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Martinez happy with defensive depth

by | 30/10/2014  Comments (50)  jump
Manager not looking to sign cover for Stones
Roberto Martinez says that he is not planning to dip into the January transfer market to sign central defensive cover for John Stones.

The manager was asked at his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Swansea City if he felt he needed to add depth to that area of the team given the injury to John Stones but Martinez insisted that he is happy with his options.

"No. As you can see, we've been performing really, really well defensively and centre half is a position where we are really strong with Phil Jagielka, Antolin Alcaraz, Sylvain Distin and even Tyias Browning who had already shown he can play in that position.

"So I'm very happy with what we've got. [Now it's a question of] making sure that we get John fit and ready for the second half of the season, which is not too far away."

With luck, Stones could return before the mid-season transfer window opens but he is expected to return in the New Year regardless, which, barring injury to the other players in that position, would restore Martinez's side to full strength at the back.  

Reader Comments (50)

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Anthony Hughes
1 Posted 30/10/2014 at 15:50:16
Centre half is a position where we're really strong Roberto? Not too sure about that one.
Dan McKie
2 Posted 30/10/2014 at 15:53:55
Maybe not cover for Stones, as he should be back around January anyway. How about looking a bit more into the future and start thinking about a replacement for Distin at least? Other than Browning, im not sure of any other youngsters that could potentially come through at centre back. Ive liked Alcaraz for the last couple of games, but would worry about him against any real quality opposition.
Paul Smith
3 Posted 30/10/2014 at 16:34:45
I think the club are hoping the investment in Galloway and Browning's emergence will take care of the center half position for years to come.
Liam Reilly
4 Posted 30/10/2014 at 16:40:56
Wouldn't say there's any reason for panic as yet but one more injury in the back line could prove to be costly.

That said; unless we find a gem in the lower leagues who could RM source in January that's not going to be either: a mercenary or severely overpriced?

Darryl Ritchie
5 Posted 30/10/2014 at 16:37:44
We might be able to survive this season with the players we have, but if there’s another injury, we will be hard pressed. I can see us bringing in at least two more centre backs next summer. A-number1 priority.
Phil Davies
6 Posted 30/10/2014 at 16:41:25
Three central defenders over 30 and one who is 20, questions over two of the defenders form, one has an injury keeping him out for a few months and one has never really proved himself and Martinez thinks we don't need a new central defender?

We need someone whose between 25/27 years old, can play on the left side of central defence and can pass a ball.

David Chait
7 Posted 30/10/2014 at 16:55:13
Sometimes you have to make do for a while. If we invest in more cover it might mean another redundant salary by next season. Yes you can't just let a season slide but we can make do if RM feels in a year Browning can step up and Galloway is even closer.

Don't forget Besic can easily a lot in. We are fine.

Philip Farley
8 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:01:54
I actually think defensively we have been sound the last few games with Jags back in form. My question is not defence but where the hell is Arouna Kone? Is he still at EFC or what?
Alex Kociuba
9 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:18:02
I'd be happy if we bought a couple of (English?) youngsters from the lower leagues in the ٠-3m range. Seems a while since we bought a couple of young semi-gambles.
Trevor Lynes
10 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:19:29
I believe we are ONE top class playmaker away from being serious challengers for the top. Man City and Liverpool are both struggling at present despite the money they have spent.

I still rate Aguero and Silva but defensively they are making mistakes and leaking goals due to over confidence and complacency.

Only Chelsea look really strong at present.

Unfortunately for us the likes of West Ham and Southampton are performing really well. Could be a few changes at the top this season's end!

Anthony Hughes
11 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:32:56
How do we know Besic can easily slot in? How many games has he played at centre half in the Premier League? Strenghten in January and let's give ourselves a chance in the second half of the season.
Harold Matthews
12 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:32:43
Martinez reckons we're a bit short in a couple of areas but didn't say where. (Talksport, Thurs morning.)
James Stewart
13 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:51:28
Bullshit. Centre-back is where we are weakest. Jagielka and Stones are strong; after that, we have average at best available. I hope Browning gets a chance to prove his worth but Alcaraz and Distin are well past their sell-by date.
James Stewart
14 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:53:51
@10 agreed. Song has massively improved West Ham. We could do with a player like him.
Henrik Lyngsie
15 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:51:40
Considering we need two players for each position, then we need 4 central defenders. We have Jagielka and Stones as first choices with Distin and Alcaraz as backup. Hence we are fine in that department until Distin quits.

The first position we need to strengthen in the starting 11 when all are fresh is a winger. Mirallas is class but Pienaar is past is. Atsu and McGeady are squad players and Naismith and Osman not really wingers. This is where Roberto needs to invest in a player who can improve the starting 11. It is probably not going to be easy – or, in other words, it requires finances.

John Voigt
16 Posted 30/10/2014 at 17:57:07
I posted before on ToffeeWeb that I don't think Everton need to buy another central defender (which seemed to put me in the minority for ToffeeWeb posters).

As far as the central defender situation is considered I most interested to see if Disten is offered another contract. His contract is up at the end of the season.

Mike Allison
17 Posted 30/10/2014 at 18:38:25
We don't need a centre back. We have two current England internationals (Jagielka and Stones), a player who has captained his country, won the FA Cup and has experience in five different leagues (Alcaraz), and a player with over 500 top level career appearances, most of them in the Premier League (Distin).

We also have a promising 20-year-old who has had game time this season (Browning) and an 18-year-old with first team experience in League One (Galloway). If things got desperate we also have two midfielders with significant international experience who have also played at centre back (Barry and Besic).

I'd be looking at other areas in January.

To be honest, we don't need anyone; our next two or three signings should be players who significantly raise the quality in a particular position, rather than fill up a squad to an acceptable level. With this in mind I wouldn't expect them to happen until next summer, and January will only be a loan, or a bargain that seems too good to pass up.

Phill Thompson
18 Posted 30/10/2014 at 19:10:48
Well we haven't done too bad with the inexperienced young defenders we have bought in recent years. It's not too fanciful to imagine that in a few years time we could have a back four of Garbutt, Galloway, Stones & Coleman – with a combined cost of about ٥ mill.
Joseph Terrence
19 Posted 30/10/2014 at 19:41:13
Couldn't agree more, Henrik, I see left wing as the Number 1 need for the Blues (I would love to see Deulofeu sign permanently) but we'll have to see if one can be had for the right price.
Darren Hind
20 Posted 30/10/2014 at 19:42:18
"Happy with defensive depth."

That will come as a considerable disappointment to those who continually claim he will replace our out-and-out defenders with people who are more comfortable on the ball.

"No. As you can see, we've been performing really, really well defensively and centre half is a position where we are really strong."

Does this guy really believe this shite? Is there anybody who thinks there is even a remote possibility that the defence he inherited will concede less than 50 goals this season?

"As you can see, we've been performing really really well defensively"????? WTF?

That's it for me. confirmation that the guy thinks we were all born yesterday.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:04:44
Not a fan then Darren?
Michael Kenrick
22 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:04:08
Can you please drop this 50 goals nonsense, Darren, it's complete strawman bollocks. You do not know how many goals we will concede — and neither does anyone else.

And for what it's worth, I agree with Martinez. All the claims that the sky was falling and that we had to strengthen at all costs were premature. If there really were problems with the defence (and I'm not convinced there were any fundamental problems — just more stupid mistakes that normal) he seems to have gone a long way to sorting them out. But those mistakes are hard to eradicate completely and may continue to happen (see Lukaku v Burnley).

Alex Rowe
23 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:17:55
I agree with RM, we don't need to sign another CB in Jan. We have 3 experienced CBs at the club in Jagielka, Distin and Alcaraz. Stones set to return in late Dec/early Jan. Then we have Browning and Galloway in the U21s who both look promising.
Frank Crewe
24 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:23:40
It's two months to the January. In football that's an eternity so it seems a bit soon to be saying what positions needs strengthening. Unless what he's really saying is that we have no dosh so we won't be buying anyone.
Paul Andrews
27 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:58:32

That’s nonsense re the continued 50 goals conceded theme.
Nobody knows how many we will concede

Kunal Desai
28 Posted 30/10/2014 at 20:57:06
It's certainly dangerous of Martinez to completely close the door in bringing another defender in.

We don't know whether Stones's recovery will be longer than expected or what happens if he were to suffer a setback? Distin has had his own issues this season as well and is getting older. That leaves Jagielka and Alcaraz, albeit they have formed a good partnership in recent games, history suggests that Alcaraz's injury problems could still be an issue.

Browning is certainly one to consider, and perhaps in the second half of the season it would be worth Martinez looking to pair him with Jagielka, whilst maybe phasing out Distin slowly. Personally I think the safer bet would be to get another CB on loan, with view to it being made permanent in the summer.

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 30/10/2014 at 21:12:45
Roberto is hardly going to say "Well, the players I have at my disposal aren't quite up to the mark – so yes, I will be looking to add a centre-back in January" is he? He has to make the current players feel that they are going to be in the team for the whole of this season to get the best out of them in the next dozen or so games before the window opens.

And really it's a stupid question to be asking any manager at this moment in time.

Jay Harris
30 Posted 30/10/2014 at 21:20:32
Defensively we have enough cover with Browning, Distin, Alcaraz, Hibbo, Oviedo with Garbutt and Galloway in future.

I think we are reasonably well blessed in the striker department. However IMO we are extremely vulnerable at GK level and we need a quality playmaker replacement for Ossie in MF.

The 㾶 to 20M down the back of Bill's sofa ought to cover it in January.

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 30/10/2014 at 21:52:44
I don't believe everything I hear, Darren, but why would we become better defensively if he brought better footballers in at the back? Because we wouldn't give the ball away as much?

When Stones is fit, we have got three excellent footballers playing in a back four. Maybe it's the goalie, or the way we are set up to play?

I think a lot had to do with the physical condition of the players at the start of the season and not being fit enough affected the players mentally. Only when Hibbert started to play did we really tighten up at the back and most people say that it's time he gave Browning a chance because Hibbert is now to old?

Paul Tran
32 Posted 30/10/2014 at 22:00:43
Martinez comes out and says, "I'm desperate for centre-backs, my current ones are useless, please help, football world." Football world says, "that'll do nicely and while we're at it, we'll put a couple of noughts on the price tag." And possibly shatter morale in the process.

I knew Moyes would put a downbeat, dour spin on everything; I didn't like it, but it was his way of communicating and I'm not naïve enough to think he was always like that behind closed doors.

Similarly, Martinez is positive and upbeat, it's his way of communicating. I think he sometimes goes over the top, but when these guys get microphones shoved in their face each day, they have to say something. We don't always have to take it at face value, over-analyse it to death, or misrepresent it, as some did with 'knife to a gunfight'.

It's pretty clear that Martinez isn't going to publicly say, "We're shite, we're fucked, I'd sack and replace the lot of them" – so why expect it? It amuses me no end that some people demand that he adopts their preferred style of communication.

My view on our centre-back situation has been clear and consistent since the summer: we need at least one more that is a strong leader comfortable with a football. As it happens, we've defended pretty well the last few games, like we did for most of last season, like we tend to when the defenders have a bit of pace and creativity in front of them.

As for the 'signing wingers' argument, we played fine without any last Saturday. I'd wait for Mirallas to get fit – the others aren't cutting it and just give the ball away. I'd stiffen the midfield and use Coleman and Baines on the flanks - they produce more than Atsu and McGeady (and Deulofeu when he was here).

If we have any budget for January, I'd be looking for a defender and a goalkeeper.

Kieran Riding
33 Posted 30/10/2014 at 23:19:12
Over 30 posts and no one has mentioned Shane Duffy yet?
Matt Muzi
34 Posted 31/10/2014 at 00:10:36
If we can find a promising defender from the lower league for a good price in January, similar to Stones (although we'd be lucky to get another gem like him for the money we paid!) then I say go for it, but I think January will see maybe the odd loan. Like others, I think if we make any significant defensive signings, it will be in the summer, when I think we may see a few players going.
Conor McCourt
35 Posted 31/10/2014 at 00:03:04
I don't know what's going on tonight but there seems to be some great posts on here. Mike, I totally agree with you regarding the squad. Roberto has been slated on these pages for "wasting" 㿈M on Lukaku and not bringing in a 㾸M striker and spreading the rest around other areas of the team.

But I agree with you that he will only adopt a policy of bringing in real quality to the team and he sees Lukaku as not only the guy to get us 20 goals a season but also to encourage other players in the future that we are a big club where big players should come.

The centre-back position may be addressed in the summer as Distin will surely be gone and dependent on the emergence of either Browning or Galloway will he seek a replacement for Distin.

Like most posters, I would welcome a wide man in January and Delboy would be perfect if he continues to have problems with Sevilla.

McGeady is a whipping boy on here but I think Atsu has been the real disappointment. Aiden was a free transfer and I believe Roberto brought him to put pressure on the first choice wingers. He can change a game and is perfect as an impact sub in tight games. Had Atsu been of Delboy's quality we would be starting him and Mirallas with McGeady and Pienaar as subs dependent on whether we needed to gain more possession or required a bit of magic.

I don't know why people don't point out but we are especially weak in the right back position. Hibbert has done great but we need a quality replacement similar to our options on the other side in Oviedo and Garbutt. Browning did well against the RS but he is not a full back; a serious injury to Seamus and we can kiss our season goodbye.

My wish list therefore would be Delboy and a right-back in January and in the summer to concentrate on a goalkeeper, a playmaker and perhaps another centre-forward. Over to you Bill.

Terence Leong
36 Posted 31/10/2014 at 01:18:14
Spending money on getting the right players is an art, isn't it?
Just look across the park...

Suarez gets sold for 10s of millions, and then Rodgers spreads it around to improve the squad. Would he be better off spending it all on one player? Conventional wisdom tells you that it's putting all your eggs in one basket. But it's not looking fantastic right now at Anfield.

So will we be better off spreading the 㿈 million on a few players instead of just Lukaku?

We won't really know, so there you go.

Harold Matthews
37 Posted 31/10/2014 at 02:01:15
I'll be surprised if we buy anyone of significance in January. Howard will not be replaced and the addition of Mirallis, Stones, Oviedo and Kone will make a big difference. Judging by his recent remarks, Martinez will be happy if he can get certain people in key areas to improve their game. The individuals causing this dissatisfaction will definitely be made aware of it.

West Ham and Southampton have raised the bar to such an extent that Koeman is talking about the title. Anyone thinking we we can stroll into the top 6 is living in dreamland. Martinez knows we have to up the tempo and work our socks off, starting with the disruption of the long established Swansea passing game. It won't be pretty but that will be the plan.

Jay Harris
38 Posted 31/10/2014 at 02:45:20
Kieran not sure if that was tongue in cheek but Duffy has gone.
David Ellis
39 Posted 31/10/2014 at 03:04:04
Agree with others on here who are saying the next first team "hole" that needs filling is a top top quality winger. Item 2 on my shopping list would be cover at RB and item 3 would be cover at goalkeeper.

We are OK at CB for this season and think that the youngsters will come through to replace Distin in the matchday squad next season.

Darren Hind
40 Posted 31/10/2014 at 06:00:23
Fair enough Michael, as you say, we none of us have a crystal ball. I wont be repeating my prediction.

Paul (Tran)

I don't think anybody demands that the manager adopts their preferred style of communication, but come on. "As you can see we've been performing really really well defensively"? ... is it too much to ask that his statements and reality belong in the same post code?

This was not a 'microphone shoved in the face' moment, we've been defending less than "really really well" all season, he must have known the question was coming. Why not just say "We recognises the problem and we are working on it"?

Okay we looked safe enough against a Villa side playing a guy desperately in need of matches up front on his own, but do you really think that a better side than Burnley wouldn't have punished us more severely for our sloppy play?

Colin #21
God knows I try mate, but he does my head in sometimes.
If he won't acknowledge that corner exists, I really worry about our chances of ever turning it?

Paul Andrews
41 Posted 31/10/2014 at 06:32:12
On the other hand, he could be talking about the last three games when we have only conceded once?
Aidan Wade
42 Posted 31/10/2014 at 08:56:45
Some people's perception of reality, Darren, for example:

We shipped 10 goals in the first 3 games which was ridiculous and mostly due to the very poor form of Jags who we can all be thankful is back in form again. Because of this start, we've spent the past month being told over and over again by pundits that Everton have the "worst defensive record in the PL" but the reality is:

- We've conceded 9 goals in the past 9 games in all comps (back to WBA), 3 of which was our typical aberration* at the hands of Palace.
- That's a rate of about "38 a season"
- which was about what we conceded last season...
- which was I believe the 2nd or 3rd best defensive record in the PL

Which I would agree is "performing really, really well defensively"... at least on paper. We looked ropey at times against Burnley but ultimately they only got one goal which we gifted them. We have 4 natural CBs plus another 4 who can play there, and, for last 75% of the current season, we have a very solid.

In my reality then, Roberto is telling it like it is. After the Chelsea game, Martinez and I think Jags both owned up on our defensive problems so it's not a question of blindly ignoring the issue.

I wish we were better at corners too though!

[* I know 'typical aberration' is an oxymoron but with Palace it feels apt.]

Richard Reeves
43 Posted 31/10/2014 at 11:34:39
I agree with what Roberto is saying about our defense, thereÂ’s no need for any additions with the players we have and what theyÂ’re capable of.

I would like to see Browning get some games at centre-back as he has suggested. If thatÂ’s his best position and he puts in anything like the performance against the RS then weÂ’ve got a very good central defensive pair of Stones and Browning for the future and IÂ’m sure Galloway will be challenging soon as well.

If any position back there needs reinforcing, itÂ’s right back.

Stephen Brown
44 Posted 31/10/2014 at 16:52:24
How is Duffy doing for Blackburn? Anybody followed his progress?
Kieran Riding
45 Posted 31/10/2014 at 17:25:25
Jay #38, so sorry, it was tongue in cheek mate, as I know Duffy has gone.

To answer Stephen, I believe he's getting proper game-time now, and we never got what was reported for him as a fee. The press exaggerated that a wee bit.

Darren Hind
46 Posted 31/10/2014 at 19:38:20
Aidan #42

"but the reality is:- We've conceded 9 goals in the past 9 games in all comps"

We've actually conceded 11 in the last 8 mate.

Mike Allison
47 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:25:53
Darren it would appear Aidan doesn't count the League Cup game. You can't blame him as most of our players and staff didn't seem to count it either, something I think we seem to have accepted far too meekly.
Phil Walling
48 Posted 01/11/2014 at 09:58:36
Aiden; I don't think Martinez sees the traditional corner kick into the box as s as a particularly effective goalscoring tactic. As with other 'philosophical' managers, it is regarded as too basic to be part of 'a passing strategy'. I'm sure if our man was asked to re-design the rules of football the corner kick would disappear overnight.

Similarly, whilst defending, the 'one man on the halfway line' looking for a long clearance is eschewed in favour of 'everyone back' so that a passing movement can be set up as son as possession is gained. The trouble with this tactic is that our defenders, not all being comfortable in possession, break the rules by kicking long and cede possession to the opposition. No doubt they will learn......and so will we ?

Kieran Riding
49 Posted 01/11/2014 at 17:21:22
Taking bets on Alcaraz injury here.

Broken rib - 8/11
Just a bit winded, the bad fanny - 5/4

Kieran Riding
50 Posted 01/11/2014 at 17:49:51
Martinez just said he's out "long term"?


Sam Hoare
51 Posted 01/11/2014 at 17:57:02
Gues we're back to Distin/Jags...unless RM drops Barry back permanently. Thought Besic was pretty strong when he came on today. Moves it quickly and is quick around the pitch.
Kunal Desai
52 Posted 03/11/2014 at 07:05:19
Anyone now think we don't need defensive cover in January?

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