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Garbutt keeping the faith

by | 29/12/2014  Comments (60)  jump

Defender Luke Garbutt says that Everton need to stick together and battle their way through the poor run of form that has derailed their push for the top four this season.

The 21 year-old earned a deserved start at St James' Park yesterday and was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak performance from the Blues that resulted in a third consecutive Premier League defeat.

And he is the unexpected source of a rallying cry from the dressing room as Roberto Martinez's side look to turn their season around before it gets any worse.

We've just got to keep going and hopefully a win will turn things around," the England U21 international said in the Liverpool Echo. "It's hard. If we're playing well we're then conceding sloppy goals, and if we're playing poorly we're still conceding goals.

We're a tight-knit group and we need to stick together and battle our way out of it."

Garbutt dismissed talk of a crisis engulfing the Toffees, though, saying that the label is inevitable when a number of results go against you but it is premature in Everton's case.

"If you have a run of form like we have, you'll get criticised — simple as that," he continued. But to say it's a crisis is a bit premature. I believe in the squad we have — we've got the quality but we need a win to spark our confidence.

It was obviously nice on a personal note for me to start the game, he said. But I'm just disappointed to lose really.

With the games coming so thick and fast we hadn't worked on a set formation. It was a quick turn around. It surprised a few of the players."  


Reader Comments (60)

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Phil Sammon
1 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:01:21
That last quote is, quite frankly, staggering!
Tim Locke
2 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:12:06
With you on that one, Phil. The only people who should be surprised should be the opposition.

Bobby could do with reading http://theexecutionersbong.wordpress.com

Time to put the thinking cap on, Bob.

Jim Bennings
3 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:29:04
No criticism of Luke. The last quote is honest but shocking.

After the absolute shambles that was meant to be pre-season, does it actually surprise anyone with the way this season has gone?

Maybe a lot of us brushed the pre-season results under the carpet; I did for one, but I was at the Porto match and also the Celta Vigo game at Prenton Park and what I didnÂ’t brush under the carpet was the woeful performances and the blatant lack of organization.

The season started in horrendous fashion squandering the lead with late goals against Arsenal and then the Chelsea debacle, itÂ’s steadily got worse as we have gone on, the team looks like itÂ’s just met eachother in a playing field and been thrown together at the last minute.

It shouldnÂ’t shock anyone though because those of us who have watched football for long enough saw it coming in the latter stages of last season when we collapsed against sides such as Palace, and Southampton, and the Arsenal game in the FA Cup.

We didnÂ’t do enough or sign the right type of players in the summer; we knew we need a creative midfielder to take the burden off Barkley and we knew we needed a man-mountain of a defender.

ItÂ’s all hindsight but we are in a horrible mess.

I thought it was completely negligent by Martinez to not bring in a top defender last summer, knowing that Distin was a year older, Stones still relatively inexperienced, and Jags always prone to being done over.

Martinez needs a monumental transfer window now. There is no way we can do anything with this team that we havenÂ’t already seen this season. If ever a group of players needed a injection of fresh blood, itÂ’s this lot.

Joe Foster
4 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:50:21
Eyes rolling in head. At least Luke has let something slip in that last comment (as unbelievable as it sounds)...
Joe Clitherow
5 Posted 29/12/2014 at 09:54:38
I donÂ’t really understand why Luke Garbutt is effectively the club mouthpiece. Conjecture would be that:

a) He is naive about talking to the press and has unwittingly broken ranks (with his last quote adding some weight to that);

b) He is the only one wanting to take responsibility with the senior players abrogating their responsibility again – or just wisely not spilling the beans.

The last quote kind of confirms suspicions about a total lack of any Plan B though doesnÂ’t it? Lazy lack of preparation in all aspects of fitness and organisation from the management team in my opinion which is all too apparent on the pitch. Get fit and work out some deadball routines at least FFS.

ItÂ’s always been true that you have to earn the right to play, Roberto seems to think you just turn up having knocked the ball about a bit in training.

Harold Matthews
6 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:10:08
Jim. I donÂ’t know about taking the burden off Barkley. The lad seems permanently dis-interested and never breaks sweat.
Peter Laing
7 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:29:11
My concern is that Martinez appears to view Samuel EtoÂ’o as the answer / salvation to EvertonÂ’s current problems. EtoÂ’o is evidently well decorated and hugely experienced having played all over Europe and when on the pitch seems to want to dictate proceedings as witnessed against Newcastle when he intercepted the ball from Garbutt who was running at full tilt and resulted in the moment being lost.

IÂ’m not looking to pin all of EvertonÂ’s problems solely on EtoÂ’o but it seems that, as he has been given more game time, the form of those around him including Barkley and Lukaku has dipped alarmingly.

Steve Guy
8 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:51:48
Graeme Souness (God help me) called it right yesterday after the game. We are being pressed into making costly mistakes by constantly playing it out from the back. We need a Plan B and C. But at the moment we donÂ’t even seem to have a Plan A. Luke GarbuttÂ’s final comment on preparations for yesterday; it beggars belief...
Daniel A Johnson
9 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:58:53
Well, if Souness, Hughes, Pardew and Steve Bruce can figure Martinez out... then Jesus Christ...
Jim Bennings
10 Posted 29/12/2014 at 10:52:14
Harold I agree mate.

I said a thread yesterday that if we had a bigger squad with more quality in midfield, for example the dayÂ’s of Arteta, Cahill, Fernandes and Gravesen, then IÂ’d have been loaning Barkley to a Championship club to get him more in tune with the hard work side of the game.

He needs to get more fire in his belly, Wayne Rooney had it when he was 17 and Gerrard certainly had it at a younger age than Barkley.

Barkley to me doesnÂ’t strike me as a great motivator, much like Rodwell really, a bit of a Rolls Royce player but lacking the aggression.

I have said many times, not just regarding Barkley but others too, that you can have bundles of talent but in this game the one thing that gets you through games is your desire and passion to work hard, in the Premier League you have to work hard to be able to display your talents.

Look at all the best players...

From Aguero to Rooney, to Suarez last season to the likes of Costa and Hazard at Chelsea the one thing they all do first and foremost is put in a real shift, never giving the opponents a second of peace.

I get the feeling with too many of our playerÂ’s, we are all too nice, too lovely dovey, look at the penalty incident on Boxing Day, why was Jagielka not in the refÂ’s face like Shawcross was for Stoke on the Walters red card potential incident?

This is football itÂ’s not a gentlemanÂ’s sport anymore, we might not like it but itÂ’s a plain fact.

To be successful you need bastards, someone who is going to be a leader, a John Terry, a Dave Watson, a Jamie Carragher, a bloodied Terry Butcher, thatÂ’s why as much as we donÂ’t like him IÂ’d have Shawcross in our defence in a heartbeat.

Imagine a back line that included Shawcross in central defence and Peter Cech in goal (even on loan until May?

I bet weÂ’d see more organization straight away.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 29/12/2014 at 11:05:42
Barkley doesnÂ’t strike me as a great self motivatior I mean.

Unlike Rooney or even to a lesser extent James Vaughan was.

Glen Garrett
12 Posted 29/12/2014 at 11:25:49
LetÂ’s get Joey Barton, he will lead the team and grow them the balls they need to carry.

Everton are in need of a hard player.

Harold Matthews
13 Posted 29/12/2014 at 11:51:33
Good post, Jim. Not sure Cech or Shawcross will arrive in a hurry but I get your drift.
Milos Milenkovic
14 Posted 29/12/2014 at 11:32:07
Good analyses, Jim, but I think that some of our players are not far from it. Coleman, McCarthy, Besic, Mirallas, they are looking to have a winning mentality and never-say-die attitude, but it looks to me that this type of football has been squeezed fight out of them. We need more directness in our game and should see players in their full potential.
Dave Lynch
15 Posted 29/12/2014 at 12:02:22
Barkley looks to me like a player who knows heÂ’s on his way, not trying and trying to avoid 50/50 challenges in case he picks up an injury?

Deal been done?

Price been agreed?

Nothing would surprise me with BK at the helm, he needs to find some cash to start the new build off and Barks is his cash cow.

Paul Andrews
16 Posted 29/12/2014 at 12:07:20
Barkley will be a great player. He needs to be given a settled position to play in for a run of games, we will then see the best of him.

Left side one week, right side the next... behind a forward... in front of the back four... He is a kid learning the game.

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 29/12/2014 at 12:28:01
Dave

You could be right, of course, that Barkley may know already heÂ’s not here this time next year. Personally, I donÂ’t see him instantly flourishing in a top four side, and then of course a few seasons on the bench wonÂ’t be making him enjoy his football, will it?

I just hope for the lad he doesnÂ’t go down the Rodwell road; this was a guy with heaps of talent at one stage and we all hyped him up again (probably too much) and he ends up with his tail between his legs a few years later on the Sunderland subs bench.

There is a lot to be said for how far a willingness to work hard will get you. The 2004-05 squad were, as we know, very limited technically but players that worked their arses off for us, like Marcus Bent, Tim Cahill, Lee Carsley, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert and of course we had a truly quality keeper in Nigel Martyn – the work they produced that season carried us through.

Gavin Fennessy
19 Posted 29/12/2014 at 12:20:42
Lose against Hull and I think BK may be forced to act, either the dreaded Vote of Confidence or termination Â’by mutual agreementÂ’. Incredible that things have come to this really...

I was encouraged by MartinezÂ’s confidence from the off. He made a statement of intent upon his arrival and quickly put his stamp on the way we tried to play.

I think the loss of some of the backroom staff may have played a role in the poor preparation for this season. Poor selection decisions and a run of injuries have certainly contributed to the slump.

As pointed out elsewhere, Gareth Barry has been so far off the pace that it must surely be evident in the battery of performance indicators the coaches have at their disposal. Martinez has been married to the idea of two sitting midfielders even when it is clear that we do not have players fit or in any way capable of doing an adequate job in that role.

Playing players out of position, or players clearly out of form, just to fit a rigid tactical structure, demonstrates a lack of awareness and has hurt us badly so far this season. The instinctiveness of our natural attacking players has also been badly affected.

The comments from Luke Garbutt on the confusion there appears to have been, in terms of the roles players were tasked with, for recent games, are worrying. If Martinez is attempting to inject some pace and fluidity into play but failing to communicate the plan, it explains a lot of what we witnessed against Stoke and especially at Newcastle.

Sean Kelly
22 Posted 29/12/2014 at 13:20:45
I never thought IÂ’d ask this but how long is Howard out for?
Denis Richardson
23 Posted 29/12/2014 at 13:28:46
So a relative new comer with all of about 4 senior appearances suddenly becomes the media mouth piece.

Manager and senior players donÂ’t seem to have any balls to face he media... or maybe the senior players have had enough of spouting crap about all being fine and just needing to try harder...

Gavin McGarvey
24 Posted 29/12/2014 at 13:36:35
It is a bit bizarre having a junior squad member coming out to talk to the media after a big defeat like that. Who in the press team made that decision?

As for the comments, well they were a bit naive and unfortunate in that they confirm the impression of an entire Everton back-room team running round like Lance Corporal Jones from DadÂ’s Army shouting, "DonÂ’t panic!"

As a fan, IÂ’m willing to give Martinez more time, but only if heÂ’s willing to pull his head out of the sand and make a few decisions, like how weÂ’re going to play the next few games. If Martinez needs more support then itÂ’s his job to ask for it and BKÂ’s job to make sure he gets it. Whether that is changes to backroom staff, playing staff etc.. it needs dealing with asap.

When people were talking about a relegation scrap earlier in the season it was a bit of an over reaction. ItÂ’s not now. Even if we beat Hull, we will still be in potential trouble. We need to start planning for February as well, thinking about how we can add a bit of steel. If we donÂ’t then we really could be in trouble come April/May.

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:26:05
Sean

As long as possible hopefully, at least them Martinez may wake up to the fact we need a fucking nnew NUMBER 1.

Robles is shite but Howard hasnÂ’t been any better this season has he?

Robles didnÂ’t play at home to Palace or at Southampton or when we lost 6-3 to Chelsea.

I want a goalkeeper who doesnÂ’t look like heÂ’s part of a travelling circus.

Ian Burns
26 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:27:11
In early August and a few days before the opening game at Leicester I wrote on TW an open letter to RM criticising his pre-season as a disaster waiting to happen during the season. A number of people gave my post short shrift. To me it showed a manager who thought the previous seasonÂ’s efforts was enough to carry him through to a top 4 position but his limitations have found him out.

I so wanted to be proven wrong as EFC is far more important to me than my concerns being proven right.

That last comment by LG whether through media inexperience or not sums up this season since last July and it is truly time for RM to take his stubborn unworkable ideals elsewhere and BK needs to stand up to his responsibility and bring a winner with attitude.

Steve Barnes
27 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:38:42
I think Howard is OK.....like all GKÂ’s, they dip in and out of form and unfortunately the dip bits ends up with a goal against....Robles is poor and not EPL standard in my opinion.

Distin has gone right off form of any kind and he is more of a worry for me. Looks like he really doesnÂ’t ever want the ball or indeed to be there. Good fella who has served us well....

Alcatastrophic scares me - really not convinced by him at all

Barry, again, good lad but has been caught in possession way too many times for anyoneÂ’s comfort recently.

Surely to goodness RM will field a better balanced side (who know what system they are playing before the actual game starts) against Hull.....

Dave Richman
28 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:53:14
Maybe Garbutt made those remarks because his contract is running down and heÂ’s been told heÂ’s not getting a new one?
Steve Woods
29 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:52:29
"I want a goalkeeper who doesnÂ’t look like heÂ’s part of a travelling circus."

I know exactly what you mean Jim @25. The problem is that The Incredible Bearded Man (Howard) does fit right into the circus act that has become Everton this season. To mix metaphors his or indeed The Incredible Punching ManÂ’s (AKA Joel Robles) performances blend very well with the Keystone Cops defending in front of them.

I do of course use the term defending very loosely.

Mark Rankin
30 Posted 29/12/2014 at 14:42:05
Roberto - how to get Everton quickly back on track.

Pick a formation (any recognised one will do)

Look at your squad including u21Â’s and assign them their best position. Tell/agree with players what you want job you want them to do.

Put who you feel is the best player into the team - if they play badly or are injured (or just plain shot), put your next best player from that position in even if that is a young player. DonÂ’t be tempted to experiment e.g this week we are short in the middle so left back as centre mid/centre forward as winger or this week weÂ’ll have a go at 4-1-3-1.

Phil Walling
31 Posted 29/12/2014 at 15:02:45
You can pick holes in playersÂ’ attitudes and mindsets all you like but unless there is an early change at the top the malaise will continue.

Why anyone should be surprised at GarbuttÂ’s last comment amazes me. It was all so bloody obvious from the start that the team had just been thrown together with just an instruction to Â’keep passingÂ’. At one time quite early on Baines was in a central attacking spot. Total football, maybe, but Baines up front, I bloody ask you !

Anyway,I suspect weÂ’ve seen the last of young Luke for a while, too many other options to play around with !

Denis Richardson
32 Posted 29/12/2014 at 15:17:17
Have luckily not managed to see any of the last three games. Three losses in a row and I think just 4 points out of the last 21 is not a dip in form but a full blown crisis and goes beyond relegation form.

WeÂ’re not in the shit just yet but approaching fast.

Hull away has really taken on a new meaning. Not a peep out of BK or the board yet and the media has been surprisingly held back re criticizing Roberto but IF we loose to Hull and make it 4 losses in a row (none of which against a Â’topÂ’ side). Then surely something has to give.

There simply wonÂ’t be any excuses or anywhere to hide.

John Voigt
34 Posted 29/12/2014 at 16:04:20
Can Roberto Martinez turn around the current poor run of form?

IÂ’m not sure he can. I need to see more motivation coming from the manager.

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 29/12/2014 at 16:47:43
Jon

ItÂ’s a hard question to really answer whether Martinez can sort it or not.

The fact is throughout the entire calender year of 2014 Everton have lost 17 matches counting domestic cups and the Europa League.

ThatÂ’s alarming really when you think about it.

The first half of last season under Martinez was fine until the beginning of this year, our form with the exception of the 7 match winning run, had been that of a bottom half club.

We have been annihilated in the quarter final at Arsenal in March, smashed 3-0 at Swansea and could have lost the Anfield Derby 7-0 in January on a totally horrendous night.

We have lost TWICE at home to Crystal Palace conceding six goals in the two matches.

We have been beaten 6-3 at home..!

Its been going on nearly 12 months.

Steve Brown
36 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:01:33
Nice try Jim, but I donÂ’t think you can treat a seven match winning run as an exception! It is pretty fundamental to the story of the season.

With that level of revisionism skills, you should replace James Pearce writing about the red shite for the Echo.
Steavey Buckley
37 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:03:15
Defensive lapses and poor goal keeping started at Tranmere during preseason and have not stopped since then. When is enough, enough?
Steve Brown
38 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:08:18
But Steavey, who is to blame for the fact that errors by players have cost us 10 premier league goals this season? Mainly the players concerned and RM if anything because he has been too loyal to certain individuals. The players are getting away with murder on here.
Peter Laing
39 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:11:55
Martinez needs to be given till the end of month to turn things around. Elstone and Kenwright need to work closely with Roberto and identify potential recruits and the funds to shore up the defence which has been leaking like a sieve. I personally would be looking to get Shawcross in from Stoke and going with five across the back - Baines, Shawcross, Jagielka, Stones and Coleman. The seasoned proÂ’s who have failed so spectacularly need to be dropped indefinitely and that includes Distin, Alcaraz, Barry and EtoÂ’o. We should also be looking at moving Pienaar and Howard on in the summer followed by any other deadwood such as McGeady and Hibbert. Remedial action is needed to save our season (SOS).
Steavey Buckley
40 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:13:29
Steve, RM has to play those players at his disposal. There is not a great goal keeper, who makes great saves all the time or 2 centre backs who can dominate the middle of the defence. They have be in the future transfer plans.
Steve Brown
41 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:20:46
Agree Steavey and we have to use this transfer window well! Marshall or Ruddy to give goalkeeping cover and a decent centre half like Curtis Davis from Hull. Will BK step up though?
Andy Crooks
42 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:25:44
Any money available should be used to pay off Martinez and compensate the club from which we get a coach with a modicum of competence.
Jamie Crowley
43 Posted 29/12/2014 at 16:27:06
Is this the same Barkley who came back from a horrific leg break, an injury earlier this season and the spark to a hell of a lot of our play last year? Same kid who was lauded for his performance a few games ago in a deeper MF position?

Kid clearly doesnÂ’t give a fuck.... canÂ’t be arsed in the least quite obviously. [smothered in sarcasm]

ItÂ’s astounding what I read on here at times.

Back to Garbutt the kid is class and I for one would like to see him starting a lot more often.

Jim Bennings
44 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:34:51
Steve

A 7-match winning run surrounded by sod all either side of it apart from clueless self destruct type football.

Ant Summers
45 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:29:30
All those senior players on BIG money, sending out a novice for a statement.
I wonder if they really do give a hoot with regards to EFC, My thoughts most of them donÂ’t.

If we get beat at Hull, BK needs to sack RM without any feelings, appoint Duncan Ferguson, and tell him to rattle some EGOs in that dressing room, Swansea appointed Monk, We should follow suit. Otherwise it will become a desperate situation by the end of January.

Louis Parr
46 Posted 29/12/2014 at 17:52:31
Why the hell is a 21 year old making an interview? Surely it should be a senior player saying this. I agree with Ant Summers. There doesnÂ’t seem to be any motivation from the players but the most annoying thing is that it is the senior places, Barry, Distin etc.

Pick your heads up blues. Without Howard and Jags though, I can see this being a long, long season. Keep the faith though blues but bill please grow some balls and sack him if it gets worse. COYB. And play Besic!

Jim Bennings
47 Posted 29/12/2014 at 18:02:17
Ant

Big Dunc hasn't had much "scare factor" since he's been coach.

It also didn't work out that way at any club Roy Keane had been a manager/coach of.

There are different ways of motivating a team, I guess most players don't mind a good rollicking now and again as long as there is some knowledge there too.

Joe Royle was a perfect example of being a good motivator, I'd love to know what Big Joe used to say in the dressing room because it worked more often than not.

Ant Summers
48 Posted 29/12/2014 at 18:33:14
I know what your saying Jim, but the continual statements from RM of how hard his teams are working, how well they are playing, its just down to bad luck...is wearing pretty thin, maybe the back room are not allowed to say much, not to upset, maybe they are allowing RM to dig a deeper hole, who knows.
One thing is for sure we lose at Hull, all bets are off, we need to get rid of RM.
Jim Bennings
49 Posted 29/12/2014 at 19:03:50
I'm finding myself in agreement with you Ant.

I was a major fan of Martinez 12 months ago and convinced myself we had got the right man but as they always say, it's when the initial honeymoon period is over that you truly find out about a managers credentials.

Martinez got nearly everything right in his first 6 months of management but from January this year he began making bizarre decisions, all starting with that beanpole Traore.

Ever since then he has gradually made more bizarre decisions followed by some truly ridiculous statements.

He is clearly not the great motivator I thought he was, and worryingly he doesn't look to have men around him as coaches capable of bringing anything to the table.

If we lose to Hull and get knocked out to West Ham I wonder if he will even get the chance to make any signings during the transfer window?

Conor McCourt
50 Posted 29/12/2014 at 18:50:55
I think some of our fans need a little patience. I know last year was just that but it was such a remarkable season and the best I can remember as an Evertonian.

We are currently devoid of confidence and no game seems winnable but we must realize that although Roberto has clearly made mistakes we have also been beset by bad luck, bad decisions,terrible injuries and a player in Distin who unfortunately has gone.

Against Newcastle we were doing well until Sylvan plays the whole frontline onside as he is 5 yards behind quite a good line held and then he didn't even attempt a challenge and just stood there looking lost as the goal went in. He didn't even attempt to recover from his mistake

Roberto unfortunately has had to rely on him even though he is our 4th choice centre half and is costing us practically a goal a game. I take no delight in slating this great servant but he is hurting us.

We will see a dramatic difference just from swapping Stones for Distin in the 2nd half of the season and I really hope the board backs Roberto so we can get 2 wingers and a centre half.

Even if there is no money available I would offer Baines to City and use the money to get Reid, Ayew and Dellboy in now.

Darren Hind
52 Posted 30/12/2014 at 07:01:55
Paul Andrews#16

You are absolutely spot on when you say Barkley has been shoved from pillar to post. How can that help his confidence or developement ?

A few have complained on here that he players are getting off scot free, but as you quite rightly point out Martinez is destroying the confidence of the best player he has ever managed.

The kid doesnt know whether he 's coming or going, yet HE is the one being criticised.

Still at least some penny 's are begining to drop

Paul Andrews
53 Posted 30/12/2014 at 07:22:42
Touché Darren,

I used the phrase " the penny’s dropped" several weeks ago so good for you that you took notes and stored it for further use.

Barkley should be given a settled position and a run of games in that position.
I have mentioned a 4-3-3 formation for several months now with him McCarthy and Besic.

Xavier Spencer
54 Posted 30/12/2014 at 09:48:22
Everton make second least number of tackles in Premier League so far this season – only Burnley have made less. The teams that have made the fewest tackles occupy the bottom five places in the league (with the exception of Everton). These statistics are telling and suggest we lack spirit, heart and the will to compete.

Defensively, this is the worst Everton team I have ever seen. watching from the stands it feels as soon as the opposition put us under any sort of pressure they will score. I now believe the players share the same anxiety as the fans. There isn't one player playing with any degree of confidence. I think we will be in the bottom three by mid February.

Mark Andersson
55 Posted 30/12/2014 at 14:30:33
I really canÂ’t believe that some fans are calling for patience. I suppose they also believe that Father Christmas is real...

Look at the facts: last season has gone. This season is going from bad to worse with each game. There has been no sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

The manager has lost the crowd and lost the plot – now he needs to lose his job.

Paul Andrews
56 Posted 30/12/2014 at 15:39:10
Who would you give the managers job to Mark?
James McPherson
57 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:33:18
Louis Parr(48) - you don't think that it may be a senior player(s) intentionally channelling thoughts of the team through an all too willing to please or inexperienced rookie. It is a good way of expressing to the wider community what actually constituted preparation for the Newcastle game. Footballers I appreciate aren't that bright when it comes to matters Machiavellian - but stranger things have happened....
James McPherson
58 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:37:24
Ian Burns (26) - you are indeed one of a number of people that commented upon (at that time) the shockingly poor pre-season and the 2 issues that it highlighted - 1 the potential impact on physical fitness for the campaign ahead -2 the statement of complacency that it made upon Martinez's approach. At that time, people (I vividly remember Eugene Ruane ridiculing many contributors) stated that you could not hypothesise on a potential outcome, most especially given the preceding season's achievements.Think we have seen on the pitch how that debate has panned out. Interestingly, we are at a cross roads again with regard to whether one can construct an argument for the dismissal of Martinez based on a hypothesis. Some would say that the trajectory based on current factors is set and it is time to get rid - why wait for the hypothesis of relegation to come to bear. To counter this, some say that it is way too early to consider such a move and that there are no grounds to base Martinez/players continuing in such a calamitous way - form will return and this squad is good enough. I am not absolutely certain on where I am in this debate. However, my position is shifting from having been pro Martinez - and I say that as someone who was appalled at the pre-season as it bordered on the negligent. What I am thinking about is one can learn from a shocking pre-season, get it right next time, However, once Martinez is gone, that's it he's gone for good - it's an irrevocable decision. Not conclusive in itself...and indeed Martinez's tenure may come to a premature end..but we need to think carefully about what's next. In 18 months you will not thank the board for appointing a Pulis type manager - you see, hypothesis (being fair) works both ways.
Steve Brown
59 Posted 30/12/2014 at 16:56:50
Jim 45, hardly. Your taking an arbitrary point in the season to make a point. From the 1st Jan to the end of the season, we won 11 games, drew 2 and lost 6 in the league.

So 35 points from 19 games, compared to 21 points from the same number of games this season. We would be top 4 with that total right now. So the problems began this season for all the reasons people posted about above.

Steve Brown
60 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:12:27
Darren 54/Paul 55, I love the way that Ross gets away with murder. The reason he has been moved from "pillar to post" in the team is due to the loyalty of a manager who sees him as a great talent and wants to find a place for him despite his shocking performances this season. Apart from QPR he has been poor. I particularly enjoyed his leisurely jogs back while the Newcastle players he squandered possession to time and time again ran straight at our defence - that is purely a shit attitude and laziness.

RM's biggest fault this season has been persevering with players whose performances (and attitude?) have been dismal - Howard, McGeady, Barry, Distin, Coleman,Barkely and Lukaku. Now the first four should be sent packing at the end of the season, while the last three are a luxury we cannot afford right now so the subs bench is the only place they should be.

As for the broader point of whose to blame for this season, I would say partly the manager and staff but mainly the players. The defensive coach who helped us to the third best record in the league has not asked experienced players to screw up the basics, nor can he mitigate for 10 players making errors that led to goals. I am pretty sure RM did not tell to the team to stop pressuring the ball or making tackles, nor to drop the tempo of the passing game we showed last season.

Where he has been found lacking is under-cooking pre-season, being too idealistic in his passing game when the team's form means it is not up to it, but mainly being too loyal to certain players who have let him down badly. You cant sack a squad so it is RM's coat that is on a shaky peg - but I have totally lost respect for some of these players and want them out at the end of the season.

Paul Andrews
61 Posted 30/12/2014 at 17:58:01
Disagree strongly Steve.

Darren describes Barkley as the best player in our squad.

I rate him very highly myself

Steve Brown
62 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:02:51
Ultimately so do I Paul, he is a big talent. But his form this season has been poor and his refusal to track back - even when his error conceded possession - is completely unaceptable. We cannot afford him in the team at the moment.
Steve Brown
63 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:09:24
The truly great players all have one thing in common- they combine talent with working their arses off for the team. Ross doesnt yet... a luxury we can afford when the rest of the team is playing well.
Paul Andrews
64 Posted 30/12/2014 at 18:15:09
We should not accept it however well the team is playing Steve,so we are in agreement there.

100% effort in EVERY game should be a given.
Our crowd will forgive a lot if they see that

Mike Allison
65 Posted 02/01/2015 at 21:56:13
Stop slagging off the players. Their current poor form is a reflection of a manager who doesn't understand some of the absolute basics of football and seems to think he knows better.

He actually said the other day that he doesn't believe in defending to get a result.


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