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Pre-derby planning scuppered by Mirallas injury

by | 29/09/2014  Comments (115)  jump

Mirallas went down clutching his hamstring and was stretchered away after half an hour of the Anfield derby
Roberto Martinez admits that the loss to injury of Kevin Mirallas, a key component in his attacking strategy for Saturday's Merseyside derby, "killed us" and contributed to a disappointing display by Everton going forward.

The Belgian forward had been rested for most of the two prior matches so that he would be in prime condition to take on Liverpool but he pulled up sharply after half-an-hour's play with a suspected hamstring tear.

Mirallas underwent a scan on the injury today and will likely need further examination to determine the full severity of the problem but his manager says that his plans for the match relied on the Belgian's attacking talents and abilities with the ball.

Today we were very poor on the ball," the manager said on Saturday after the 1-1 draw. "That wasn't our way of playing. I thought Kevin Mirallas's injury killed us in that respect because all the work we did in the last week was with Kevin coming in fresh."

He didn't start against Crystal Palace, he didn't play in the Capital One Cup against Swansea, and him coming off today affected us a little bit in what we wanted to do in possession.

We all know where we are and we weren't anywhere near our standards. I thought the team was fatigued today. Mentally we couldn't find a pass. We couldn't be our normal self with the ball."

Mirallas is expected to be sidelined for at least a month and will almost certainly miss the next three fixtures on the calendar, including the trips to Krasnodar and Old Trafford and the home game with Aston Villa after the international break. He will also miss Belgium's opening Euro2016 qualifiers against Andorra and Bosnia-Herzegovina next month.  

Reader Comments (115)

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Brian Harrison
1 Posted 29/09/2014 at 15:44:55
I find RMs comments about the team being fatigued in Saturday’s derby game – to use one of RMs terms – incredible. So if we are fatigued after 6/7 games then God help us in the later stages of the season. I remember Paisley saying if you tell players they looked tired you are giving them an excuse.

Also, I found RMs comments after the game against Arsenal strange. He said that he thought leading 2-0 was a dangerous score, so next time we get 2 up, do the players think: "Be careful, this is a dangerous score"?

James Stewart
2 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:04:46
Big loss. McGeady is next to useless on the left so maybe itÂ’s time to see what Atsu can offer there.
Richard Harris
3 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:04:27
If the players are mentally or physically fatigued for the derby after so few games then something is clearly wrong with the coaching staff and the preparation of the players. If players canÂ’t be motivated then just donÂ’t bother to collect their wages and if the coaching staff are failing then get in a better backroom team.

And as for a 2-0 lead being a dangerous score, listen to Alan IrvineÂ’s comments after the West Brom vs Burnley game at the weekend. "People say itÂ’s a dangerous lead, 2-0, IÂ’d have to say IÂ’d take it every week."

Lyndon Lloyd
4 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:16:25
The thing about 2-0 being a dangerous score is one of those self-fulfilling footballing prophesies that is becoming a cliche. The Arsenal game last month was a classic example of it where the psychology of a match changes significantly when it gets to 2-1. Just another mental aspect of the game that managers can try and manage.

I, too, find the comment about mental fatigue baffling so early in the season, particularly as half the team was rested for Swansea. They certainly looked out of sorts going forward on Saturday so there was definitely something psychological going on but I canÂ’t see how it could be "fatigue".

Geoff Evans
5 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:21:00
2-0 has always been a dangerous score... If you’re losing by it.

If you can’t defend a 2-0 lead, it’s your own bloody fault.

Paul Andrews
6 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:29:42
Lyndon @ 4

Always baffled me that one.
I think 0-2 is a far more dangerous score.

Brian Harrison
7 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:29:11
I am beginning to have some slight concerns regarding RM especially in light of some of his comments this season. He now claims the players were fatigued for the derby game, 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline, and now he says all our attacking strategy fell apart because one of the forwards got injured. Surely when you are planning your strategy, it should have as many options as possible – not all about one player.
Chris Corn
8 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:44:16
It’s annoying that it’s clear from Martinez’s comments that Mirallas was rested for Palace and Swansea to have him ready for the derby. Surely you look to get the points on the board against the likes of Palace and worry about the rest later.

Common sense to me... but I suppose that is why I am posting in here and am not involved in the professional game.

Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:41:33
I feel almost guilty of misreading something here...

So the more ’pragmatic’ approach was down to our inability to pass the ball forward effectively without the most selfish of our forwards in the game?

While our ’centre-forward’ and main goal threat, Big Rom, presumably didn’t get the message about Kevin having retired hurt, and continued to follow touch-line hugging instructions...

Nevertheless, we proved to be much more effective defensively at Anfield (although I do feel the lapses previously this season were uncharacteristic, rather than systemic) yet Roberto says our entire gameplan went out the window (okay, I’m reading between the lines a little there...) implying that apparent defensive solidity in this game was an unfortunate side effect of Mirallas going off?

I’ve probably got that all wrong, haven’t I?

Antony Matthews
10 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:50:40
Richard #3 Big Duncan is a member of the backroom staff so I can’t see it being motivation. Some players need to start earning the right to wear the shirt.
Denis Richardson
11 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:35:08
On the whole, it’s been more of a baffling start to the season than a disappointing one for me. Main issue I see is that no-one at the club seems to know what the fuck the problem is.

We’re told the players are physically tired, then it’s they’re mentally tired, then it’s individual errors, then it’s too ’low intensity’, can’t find a pass, not our ’normal self’. So many different reasons/descriptions for basically just shite.

Personally I think the problem is simply that the confidence is low because we never quite recovered mentally from throwing the leads away to Leicester and especially Arsenal. Had we managed to get the 3 points against the Arse, we’d have seen a better performance in the games that followed.

The team needs to get back to winning ways and putting a run together. A team that’s winning doesn’t suffer from any kind of ’fatigue’, never mind only 6 games into the season! We’re lucky that it’s still very early in the season and, despite our crap start, we’re only 4 points off 4th.

We only have one home game between now and November (which may be a blessing) so we just need to take it one game at a time – starting with the away game to the Ruskies. Winning breeds confidence, which leads to playing better which leads to winning etc.

With Mirallas, Coleman and Barkley all out, it doesn’t leave Roberto too much to work. Main decision would be to rest Jags or Stones on Thursday as Distin could probably do a job at CB, with Hibbo or Browning at RB. Up front, Eto’o and Naisy would hopefully be enough to see off the Ruskies. I would also like to see Besic and Atsu on the pitch with Oviedo and Kone given some minutes.

We shouldn’t treat the Ruskies away game lightly but it’s a long trip to get there so I would look to leave a couple of players behind with one eye on Sunday but would still take a strongish team.

Matty Dawkins
12 Posted 29/09/2014 at 17:10:26
If Coleman is fit on Sunday, I would like to see him at RM and Hibbert or Browning at RB.
Kevin Dale
13 Posted 29/09/2014 at 16:54:12
Roberto Martinez making excuses for a poor performance which he sets the game plan for! Obviously no Plan B?

Players fatigued!! No way! He has to look at his game plan of passing the ball around the back and the midfield sitting deep plus not pressing the opposition in there own half until we are a goal down!!

Some of his comments are really disappointing, I want him do well but I am rapidly loosing confidence in his management style plus the way we are performing after a really good and enjoyable last season! The shambles of preseason is starting to show through IÂ’m afraid!!

James Flynn
14 Posted 29/09/2014 at 17:12:49
Going by Lyndon’s OP, I can’t see where Roberto claimed mental fatigue. He spoke of fatigue, which I took to mean physical. No news flash there. We’ve all being wondering about that since game 1.

He then said, "Mentally we couldn’t find a pass."

We know physical exertion causes fatigue which, definitely, causes mental error. The 2 are for sure connected. Is that what he was getting at?

Again, as to the physical fatigue so early in the season, it is peculiar the lads weren’t (still aren’t?) ready when the bell rang. Getting Ready for the Season 101 stuff.

John Keating
15 Posted 29/09/2014 at 17:26:55

I think the confidence was lacking before the Leicester game. The pre-season was a total fiasco. All this shit about getting fit – match-fit – and results not counting, well it’s obvious the fit side of things never got anywhere near being achieved. Look at the way we were knackered after 70 minutes of our first 3-4 games.

Losing pre-season and not playing well at all must have registered with the players. Leicester and Arsenal was just the culmination. We flattered to deceive against Wolfsburg.

I’m just hoping the bit of luck we got on Saturday and Jagielka finally finding form – regardless of the goal – starts the season.

Regarding Martinez’s press conferences and excuses, well absolute shite to say the least. Idiot – or thinks we are!

Anthony Flack
16 Posted 29/09/2014 at 17:38:00
I am no expert on the condition of players but wonder if there is in fact a problem created by resting players, ie, caused by the policy or rotation. Wenger pointed out that both Arteta and Ramsey pulled up with muscle injuries, yet they were the players rested.... Just a thought

Also, does anyone know if it the same hamstring as the one he did at the end of last season against Man Utd?

Lyndon Lloyd
17 Posted 29/09/2014 at 17:53:24
You’re right, James (14), although the point remains. Those players should not be fatigued in any way at this stage of the season... unless they weren’t fit enough to start the campaign in the first place. Which takes us full circle to the early-season debates following the Leicester and Arsenal matches regarding the players’ fitness levels.

Michael, I think defensive solidity was absolutely part of the gameplan, if not the foundation thereof. The other half was to use the counter-attack to catch Liverpool out-numbered but we just couldn’t get it together when the opportunities arose.

Obviously we would have stood a better chance had Mirallas stayed on the pitch but we’ll never know.

James Flynn
18 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:09:58
Mirallas certainly had hammy problems when Moyes first brought him in. Don’t know if it’s the same leg.
James Flynn
19 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:22:11
Lyndon - Yep, no quarrel out of me. The team fit for the start of the season is THE minimum baseline expectation.


Declan Brown
20 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:07:08
I’m not one for excuses about fatigue at this stage of the season, get a grip will ye! If they’re fatigued already, then the players have been very poorly prepared in pre-season; the finger for that points solely at the management team. That, along with organisation, is basics.

We’re clearly lacking confidence, surely when that happens, you make sure you’re organised at the back and the players are fully fit, thus increasing the feeling that they’re stronger physically. That stuff is basic at any level, never mind at the highest level.

How many times has a struggling team appointed a new manager, who gets them organised, making them much harder to break down / beat and also in for double training sessions to increase fitness & strength? It was the first thing big Joe did after he took over from Mike Walker. Be tough, strong, fit and no nonsense at the back and play your football from midfield onwards. Be direct when you have to be too.

I love wee Roberto, but sometimes listening to him this season I wonder if he himself is on double doses of the happy pills right now. He’s a good manager, but now we’ll find out if he has it to be a great manager. Right now is horrible, the response to this situation so far has the alarm bells ringing, it worries me that we’re not seen to be fixing this.

I’d close the shop up at the back and get only one of Coleman / Baines going forward at the same time to give us an extra man at the back. And play Lukaku up top where he belongs. McGeady, Barry, Lukaku, Howard and Distin need to be told to sort it out now or walk the plank.

On a final note, away to Liverpool on the Saturday, away in Russia on the Thursday evening, then a lunchtime away game at Old Trafford on Sunday – that’ll teach us in future, how cruel can a fixture list / your luck be eh!

Great to see us back in Europe but this week is a killer, Russia then Old Trafford less than 72 hours later – Ouch!

Mark Griffiths
22 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:46:58
Mental fatigue in September! FFS, those overpaid pansies want to go and do the job of a nurse or GP for a week and then they can talk about mental (and physical for that matter) fatigue!
Paul Smith
23 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:56:17
Big Dunc’s the first team coach. What’s he doing to them?
Colin Glassar
24 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:53:46
I’m a bit baffled by Roberto this season, tbh. Last season, most of his choices seemed to be spot on but this season he seems to be a bit erratic with his team selections, tactics and substitutions. Maybe he believed all the pre-season hype surrounding him and recent results/performances have been a wake-up call.

There were signs of things tightening up at the back at least on Saturday which has been a major concern. But the comments regarding Mirallas and fatigue are a bit strange to say the least.

Harold Matthews
25 Posted 29/09/2014 at 18:47:38
Yes, on Saturday I was shocked to see so many of our better players, front and back, pass the ball straight to an opponent standing 15/20 yards away. I couldn’t even analyse it. Wearing perfect boots, on a perfect pitch with a perfect ball and not under any pressure, I would expect any half-decent amateur player to hit the target every time.
Ian McDowell
26 Posted 29/09/2014 at 19:24:11
After Mirallas went off, that meant we had lost 3 of our main creative players with Barkley and Pienaar being the other 2. Add that to Coleman then possibly 4. Pienaar is such an intelligent player that I think we don’t realise at times how much we miss him and Baines doesn’t seem the same without him.

McGeady can be such a frustrating player; sometimes all a winger needs is to get a yard of space and then play a ball in hard and low and hope the CF is on the move as soon as the ball is played.

Ian McDowell
27 Posted 29/09/2014 at 19:33:27
2-0 is a dangerous score line. If you look at stats, many teams come back from 2-0 down because the 3rd goal is often decisive. The team that’s chasing the game get it and Game On; the team that’s leading then good night. That’s why I think at 2-0 you should never sit back and get deeper and deeper as this just invites pressure.
Colin Glassar
28 Posted 29/09/2014 at 19:34:11
Spot on, Ian.

Pienaar, despite losing a bit of pace, is a highly intelligent player who can create something out of nothing. He works so well with Baines that he’s been a massive loss and Baines hasn’t been able to strike up a similar level of understanding with Mirallas or McGeady, never mind Atsu.

Once we get the likes of Pienaar and Barkley back, we will be more than a threat to most teams,

Peter Bell
29 Posted 29/09/2014 at 19:47:24
Anthony -10

I’m starting to get tired of this Duncan Ferguson thing. Why should motivation not be a problem because he is a coach? He picked and chose when he turned up himself, and very often showed no motivation in the lesser games.

I have seen little or no improvement in anything since he was promoted. In fact results have gone in decline.

Paul Holden
30 Posted 29/09/2014 at 20:01:14
So basically what El Bob is saying is we’re one-dimensional when it comes to attacking football and have got no chance with Mirallas out!

Ah well... could be worse, we might be playing our record signing centre forward on the right touchline, crossing to, er, nobody in the box!

Peter Murray
31 Posted 29/09/2014 at 20:46:41
I just do not understand all the nit-picking on both the performance and RobertoÂ’s comments.

This was a vast improvement on last yearÂ’s humiliation. We were playing the 2nd best Premier League team at their place and nearly snatched it in the end.

Jags produced an impressive captainÂ’s performance and scored a screamer. HeÂ’s taken a lot of stick on recent posts here. Time to give him credit where credit is due.

Jim Bennings
32 Posted 29/09/2014 at 21:15:50
We have been awful so far this season, there can be no dressing it up any other way. The result on Saturday was far better than the woefully abject display we saw for most of the game.

I am getting concerned with EvertonÂ’s clear fatigue and quite frankly lethargic looking displays. We looked fucked during pre-season and it just hasnÂ’t really got any better.

Martinez now has to start Atsu and lay down the gauntlet to him, say to him "Show me why I signed you, show me what strengths you possess."

ItÂ’s blatantly obvious Mirallas will be missed, we donÂ’t have another wide midfielder who can be the same goal threat as Mirallas. McGeady just doesnÂ’t have it, Pienaar had it but doesnÂ’t play enough anymore.

Atsu needs to really stand up and show himself as worthy of a first team regular slot, he canÂ’t live off the squad player tag all season, with a major loss like Mirallas then both Atsu and McGeady need to start doing something special over the next month.

Gavin McGarvey
33 Posted 29/09/2014 at 20:05:34
Real pity having Mirallas out, and for a while it seems. Hopefully Barkley will be back soon to add a bit more threat up front. Until then we’ll have to muddle through with the likes of McGeady and Osman etc... Obviously it will help having Pienaar back because he’s such a help to our all round play, but I think we still need more threat in attack.

Regarding RM’s comments, they are a bit strange. Maybe he’s feeling the strain of the second-season syndrome. I think his tactics were better against Liverpool, even if the players didn’t exactly shine on the pitch. Hopefully the late comeback and maybe a performance on Thursday will kick start the season.

Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 29/09/2014 at 21:44:41
What did Roy Keane, once say? "Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail".

It was patently obvious that pre-season wasn’t thorough enough, so when the games start coming thick and fast, we aren’t quite ready physically. The best thing Martinez could do is shorten his interviews, and lengthen his training sessions!

It’s going to be a long few months but, if we’re still in Europe come April, I for one won’t be complaining.

Peter Gorman
35 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:09:10
Mirallas and Coleman are the two players we have who definitely care nothing for reputations, which is why they are so often key players in the big games.

This is a big, big loss. Despite having even less of a pre-season than our other sorry lot, Mirallas has been our most potent attacking threat. Gutted.

Peter Gorman
36 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:17:08
And before I forget; Liverpool fans who cheered when he went down clutching his hamstring. Hope you fucking choked on Jagielka’s goal.
Gavin Johnson
37 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:24:49
Does anyone know when Pienaar is likely to be back??
Peter Bell
38 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:37:24
Peter Gorman - 36.

Chill out mate, they cheered because he kicked their racist, biting hero. He brought their club into disrepute THREE times and THREE times they begged him to stay. And in the end he shit on them from a great height and left.

Luis Suarez became bigger than LFC and they put him there; for that, they will always be a small club with no class.

Derek Williams
39 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:43:32
Peter (#36), you’ve presumably forgotten the night Dan Gosling scored the goal which knocked the RS out of the cup. Gerrard hobbled off, how we laughed and cheered as their one-man team disappeared down the tunnel! Just saying like.... we’re not always blameless ourselves!!
Jim Bennings
40 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:49:01

No idea on Pienaar mate.

Sadly he never seems to get a run of games anymore, started picking up niggly injuries over the past 18 months. I really like Pienaar but I fear his best days are fading now, it would be a real shame if his latter years are spoilt through injuries.

Makes me wonder why Oviedo wasn’t in the squad on Saturday and what is the story with Kone? Before Swansea he was meant to be nearing full fitness apparently but hasn’t made the bench yet. Surely Thursday right??

Nick Entwistle
41 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:49:26
So are the players fatigued or unfit? If fatigued, then they should be rested. Unfit, then play every match.

Surely they’re just unfit, with or without the World Cup.

Gavin Johnson
42 Posted 29/09/2014 at 22:58:47
Cheers Jim, Yeah, it seems it’s kinda accepted by all including the club (who don’t seem to update us) that Pienaar’s a crock now. He has continual niggling injuries and then seems to appear for a few games then disappears again.

I’d wrote him off in the summer hoping we’d get a fee for him, but was pleased to say he proved me wrong and looked great against Leicester. We could really do with his skill and interplay with Baines right now.

Jim Bennings
43 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:08:11
Agree Nick

They shouldn’t be fatigued now, it’s not pre-season and the World Cup is long gone, not that the likes of Lukaku really saw that much action anyway, yet Lukaku himself has so far looked one of the worst culprits and most sluggish.

I take you back to season 2007-08...

We went on a 13-match unbeaten run from early November to December 23rd, playing week-in, week-out, in THREE competitions, we progressed to the League Cup semi-finals and we’re in fine form both in the Premier League and Europe.

For me, tiredness is and always has been predominantly a psychological thing. If you’re playing fantastic and out of your skin, then you want to play every single day; you can’t wait to get out there... but, when things aren’t going well, it’s too easy to hide behind the excuse of fatigue or too many games.

To be successful, you must play lots of games. To win cups or compete in European competitions then you must play lots of games The sooner the better we get used to this idea.

John Daley
44 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:18:31
"Idiot, or thinks we are"

So, what part of him saying the team were poor on the ball and looked jaded suggests that he thinks supporters are dunces or dickheads? When he comes out after a sub-par performance and states he saw positives to be taken it’s said that he’s either sticking his head in the sand or taking the piss.

Now when he comes out and states he wasn’t satisfied with the showing, and pinpoints where he thinks his men fell short of their standards, he’s... err... sticking his head in the sand or taking the piss? He should start talking through a sock puppet in his next press conference and see how people interpret that.

Peter Gorman
45 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:26:28
Derek (39) I must have missed that bit as I popped out to buy some tic-tacs.
Dick Fearon
46 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:06:59
Roberto admitting to players’ lack of fitness at this early stage of the season has clearly put himself in the frame. While not exonerating him from blame, he at least differs from Moyes in that OFM never once owned up to a personal mistake. He would offer a variety of wonderful reasons for the team’s failings. His excuses would vary from the pitch, the weather, the Ref, the players, bad luck etc but never was it his own tactics, team selection, knife to a gun fight, use of subs etc.

I think Roberto holds a very low opinion of the fans intelligence which in itself is a form of arrogance. Before he loses more credibility, I suggest he either gives us the plain unvarnished facts or keeps his gob shut.

John Daley
47 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:43:14
Dick, nice list but you missed the most telling way in which he differs from Moyes. He was dissatisfied with a derby performance that claimed a point and never came out after the game claiming fans should feel fucking grateful because it’s ’incredible for Everton to get a draw at Anfield’.
Jim Bennings
48 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:40:48
I don’t think there are that many facts that need explaining Dick other than it’s been either a very lacklustre preparation pre-season wise or quite simply we just don’t posses the fittest athletes in our squad.

It is very possible that, because we have quite a few, shall we say, "veteran" type players, then we are not going to be as physically tuned as, say, a team with naturally athletic lads. For example, say, Crystal Palace who when they visited both in April and last week looked much more pacy powerful and more athletic, not necessarily a better skilled team but certainly more athletic.

If you notice there is a recurring theme with Everton and that is we always struggle against these types of teams. It could simply be we are looking unfit because of the personnel we possess these days.

Jim Bennings
49 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:50:12
Perhaps more validity to this point is shown in the way we play with such a slow low-key build up. We are not exactly a high intensity team and maybe Martinez has worked this out; it would explain why we play the way we do.

Martinez, you’d hope, would eventually – as time goes on and the older guys leave – look to change our style to something a little quicker.

Conor McCourt
51 Posted 30/09/2014 at 00:12:29
Some really over-the-top posts on here. We played a team where we have a woeful record without four of our most creative players, yet come away with a great point and the manager points out we didn’t pass the ball well enough and he is getting slated on here.

Apparently we are awful this season, yet the only game I have seen where we didn’t hold our own was the Palace game, where we were pathetic.

Some of our so-called fans should look at our main rivals Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs and Arsenal to see how they are faring despite their spending power and operating on a different wage structure. In addition we have had to cope with European games and a dramatic decline in Dystin and our captain being made a scapegoat for England’s failure at the World Cup just because the media cannot attack their darling Gerrard.

After we play Man Utd, we have five really winnable league games and then I will be very interested to see how we are sitting in the table and some of the fair-weather posters returning with positive comments. We have enough adversity from outside the club and we need support from within, not ridicule.

Phil Walling
52 Posted 29/09/2014 at 23:53:30
The truth is that this season we are just plain ordinary. All the magic of last year has disappeared on the back of a shockingly ill-prepared pre-season and decidedly quirky team selection, tactical nous and substitutions.

We are now back in the Walter Smith era, scratting around with the likes of
Stoke and Albion with far too many players with the "sicknote" mentality. Key areas such as goal, central defence and creative midfield have failed to be addressed as vital funds have been blown on a striker now deployed on the wing.

Yes, it’s early days but points now count for the same value as those gained later. Already a 10-point gap exists between top spot and our team and seventeenish could once again become as familiar as the much derided seventhish.

Face up to the crap we are watching. The manager is a snake-oil salesman!

Mark Andersson
53 Posted 30/09/2014 at 00:32:05
Oh joy, interesting statement by Bobby, my initial reaction was to slate the man. However after reading all the post I conclude that:

One, maybe Bobby should revert to Speaking Spanish;

Two: the players have a responsibility to motivate themselves and do extra training to up their fitness levels.

And Three: The fans should support their team no matter who is on the field. Just look at Naismith and his improvement.

So I will hope that The McGeady bashers give the lad a break.

Ian Black
54 Posted 30/09/2014 at 00:01:28
I’m as baffled with Martinez comments as everyone. Pretty much all the time.

Anyway, thought I’d lighten the mood a little....

On Saturday, as I have young kids in the house and am unable to get to as many games as I’d like, fortune favoured me as the missus decided to take out the small troupe to a new ’play area’ just before the derby was on. I waved them goodbye at about 11 and was delighted to hear at about midday that they had to wait outside the venue for about an hour just to get in due to the queues. ’It’s terrible, isn’t it?’ I lied down the phone when I found out.

Well, as a non-Sky/BT subscriber, I thought I’d chance a ’stream’’ on the PC and, despite clicking on many links, I was confronted by my PC virus protection saying something along the lines of "Whoah! Don’t be watching this shit! It’s full of viruses, trojans and all sorts of stuff you won’t have even heard of yet."

I ceded to my technological superior and decided to listen to the game on Radio 5Live as Radio City/Merseyside somehow wouldn’t work(?). After what felt like a bit of a petty mauling with a soft mallet, and the obligatory Gerrard goal, the missus and the kids managed to time it perfectly and got home with five minutes until the end. I knew then I couldn’t continue listening, without arbitrating between dinosaurs, transformers and Scooby Doo models, so I took myself out into the back garden, resigned to once again losing at the ground which grows holes.

As I stood there and pondered collecting the hanging laundry, one of my neighbours about three to four doors down started to play, on a mightily impressive sound system, the beginning strains of You’ll Never Walk Alone (I write this in full, as to abbreviate such an obscenity gives it importance, credence and a sort of slushy kopite familiarity that I’m unwilling to subscribe to – note the small k in kopite).

Well anyway, just as what I reckoned to be the final whistle approaching, Gerry immersed in his notoriety and picking up octaves, the washing hanging limp despite the breeze, I heard my unidentified neighbour half shriek, half wail, ’Fuckkkkinnnn helll!!!’ and the auditory hell, screeched to a halt. The bastard was playing it on an old record player and I heard the needle ’kwwwwwwttttt’ as it was removed from the much overplayed disc.

That was the moment I found out Jags had hit that thunderbastard. Shortly afterwards, the pub opposite started to belt out "It’s a grand old team". Despite not knowing the score or the circumstances, I smiled as I seen a squirrel chase along the top of my fence. I’m sure he had stolen a nut from somewhere. MotD was back on the playlist later and I hoped someone in my street was nursing a mortally scratched record. Hopefully, a signed one.

Dennis Ng
55 Posted 30/09/2014 at 01:00:14
Michael, how you ’misread’ RM’s comments cracked me up. We got a great result after playing poorly. I guess we need to always throw our gameplan away every game now. Isn’t the whole idea of the possession game supposed to allow us more tricks up our sleeves?

Conor, definitely not a time to be downbeat over the recent results. If we finish top 4 at the end of the season, I wonder how many will eat their own words. You have to admit, our form lately has been mediocre at best. Better safe than sorry and buck the trend before the whole season is out of control.

Phil, he does sound like a top notch salesman doesn’t he?

Paul Dark
56 Posted 30/09/2014 at 01:25:49
As long as McGeady is kept away from playing, we’ll be OK. Martinez places such emphasis on keeping the ball and then lionizes McGeady. It’s so weird.
Harold Matthews
57 Posted 30/09/2014 at 01:26:56
Don’t get all the fuss. Losing Mirallis definitely upset our game-plan and, in the circumstances, I thought we did fine.

Personally I was very pleased with his criticism of our passing and general attacking link-up play because more than one player had careless moments which nearly cost us. Whether it was due to fatigue or loss of focus, I really wouldn’t know. The mental stress of derby games starts well before the actual match and can take it’s toll. From my vantage point, the majority of RS players looked pretty knackered.

Dick Fearon
58 Posted 30/09/2014 at 03:18:41
Ian @ 54, That squirrel you saw, was it a bright orangy colour? It may have been doing a runner from its perch on Balotelli’s head.
Anto Byrne
59 Posted 30/09/2014 at 03:17:49
From Naismith to McGeady, FFS, give the bloke some time. How long did it take Naismith to come good? He’s now a very important player.

I’ve seen some good things from the Irishman so all we really need is a bit of consistency which comes from games and confidence. It’s not like we paid 㿈 million for him, closer to 28 quid. Time to get off his back and let him develop.

There are some good signs with some of the kids coming through. Browning looks ready made with pace and strength surely we have Long and McAleny to step up. Sometimes the exuberance of youth makes up for lack of experience.

James Wong
60 Posted 30/09/2014 at 03:44:59
I think people are reading too much into Martinez’s words.

I am more baffled by his team selection. It felt like he was setting up for a draw. Hibbert coming in for his first start in 2 years? Three defensive midfielders? Besic selected? Changing from the usual way we play? It’s an overreaction to the 4-0 from last year especially when they are now without Bucktooth and Gerrard being one year older. Yes we got beat pretty badly last year but we were just really naïve last year and let them hit us on the counter every time. A bit more cautiousness and we would be fine with the normal formation.

Plucked a draw from the jaws of defeat, sort of makes up for Leicester and Arsenal earlier in the season.

David Ellis
61 Posted 30/09/2014 at 04:23:34
It’s nothing like the Walter Smith days. We look far superior to the weaker teams (Palace, Leicester, West Brom). Under Walter Smith we didn’t. We looked like we would lose every game (and we pretty much did). Now, at least when we lose to the likes of Palace, there is a bit of panache to it (Osman laying on Lukaku for the first goal) and pure comedy (take a bow Tim Howard).

Jim Bennings
62 Posted 30/09/2014 at 07:33:05
I don’t think we should even be thinking of top 4 at the minute, to do so and to expect us challenging again would be stupid and unrealistic.

To get the top 4 we should know from last season that you need to win 22 games at least, so far we have 1 win, and unless we unexpectedly get the win at Old Trafford then we’re looking at just the single solitary victory by the end of October, that’s going on the strength we beat Villa at home, which we won’t; that never is easy for us.

I’m not being negative or pessimistic but we need realistic targets at present not purely pie-in-the-sky ambitions where we let our hearts rule our heads.

Yes, we all want Champions League football but it won’t be this season; the best we can hope for is take each match from this point on a game-by-game basis.

It would be hugely disappointing after the draw and the high of Saturday’s last-gasp draw at Anfield to count for nothing if we fail to build on it. We need to really try our best to take something from Manchester United; our focus must be 100% switched on from this point.

Chris James
63 Posted 30/09/2014 at 08:18:49
So much for the concept of resting players then, what a load of old shit.

Effectively Martinez is admitting here that he rested some of his better players in games that we really should have won in favour of keeping them ’fresh’ for a match which we had less chance of winning and have all come away happy with a draw.

Granted I’ve never been a Premier League manager, but that fundamentally seems like stupid tactics to me. Points are points at the end of the season, you don’t get more for beating Liverpool or Arsenal and we’d be far better off if we’d won against Leicester and Palace but lost both of the matches against top 4 rivals.

Also the hamstring pull from a ’rested’ player makes a total mockery of the idea the players are better given a break (if you check injury records, I expect you’ll find this is a not uncommon occurrence – ie, players returning from injury and trying to get up to speed are more likely to get a tweak than those that play every week).

All-in-all, the start to this season has been a D minus for me:

1. Crap preparation turns out to actually not be a good way to keep people fresh;
2. We appear to have forgotten the defensive platform that’s been built over the last c.10 years (and is fundamental to ANY team’s success);
3. This is exacerbated by playing people out of position (Stones at RB);
4. The players lose their way in the last 15 minutes and are unhelped by largely poor substitutions and a lack of a ’Plan B’;
5. Unnecessary rotation robs momentum and costs us points.

All this despite managing to retain (and slightly improve) consistency in a side that genuinely challenged for top 4 last year (whilst some of our rivals have had to endure major shake-ups).

The result is 2 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats - struggling in Premier League, out of one of the cups we could have had a run at with a total whimper, and granted a good start in Europe, but a long way to go.

The honeymoon is definitely over now, Robbie; the next month will show just how good a manager you are.

Tony J Williams
64 Posted 30/09/2014 at 08:26:48
Maybe he has mentioned fatigue as it was our fourth game in ten days.

Nothing sinister, just plain old tiredness to some of our older players and those who played in all four games.

Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 30/09/2014 at 08:08:06
Jim Bennings, at least Phil is only taking the piss, waiting for a reaction, or have I misread you as well?

Good story, Ian, and I hope if Jagielka hadn’t scored, it would have been the sound of smashed glass, before your nieghbours disgusting language!

I think you might have misread Martinez, having a low opinion of the fans’ knowledge though, Dick, because, as Harold says, his interview after the game gave a honest assessment of how we had just played.

I do agree with you that it’s time for the manager to "shut his gob" though, and make Big Duncan do a few of his interviews!!

What was it Phil, he could sell sand to The Arabs, but he couldn’t sell a pie in Wigan?

Nigel Gregson
66 Posted 30/09/2014 at 08:58:12
Maybe the team’s been reading posts on ToffeeWeb. One hour of reading here will leave anyone mentally fatigued.
Colin Glassar
67 Posted 30/09/2014 at 09:21:54
And suicidal, Nigel.
Robert Duncombe
68 Posted 30/09/2014 at 10:01:13
Come on, Bobby. You are not suggesting that we are a one-man team are you? Just because Kev limped off, we couldn’t play the way we wanted too?!
Mike Gwyer
70 Posted 30/09/2014 at 09:24:08

Chris James #63.

There’s a lot of anger in your post but do you really, I mean really, believe some of the shite that you’ve put forward?

I am not sure where you sit in GP but no team has left me thinking what you seem to’ve witnessed. Sure enough, Swansea whooped the 11 players RM sent out for the League Cup game, but no EPL game has left me thinking "We are doomed"; I’ve normally thought "How the fuck did that happen?" and can see no logical reason as to why.

There were signs that the back four were holding their own at Anfield and with Coleman back I’m sure we will see even more solidity with that unit. Injuries happen, Arsenal have something like 9 players out, it happens because the EPL is extremely fast and physical with truck loads of tackles.

All EPL teams have injury lists, it’s just that we, as Everton supporters, don’t give a fuck about any other team and worse still, speed merchants like Mirallas will always – and I mean always – face hamstring issues.

Being honest, I find it hard to discuss some of the stuff in your post; I mean, how do you start a discussion with "This is exacerbated by playing people out of position (Stones at RB)". We bought Stones as a RB, he played for Barnsley as a RB and guess what, he’s played for England at RB (keeping a 㾼M player like Chambers on the bench). But, I’m assuming that you believe he fucked up so much against Bolasie of Palace that RM has put a player in a position he can’t play in. Sure, he has excelled at CB, so much so that YOU believe he’s totally shite at RB. Well, good fucking luck with that argument.

Al Reddish
71 Posted 30/09/2014 at 11:25:40
Goes to show you should play your strongest team. While Kevin was rested we went out of one cup and lost at home to Palace... only for him to get injured anyway.
Phil Walling
72 Posted 30/09/2014 at 11:12:37
Mike @ 70: It’s as easy to gloss over the shortcomings of our manager and players as it is to allege things are just not right. I guess it’s all about optimism and pessimism.

As many of us see things going wrong as hope they will come out alright. That’s what ToffeeWeb is all about.

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Bobby fan, believing from Day One that his superior ’football intelligence’ was bluster rather than a guaranteed route to success as so many once did.

For all that, like you, I would like him to do well for all our sakes. But the signs are nowhere near as good as you seek to make out. ’If onlies’ and ’how the fucks’ are more the excuses for falling short than the harbingers of better things to come.

What we are reduced to is hope not evidence. And hope is never a reliable bedfellow.

Mark Andersson
73 Posted 30/09/2014 at 11:23:57
Nigel (#66), that made me laugh but you’re spot on. Some days, after reading TW, I have to drink another 5 beers. Keep ’em coming — it’s very entertaining.
Andrew Ellams
74 Posted 30/09/2014 at 12:18:16
Not only did MirallasÂ’s injury have a negative impact on our game plan for the last hour but, had he not gone down when he did, there was a very good chance we were going to score right then. Lady Luck just isnÂ’t a Blue...
Anthony Lewis
75 Posted 30/09/2014 at 09:54:03
John Daley #44.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

It seems RM can’t do right for doing wrong at the moment.

When he puts a positive spin on proceedings, he gets slated. When he tells us how it is, he gets slated.

He simply set his stall out to shore up the defence and catch the RS on the break. And, imo, it would’ve worked if Mirallas hadn’t gone off. He had made a few decent runs prior to his injury and, on the run that he did his hammy, I felt we were in a really good position to score from it.

Sometimes I think RM’s quotes get lost in translation

Ajay Gopal
76 Posted 30/09/2014 at 12:26:04
Phil (#72), "What we are reduced to is hope not evidence. And hope is never a reliable bedfellow."

Hope is what every football fan has, doesn’t matter if he follows Barcelona or Hartlepool United. "Evidence" – Alex Ferguson winning a zillion titles with Man Utd is not evidence that he could have won the same at, say, Liverpool.

Conn Prosser
77 Posted 30/09/2014 at 11:33:56
After our third consecutive draw at the start of last season, I posted "relegation form". How wrong I was then, and how inapt it seems to me now to wallow in the same gloom after our 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses this season. It’s been a chequered start, of course, but we knew it would be tricky when the fixture schedule came out.

The appetite for dissecting Martinez’s comments stems from years of having a distant and uncommunicative manager. Though I agree, he could temper the superlatives. It’s okay for some of the players to be feeling the effects of 4 games in 10 days, especially after the Wolfsburg performance. Roberto also made the most negative remarks since he joined us – some clear-as-day honesty we’ve been crying out for.

I’m trying to offer some perspective, kind of as a payback to the super-negative ToffeeWebbers that say all the things that I don’t have to even think any more. I always feel better after a session on teedub because it’s never as bad as lots on here think. Its cathartic.

In Roberto I trust.

Jon Withey
78 Posted 30/09/2014 at 12:39:15
The evidence is there in the table that we aren’t doing well - amongst a bunch of other clubs that have higher expectations.

Calling for the manager’s head would be a bit premature – with decent enough periods of play showing promise that the team can function well and a whole season to play out.

If we are still in the same position or worse at the end of the season, with nothing else to show for it, then things will get interesting.

If anything, dealing with this mini-crisis is the most fascinating part of Bobby’s reign so far – if only it wasn’t so painful!

Pete Edwards
79 Posted 30/09/2014 at 12:43:46
Phil Walling @52 — very strange comment to make — you’ve so obviously forgotten the Walter Smith days and what they were actually like!!
Mark Andersson
80 Posted 30/09/2014 at 12:35:49
Agree Sam and Neil. those 15 goals we lack from our central midfield probably has cost us 8 points last season.

McCarthy has a great engine agreed, If he played next to more of a dynamic player than Barry weÂ’d really have something. McCarthy is not as good as people insist but there are bigger problems frying about.


Agree Sam and Neil. those 15 goals we lack from our central midfield probably has cost us 8 points last season.

McCarthy has a great engine agreed, If he played next to more of a dynamic player than Barry weÂ’d really have something. McCarthy is not as good as people insist but there are bigger problems frying about.


Comment ID: 559506     Posted: 00:39:38 on 02/10/2014     Article: 28419   view thread
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Mark Andersson  Member

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