when he was subbed.

Tom R Owen
15 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:24:47
Sorry but energy levels low?

Please... these are professional athletes paid thousands a week — and they tire after 70 minutes of playing football?!? That is a sad indictment of the whole of football today.

Mike Hughes
16 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:31:18
We're just getting into our stride - 2 points from 2 games - building momentum and what happens?

I've just realised that early September sees the start of another crappy and annoying international campaign with interruption to normal service.

England should remove the red colour from the flag for the footy team and surrender immediately. It's enough to make anyone swear. Bollocks.

Harold Matthews
17 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:28:02
Patrick. Yes, he's a big lad. I first noticed his strength when he turned Stoned completely upside down at the Emirates. A powerful man indeed. I made the mistake of thinking Jags would have fared better but changed my mind after seeing this guy holding down Distin with one hand.

You're right. The Ox had a quiet game.

Steve Flynn
18 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:45:49
Until the problem of dealing with crosses, Howard, Jagielka and Distin is sorted, we have no chance of reaching the top 4.
Michael Upton
19 Posted 24/08/2014 at 20:06:10
Harold Matthews #17 "but changed my mind after seeing this guy holding down Distin with one hand."

Ahem, you mean blatantly pulling Distin's shirt?

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't excuse the result, the second-half drop-off or, come to that, the inevitability of their equaliser, but let's not pretend that was an entirely fair duel.

Frank Crewe
20 Posted 24/08/2014 at 20:09:57
Then maybe RM should spend more time working on fitness levels and less time coaching the CBs to pass the ball to each other.

Fitness my backside. We've been chucking away leads for years and while we have "Mr Panic" Jags at the back it will continue. He's not tall enough, strong enough or fast enough. Oh for a young Distin... It also doesn't help to put clapped-out wingers like McGeady on when we need to run down the game.

Poor defending and poor substitutions cost us that win.

Dennis Ng
21 Posted 24/08/2014 at 20:26:39
I never thought we would be weak in defense after so many years being one of the stingiest teams. At one point, I was wondering, should we play Besic?

I agree with Frank, poor substitutions. Is substituting like for like players to chase another goal relevant when we're not getting the same break into their territory? And I believe Besic could have come on earlier way before the first goal to stem the problem.

Then again, I like to think positive. Last year we drew the first 3 games against crappy opponents (sure, Leicester should be considered mid table at best but who knows). Let's hope that we shake off the start of the season jitters quickly.

Phil Walling
22 Posted 24/08/2014 at 20:32:27
The fall-off in energy levels was 'phenominal', as was the half-arsed way he prepared the players for the new season.

If he doesn't get things sorted soon, we shall do 'phenominally' well to challenge for top third.

Raymond Fox
23 Posted 24/08/2014 at 19:50:30
There's not ever much middle ground on here, is there... which is understandable I suppose, were all fanatics.

But, first off, this fitness malarkey! Our opinion is subjective, they have all these fitness gizmos at Finch Farm so you're not telling me that RM didn't know in the last 6 weeks or whatever what the players' fitness was like and increased training sufficiently if he wanted to.

We have a long old season to come in the Prem. along with the Europa and the other Cup comps. with a squad that's a bit shallow in quality, with injuries beginning to raise their ugly heads already; would the players last the season if they were 100% from the off?

Then you have the question of pacing yourself; if you put everything early into a match or any sporting event for that matter, you're going to suffer towards the finish, which was what happened to some degree yesterday as Arsenal changed some key players and went all out to score.

Then there's substitutions: Roberto didn't make many mistakes last season, quite the opposite. Forced sub: Osman for Pienaar, obviously not what Martinez wanted but we played well for 60-70 mins till Arsenal started to press in search of a lifeline.

Besic not getting on the field. There could be reasons we are not aware of that happen in private, he has been in trouble before with teams and managers. Could be he's carrying a slight knock, personal problems etc, why still have him on the subs bench, you could say, but maybe RM thought he was worth the risk as the last resort. Who knows, it's all speculation.

Kevin said earlier, god knows what it's going to be like on here if/when we lose a few matches. Let's give them some credit for being 2-0 up against a top team like Arsenal and leading twice away at Leicester instead of slagging the manager and some players off already.

Nothing wrong with criticism, but there's always two sides to every story. Also we could say if there has indeed been mistakes made, to use the in turn, it's a learning curve!

What could Roberto do with another 㿔m? That would make him instantly a 'better manager' – the better the players, the easier his job will be!

Stephen Brown
24 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:06:00
Nobody has seen Besic play a competitive match but he is being portraid as our saviour. Give him a bit of time to settle and become the player we all hope he can be! Don't build him up too much!!
Andy Meighan
25 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:04:34
I think Martinez has got to stop being loyal to certain players who have been at the club too long, ie, Jagielka and Osman. Osman is a lovely little footballer with great feet etc but at times he looks like heÂ’s towing a caravan and he was actually caught in possession in the build-up for the equaliser.

As for Jagielka, I commented before the start of the World Cup heÂ’s an accident waiting to happen and nothing IÂ’ve seen since wonÂ’t alter that view. That was schoolboy defending for the equaliser, and as for his distribution, well letÂ’s not go there. HeÂ’s dragging the excellent Distin down with him game by game.

If this goes on, we are going to be having to score 3 or 4 to win games and thatÂ’s not going to happen. If Martinez had any balls heÂ’d bench Jagielka against Chelsea and bring Stones in a far far better defender and a far better user of the ball but I donÂ’t think for one minute he will though. Funny though... Chelsea donÂ’t frighten me at all, and I think we ll get our first win; but one things for certain: them schoolboy errors have to be eradicated.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:19:35
Stephen, I know what you're saying and I know a couple of pre-season friendlies is all I've seen him in live, but in those games he was head and shoulders above Osman and McGeady - all over the pitch and ferocious in the tackle. Plus what we've seen at the World Cup of course - who was that he marked?
Dennis Ng
27 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:28:32
Not sure if anyone is building Besic up too much. He was an unused sub which could have helped us. If not, he shouldn't have been on the bench. He might not be ready for competitive matches, but didn't we throw in a kid name John Stones before he was fully ready? Sometimes, the only way out is trial by fire.

I'm hoping this is on of those "start of the season jitters". The 2 goals we conceded are criminal by our past few seasons' defensive record. The commentator even mentioned the first Arsenal goal to be at walking pace.

Stephen Brown
28 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:33:21
Brent, I agree with you to a point also and I was also calling for Besic to replace Osman during the match but I have read a lot of posters saying if he was on we wouldn't have lost. I just think we need to not build him up too much. I hope he turns into a great player for us, mind you!

He did mark Messi well but I'm sure he raised his game as often more limited players can in one-off games! He did also lose him for Argentina's winning goal, I believe?

Paul Ferry
29 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:42:45
Stephen (#28),

I donÂ’t think a playerÂ’s ability to perform effectively in the Premier League can be fairly and squarely evaluated on how well he did marking Messi.

Nigel Johnson
30 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:09:30
Stop making excuses – fitness problems? What's pre-season for then? It's not hard: I would have brought on Stones for Jags and brought on Atsu much earlier and played him on the right hand side.
Roger Helm
31 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:41:02
Our defence last year was good but it was the one inherited from Moyes. Now our CBs are a year older and slower. Does Martinez have any idea about defending, which is where to begin when building a team? If not, we need a good defensive coach as well as a proper stopper, PDQ.

When a team can't defend properly, the anxiety levels on and off the pitch bring the whole performance down. You can't be gung-ho or cavalier in this league, where nearly every mistake gets punished.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:50:22
OK, Stephen, when we find ourselves up against Messi, we'll drop Besic! Can't say fairer than that! I need to tone it down about Besic or might end up being very disappointed. Not like me to be so gut-feel and non-rational!
Stephen Brown
33 Posted 24/08/2014 at 21:56:42
Brent, sounds like a good plan when we play Barcelona in next year's Champions League semi-final. I reckon Ossie should do a job on him. Hibbo can pick up Neymar.
Steavey Buckley
34 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:12:10
Substitutions in both games against Leicester and Arsenal proved Everton's downfall, when in both games, there was need to stiffen the midfield with Besic and another defender on to pack the defence.

In Italy, you would not see top Serie A sides suffering the same embarrassment of drawing games in winning positions in the last 15 minutes. They would just shut the opposition out, by packing their defenses.

Brent Stephens
35 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:30:29
Stephen, Hibbo on Neymar! Droolsville USA! But we'd expect Hibbo to score as well?
Harold Matthews
36 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:33:10
Michael (19). Yes, we all know it was a blatant foul. We're talking about his size and strength. If it had been Lukaku doing the same thing at the other end, not many Blues would have complained.
Dennis Ng
37 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:41:40
Roger, valid point. That was my main worry when RM first arrived. Maybe it would be too early to say defensive issues aren't gonna show last year. Would an additional defensive coach work though or will it just undermine RM's philosophy?
Tommy Campbell
38 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:56:03
Did anyone watch the game? Mertesacker looked like he was running through a bog and was there for the taking. It was absolutely right that Martinez brought on Atsu (for pace) to exploit this. It didnÂ’t work, but it was the correct call.

People should hold their horses on Besic, IÂ’m hearing heÂ’s the answer to everything yet IÂ’ve never seen him play a Premier League game

Brent Stephens
41 Posted 24/08/2014 at 23:34:47
OK, you win again - for us!
Dick Fearon
42 Posted 24/08/2014 at 22:59:11
Probably the only manager at any level of professional or amateur football with his side struggling to preserve a two-goal lead with only ten minutes remaining brings on two strikers and plays with three up front. Sheer bloody madness!

He mentions our fitness levels yet his swanning around in Brazil when pre-season arrangements were being made could not have helped.

He says that Osman is not strong enough and can only last for two thirds of a game, well I never!

Nigel Gregson
43 Posted 24/08/2014 at 23:50:45
PaulFerry #3 : simply hilarious mate. I took two days off anything Everton. I was THAT furious by the end of the game. But you all at ToffeeWeb always cheer me up.

On looking at the highlights a couple of times, I could sense that Roberto is a little like me - i.e. laid back most of the times, but with a real aggressive desire to win deep inside. I could literally feel the anger as the cameras panned to his face after Giroud's second goal celebrations. It wasn't quite the ginger death stare but he was absolutely livid.

Here's what I think actually happened. That Pienaar injury threw a spanner in the works, he never really intended to play Leon for more than 15-20 minutes (if at all). But he always meant to replace Kevin and Lukaku (who are both coming off injuries and the World Cup). The Pienaar sub meant that all of a sudden he was one sub short with two already planned for second half. But who?

Second half starts and we hold our own till the 70th odd minute when Wenger plays his last cards and brings Cazorla and Campbell. Roberto goes for Atsu and McGeady – remember, he made a defensive sub last week which led to the goal (for which he was also criticized). This week he tries to keep attacking and keeping the defensive setup the same hoping not to cause any disruptions the way they did last week. He wasn't counting on individual errors like that Jagielka's jump (and he's definitely not going to publicly single the team captain out post match).

He was perhaps also hoping for a Deulofeu-like impact from Atsu, but Atsu seems not as scary / flamboyant an individual ball runner as Del Boy. I think the Atsu sub would have happened regardless of the game situation, since he wont get any game time next week and Roberto wanted to integrate him quickly.

Roberto pointed out post match: "We ran out of energy". This is Martinez being actually very critical by his usual standards. He's literally yelling at the boys to get fitter and to shape up. That he didn't go for Besic and went for McGeady was probably a mistake, but he can't substitute 11 people after 70 minutes for fatigue. It's not unfair on his part to expect the spine of the team (ie, the defenders and the defensive midfielders) to be able to play a full 90.

McCarthy, Barry, Coleman and Distin didn't go to the World Cup. Baines and Jags returned quite early. There are no excuses for any of them to be exhausted the way they were in the second game of the season. And Bobby pretty much acknowledged it, in his usually diplomatic way quite publicly.

It's fair to criticize the physical conditioning pre season and the lack of match fitness. Last year, Martinez was applauded for not applying dinosaur 'run up the hill' fitness methods to the team. He was also applauded for making game-changing attacking subs. Now he's being criticised for it – after a couple of games where, for the large parts, we owned the other team.

But it's not a sprint; it's a marathon... and his methods have proved to work in the longer run last season.

We'll see where we stand when Chelsea visit next week. Oh and BTW, expect to see some unexpected activity on transfer deadline day!

Mark Andersson
44 Posted 25/08/2014 at 01:28:35
Some great views as always. I like the open-minded opinions of the more level-headed people as it helps put into perspective that it is only early days. However, I do feel the same frustration as most too.

As always, the next game is the most important one; Chelsea will be a wee bit scared of how much Everton controlled Arsenal, and thatÂ’s a positive.

Christopher Kelly
45 Posted 25/08/2014 at 03:44:07
Besic should always be in!!! I don’t care. He is an athlete that we sorely need in a league that demands athletes/playmakers. Enough of these players that don’t change the game. If we want to compete with the top 4 we need dynamic players that belong on a top 4 team. We’ll that’s easy enough.
Jack Cross
46 Posted 25/08/2014 at 05:54:44
We didn't have these energy level problems under Moyes, so what's changed? Well, obviously the training is different. But it doesn't seem to be suiting the players.

I don't think RM knows how to defend and that's his problem. Just look at Wigan; when they went down, 76 goals they had against them. That's were "lovely to watch" attacking football got them under RM.

Jags has been a good servant but needs dropping and even Distin was shite. Did you see how many blue shirts were in the box when that cross came over and soft bollocks mis-timed his jump? And they still couldn't stop the goal. Tired legs... makes you laugh, don't it.

It's pretty basic: close up shop, especially when you've watched Arsenal score a last-minute goal the week before.

Can Lukaku play against Chelsea or was it only when he was on loan that he couldn't?

John Malone
47 Posted 25/08/2014 at 10:41:32
Jack you are joking aren't you? We've just paid 㿈 million for Lukaku and your asking can he play against his former team!

He best play regardless of his sore toe, and he best do some damage to them on Saturday and show Mourinho it was a mistake to sell him.

Joe Clitherow
48 Posted 25/08/2014 at 10:48:22
It is a concern that some of the traits RM has previously exhibited may be manifesting themselves. Mostly, this is a refusal to change his Â’styleÂ’ as circumstances dictate. At 2-0 up and with Arsenal pressing the priority should have been to close down the game. Substitutions should have been with this in mind. Everyone in the ground could sense Arsenal were going to score at least once, including the players.

The inability to close out was what cost Wigan their Prem place. Ironically the sensibilities of OFM - defensive substitutions, a focus on defensive organisation of the team and an emphasis on fitness - are exactly what was required on Saturday, and what was missing. I would actually say lack of fitness is a criminal state since that is the requirement of every single team as a minimum.

If not halfway, could not RM meet DM a little bit closer??

James Stewart
49 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:19:59
Partly fitness, but partly piss-poor subs again from RM cost us that game.
Phil Walling
50 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:13:27
Surprising how many are coming round to my way of thinking on Roberto. Because he is Everton's manager, I've always wanted him to do well but my fear is that he is a Football Philosopher rather than a Football Manager who must be prepared to re-act to a myriad of matchtime situations.

Our team's failure 'to last the distance' in the two opening matches is an entirely different matter caused by the man's obsession with the World Cup - both his own involvement and that of his players. Sending an undercooked team into action may well cost us dear.

Mike Green
51 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:26:46
Seems Roberto's damned if he does damned if he doesn't - he's come out and given his reasons for the draw, which are fair. He's not said we were unlucky, he's blamed our performance in the final stage of the game. Having acknowledged it I can't imagine he's not working on resolving it. Onwards and upwards.
Paul Andrews
52 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:33:03
Jack 46,

RM doesnÂ’t know how to defend?

I donÂ’t think thatÂ’s a fair statement. Have a look at amount goals conceded last season

Phil Walling
53 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:31:28
Jack @46. There is no PL regulation that requires players to be kept out of matches against teams from which they have been fully transferred. However, there's nothing to say Jose and Roberto have not settled on a 'private' arrangement to keep Romelo out of games between the clubs as a condition of the transfer.

If so, expect an announcement of a mystery injury to the striker later in the week !

Dean Adams
54 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:25:56
It never ceases to amaze me how many people refer to the Wigan relagation season to show RM's lack of defensive awareness and coaching. Those people seem to ignore that Wigan were injury ravaged that season and had two midfielders playing at the back for a large part of the season, who although they put the effort in, were simply not good enough in their unacostomed positions. Wigan went down because they had so many defenders out of action and ended up with squarw pegs!! We all know what that does for players. Look at the difference in Naismith since he has been played in his natural positions.
Gavin Ramejkis
55 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:37:06
Fail to plan and you plan to fail, the poor pre season is costing us as are individual errors and Father Time catching up on a few of the squad. A meaningless poor game against Leicester earned us little in terms of fitness or income, the remaining games just reinforced the obvious lack of match fitness. For those that warble on about pre season games being about fitness not the sport then play them behind closed doors and save us money watching tat, else if it's a money spinner then earn it and go to the states off the back of the World Cup, Elstone is as useless as his Chairman, a chase the egg fan not even a football man but even the incompetent would know USA would be the place to be and profiteer from the exploits of Tim Howard and sell merchandise and increase the fan base.

If the league was made from 60 min games we would be higher up the league, sadly it isn't and our lack of fitness and ageing squad is losing us points and a final league placing, god only knows what we have waiting in Europa, if we carry on as we have done it's another early televised hosing.

James McPherson
56 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:35:36
On a separate thread (couple of weeks back) there was focused debate around the pre-season. There was a fair bit of flak for the manager. Some were decreed to be wading in prematurely. At the time, though expressing concerns with how the pre-season was looking (not in terms of results - but just the seemingly general lack of cohesiveness and co-ordination of it all), I did agree with those contributors who said that we had to trust in Martinez. Well yes, only two games in, but the evidence of a lack of physical preparation of the players is there for all to see. Aligned to that you could say Martinez's own mental preparation around the combinations of best 11 with acquistions madeis also lacking. I am disappointed in Martinez. He's human, and it seems, like any of us (if we are being honest) he's been sucked into a degree of complacency, given last year's stellar performance - and it was (again if we are being honest). I think the length of his world cup soujourn was ill-advised, both in a practical sense and how it now actually looks. Most especially as the primary supporting reason - identifying potential ideas/players was rendered redundant very early on when he lost his accreditation (embarassing). Martinez's mural (though none of his doing) is not helping matters.

Sadly at a club like Everton (the 2014 version) we seem to get the best out of people when they are hungry and eager to prove....the moment we seem to adopt them, be it via a contract or adulation, the focus seems to disappear. A kick up the pants will do Martinez no harm.

Amit Vithlani
57 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:32:35
I was pleased as pie for 60 minutes but started to worry after that and thought if we let one in we would concede a second.

The defending has been poor. We look as if we will concede in every game we play whenever the oppo apply any pressure. I don't think Stones will necessarily tighten things by himself - the entire back four needs to work as a solid unit. That said, I would like to see him in the team. Given a choice, I would opt for replacing Distin. He is beginning to look his age and I wonder with a 1 year contract whether the motivation might be ebbing away and his thoughts are turning to retirement.

Our issue appears to be the large number of serious injuries our players are suffering. Whether this is bad luck or poor fitness conditioning we probably won't find out until the day Bobby leaves and beans are spilled (anyone remember Mark Ward's description of training under Mike Walker?).

We will take some stopping if we are able to tighten up at the back. Should our squad remain relatively healthy for the bulk of the season and we sign a back-up to Lukaku a top 4 finish is a very real possibility. Alternatively, a serious tilt at the Europa, with its Champions League place, would be a glorious way to end the season.

Disappointed with the dropped points so far, but there is much to come. Lets hope the manager gets us defending better sooner rather than later.

James McPherson
58 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:50:49
Joe Clitherow (48) - some would see Martinez as an absolute replica of Moyes. Sure, their philosophies are polar opposite - but their intransigence in taking a step back and considering deviating from their respective philosophy is one and the same. Certainly delivers the same outcome: their own pride superseding the best possible result. Moyes threw away buckets of points as will Martinez. Mourinho and Ferguson are similar...except they have (had in SAF United's case) billions of pounds of talent to get them out of jail! Being dogged and doing the same thing week in weeek out, no matter what the outcome, is not a luxury a club like Everton can's an indulgence. We have to think, adapt and earn every last point.
Paul Dark
59 Posted 25/08/2014 at 13:09:18
Osman, McGeady and Alcaraz will be RM's undoing unless he can see their shortcomings very soon. They gift possession, goals and control to the opposition regularly.
Patrick Murphy
60 Posted 25/08/2014 at 12:59:54
Both matches this season have been dominated by Everton and both matches should have been won and we should have six points. But we haven't and as usual those who don't fancy Roberto as Everton manager are binging up the pre-season, his sojourn to Brazil and his bad defensive record at Wigan. Now I'm not at all happy that we have thrown away 4 points but I am very happy that we have taken the game to the opposition in both matches and have been visibly the better side for long periods not something that we have been used to too often in the last few years. The problem in both games is that we stopped hurting the opposition and Arsenal in particular should never have been allowed to dominate possession in the second-half and that was either a deliberate ploy or a return to the bad habits of previous years. Arsenal were also out on their feet around 70 minutes but they were chasing the game and had to press forward, Everton didn't but should have done, because I'm almost certain that we would have scored another to finish the game off. I don't want Everton to return to the bad old days of keeping things tight and sneaking wins here and there I want the team to play good football for 90 minutes and earn their win, obviously sometimes that isn't always possible but I'd much prefer that to what I saw in the second-half on Saturday when Everton almost from the re-start decided to hold on to what they had - notice how long Tim was taking over his goal-kicks to me that smacks of cowardice and shouldn't be tolerated. Take your time in the last few minutes by all means, but if you are in the lead at home early doors, go and try and take the game away from your opponents not retreat and invite them onto you. I think that most of Everton's shortcomings come from a lack of mental strength and not necessarily physical strength.
James McPherson
61 Posted 25/08/2014 at 13:39:43
Patrick Murphy (60)

Hi Patrick - that's a fair response. Not sure that people are turning on Martinez - I am certainly not. I am happy he's at the helm. His perfomance last year was terrific. What I am agaisn't is complacency and a seeming unwillingess to adapt his philosophy - no one is asking him to forgo or compromise it.

Just a quick question to you: What are your thoughts on the pre-season and do you believe there is any connectivity with this and the opening two games? Also, in hindsight, what are your thoughts with the length of time he spent at the World Cup?

Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 25/08/2014 at 13:48:54
Personally I don't think that Roberto being in Brazil had any consequence to how his players are performing or their lack of perceived fitness levels. The FA should have held back the start of the season but as usual they are not interested in what the fans think.

I think the pre-season was disjointed and for whatever reason that has given those who don't like RM to have something to use against him. But these players are paid thousands a week and should be aware of the fitness levels required, perhaps they have also over-relaxed in the run-up to the season and not pushed themselves as much as they did in previous seasons. Perhaps it has been a deliberate decision on behalf of the management but I can't accept that because 3 points at this stage of the season are equal to 3 points later in the season. Had Everton FC won those two games 2-1 nobody would have been raising it as an issue, I'm not dismissing it totally but as I don't have the players individual records available I am not in a position to judge how fit they are compared to other seasons.

I am more inclined to believe that the Everton players in both games thought they had the points in the bag and lacked the necessary professional attitude to see the games out, if we had have been losing both matches 2-1 in the closing stages we would have found the energy to try and rescue the situation similar to the reaction at Leicester when it cane too late to win the game for the second time.

James McPherson
63 Posted 25/08/2014 at 14:12:26
Fair play Patrick - thanks for your's always about opinion. I just sense that we are undercooked and our pre-season has rolled into the season itself.
Mark Fitzgerald
64 Posted 25/08/2014 at 14:02:28
Patrick # 62 - Spot on! We lost points in both games because some players on the field made the decision to play it safe and hold on to the lead. Almost inevitably this attitude comes back to haunt the team as it invites the opposition (whether it's newbies Leicester or Top 4 Arsenal) on to you. We see this week in, week out at all levels.

I have no issue with playing things smart and not taking unnecessary risks at the death but why change your style & attitude when you have dominated for 75 mins. The players need to answer that question. As for RM, well he had selected the correct team and tactics as the 2-0 lead attested to. When it became obvious that we were sitting back late on then his job to get a message out to the players or change personnel earlier.

Fitness? Come on, professional athletes. The Everton players were no more tired than Arsenal's. The difference was that the Londoners showed a bit of spirit and effort at the end and were rewarded. Let that be a lesson for our guys. But let''s not forget that we were totally outclassing a team that is earmarked for top 4 by most pundits. Learn and move on. A bright season still awaits!

Tony McNulty
65 Posted 25/08/2014 at 14:28:23
The dilemma is that we need the speed, energy and skills of Stones at the back ... but married to the experience and wise old heads of Jagielka and Distin.
Phil Walling
66 Posted 25/08/2014 at 14:19:51
Whilst all of us want things to go well, we may differ in the degree of optimism we bring to the party. Many will see only the positives in any situation and be able to explain away all the shortcomings of the manager and his players. I call them the 'always tomorrow' merchants.

Others - and I include myself in this bunch - re-act to the game by game performance and express our fears as a means of relief. We, too, hope things will get better but don't automatically expect them to do so.

Whichever camp we fall into, we're still proud to be Evertonians!

Mike Childs
67 Posted 25/08/2014 at 15:25:02
I enjoyed your assessment Patrick M. I also enjoy yours Phil because I consider myself an always tomorrow type of guy so I need that balance.

I also want. To thank all the contributors here at TW as a fan for only 5 years my knowledge of game time situations certainly is lacking. I wish I grew up with this game instead of American football which is so over commercialized and boring that in the last three years the only games I have watched in their entirety is the SuperBowl.

Jack Cross
68 Posted 25/08/2014 at 19:03:45
John Malone, no I'm not joking. someone told me that Jose and Roberto had agreed not to play Lukaku against Chelsea in transfer. I was merely asking was that possible? And Phil Walling said it is possible.
Mark Tanton
69 Posted 25/08/2014 at 19:26:37
Carragher pointing out, using all his technology, how completely played out Everton were in the last quarter of the Arsenal game.
Kevin Tully
70 Posted 25/08/2014 at 19:29:00
Just watched that Mark - McCarthy was clearly injured for the last ten minutes, so he couldn't close down as effectively as he was doing the whole game.

As has been pointed out on here though, basic, positioning issues with Jagielka and Distin were shown to be the main cause of their first goal.

Darren Hind
71 Posted 25/08/2014 at 19:51:05
You have to laff

On thread about The boss ruing the fact that we had players blowing out of their arses with a good twenty minutes to go (something all of Goodison witnessed). We still have the same people who told us to calm down because pre season wasnt important, trying to convince us to deny the evidence of our own eyes.

Martinez 's devotees are getting themsleves in a right pickle. In an attempt to support their earlier defence of his
"preparation " they are now having to contradict him by claiming we don't have a fitness issue.

At least Martinez is admitting that this is "where we are" at the moment

John Malone
72 Posted 25/08/2014 at 21:58:15
Jack Cross, someone’s pulling your leg mate, I don’t know what’s more worrying – the fact you fell for it or you putting it on the internet, pull your socks up son!
John Crawley
73 Posted 26/08/2014 at 13:52:14
Darren - speaking as a fan of Martinez it's clear the pre-season arrangement were not adequate, otherwise the energy levels wouldn't be dropping like they are. Most teams started the week before we did and had played 4 games by the end of July. We only had the two games against Tranmere and Leicester by then. Still nothing we can do about it now but we have to do better next pre-season as we can't afford to be giving other clubs a headstart.

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