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Barry targeting unbeaten run-in

by | 29/04/2015  Comments (69)  jump

(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Gareth Barry says that Everton feel they can extend their current unbeaten run to the end of the season as he prepares to face his old club Aston Villa this weekend.

The Blues have won five and drawn six since their dreadful performance at Stoke in early March, lifting them away from any threat of relegation and atoning somewhat for what has been a poor League season.

The veteran midfielder feels, however, that while much of the focus will be on Villa's own battle to beat the drop, Everton's players still have more to prove themselves over the final four matches where the possibility of squeezing past Swansea into eighth place still exists.

It's such a big game for them and the pressure's off us," Barry told evertontv, "but we still think we've got a lot to prove this season.

We're looking forward to the game but we know it's going to be tough because of their situation.

It's a mini target for us to go from now until the end of the season and try to stay unbeaten.

Obviously there are some tough games against teams that are battling for survival in the Premier League but we're confident that we can go and beat anyone.

Barry, virtually ever-present in the side when not briefly injured or suspended, says he can't definitively say what has been behind the Blues' transformation since that nadir at the Britannia Stadium but he admits that the atmosphere around Finch Farm has been much more pleasant of late, a feeling the players want to foster and continue into next season.

"We are on a good run at the moment so being around the training ground it is a much better place to be," he explained.

"You can never put your finger on one aspect [responsible for their turnaround in form] but it is just the way it goes – if you are winning games everyone seems to be playing better.

"These sort of things come when you are winning games. If you are losing games you are not playing well so it is always much easier when you are in a team winning games."  

Reader Comments (69)

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Denis Richardson
1 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:34:13
Â’The possibility of squeezing past Swansea in eighth still existsÂ’ just about sums up our season.

We can only aim to win the remaining games but I wish someone had a fast forward button so we can get to the serious business of sorting out the squad. With the geriatric nature itÂ’s now taking, the club does not have a choice. BK canÂ’t hide, we have to sign some players who arenÂ’t approaching pension age.

Ross Edwards
2 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:47:50
And if RM the tactical genius had adapted and learnt his lessons earlier, and dropped Howard and Barry when they were both utter liabilities, weÂ’d face the possibility of Â’squeezing past Southampton into 6thÂ’.

At it is, it looks like weÂ’ll have to settle for a phenomenal 9th place finish.

Des Farren
3 Posted 29/04/2015 at 19:35:47
"You can never put your finger on one aspect"... of why a team loses (or recaptures) form. "If you are winning games, everyone seems to play well". Indeed. There are many reasons why form can change including I suggest:

Injuries to key players which leave them unavailable for long periods.
Loss of form by key players leading to a lack of confidence in those around them resulting in a general malaise.
A lack of effort or commitment from certain players for their own reasons.
An inability to field a settled side.
The lack of a midfield player of quality who could unlock defences like West Brom/Stoke who park the bus.
The lack of a squad which would enable us to compete in Europe as well as at home.
We all know these things but they are the collective failures of Everton FC and not just those of one individual.

The lack of a midfield player of sufficient quality to unlock defences like

Stoke/WBA who park the bus. (Top 4 clubs have this type of player, we donÂ’t.)

A stretching of resources, Europa League, which our squad was not equipped to deal with.

Is this not a collective?

James Martin
4 Posted 29/04/2015 at 21:29:32
Yeah, yeah, Gareth... all talk, means nothing now. Everton FC – Nothing but the best (but only when there’s no pressure on whatsoever). None of you turned up to even one game when we still could have achieved something this season. You’ll be saying the same again next season after another nothing season.
Ross Edwards
5 Posted 29/04/2015 at 21:50:55
Well said, James. ItÂ’s far too late. When pressure and expectations were high, Martinez and the players floundered miserably. It took Lennon coming in on loan to Â’embarrassÂ’ the players into putting more effort in.

That just sums up the sheer complacency and arrogance of the players this season. They still havenÂ’t apologised for the poor performances and dire football weÂ’ve been subjected to this season and Gareth BarryÂ’s interview there stinks of Â’LetÂ’s end unbeaten and write this off as a fluke.Â’

They havenÂ’t learnt anything.

Andy Meighan
6 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:08:38
I suppose like every one else whoÂ’s posted on this thread IÂ’m totally pissed off with this disappointing season, but in all fairness the last few weeks have certainly lifted my spirits when I for one thought at one point we were done for.

But as Ross said itÂ’s taken the Lennon signing to totally turn it around. What a revelation heÂ’s been. I personally thought when he was a Spurs player he was just a pace merchant, a headless chicken if you like. But no thereÂ’s more to him than that. HeÂ’s quite a clever little player the way he drifts off to the middle, the way he hugs the flank and he also links play up quite well. HeÂ’s one player whoÂ’s totally made me think twice about signing him permanently.

As for Barry, I was his biggest critic all season but the last few games heÂ’s been back to the player of last season. At the moment itÂ’s looking good, but. hey, this is Everton weÂ’re talking about.

Colin Glassar
7 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:18:37
Barry is right, we will remain unbeaten and end 8-9th on 50 odd points. LetÂ’s just finish this awful season on a slightly positive note at least.

The players, and the manager, seem to be addressing some of the issues which were affecting us prior to this recent run so long may it continue.

Mike Price
8 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:22:48
Well, weÂ’re officially safe after tonight.
Ross Edwards
9 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:37:36
The fact that weÂ’re even saying that Mike is proof that RM doesnÂ’t deserve another season in charge, even though heÂ’ll still be here after fulfilling BKÂ’s basic requirement of maintaining our PL status.
Patrick Murphy
10 Posted 29/04/2015 at 22:50:03
Talking about tonightÂ’s game between Leicester City and Chelsea, John Terry became the joint top-scoring Premier League defender level with former Everton favourite David Unsworth on 38 goals, as reported by the BBC.

Andrew Presly
11 Posted 29/04/2015 at 23:38:31
IÂ’ll never forgive any of the senior players who allowed AA out in the second half vs Kiev. How can you let such incompetence shatter all your dreams? Only conclusion is they never dreamed it. Depressing.

If that was Besic rather than GB for the first one it doesnÂ’t happen.

But weÂ’ve picked up since then!

John Gee
12 Posted 30/04/2015 at 00:31:29
Patrick, I know Usworth took penalties and some free kicks but JT was playing in a rouble wonderland. ThatÂ’s interesting Rhino was so prolific.

As a player and a man I’d take Unsworth 100% of the time. JT is overrated. Frequently gets caught under an aerial ball and has played with some of the best defenders and keepers around. If he wasn’t feeding stories to the media (à la redknapp) he’d be in the same bracket as Shawcross. Also, decorum prevents me from calling JT a cunt on a public forum so I’ll not mention that fact and just think it.

Harold Matthews
13 Posted 30/04/2015 at 00:48:29
After reading this thread and strongly disagreeing with almost every post, IÂ’ve decided to make a cup of tea and watch the golf.
Mark Andersson
14 Posted 30/04/2015 at 01:53:47
But Harold, I like your posts, so please say something. Hope you enjoyed your cuppa.

Brian Porter
15 Posted 30/04/2015 at 06:10:16
Mathematically safe with four games to go... not quite what we envisaged at the start of the season was it? How anyone can defend a manager who takes a top 5 team to the brink of relegation in less than twelve months is beyond me.

Roberto Martinez had the building blocks in place to kick on and really establish both the teamÂ’s and his own credibility, but contrived to completely cock-up the entire season for reasons which have already been well documented here on TW over the last few months. I remember my own first feelings that things were not going to go our way at the start of the season when he waffled on about having a big enough squad to cope with the necessary rotation needed to compete in the Europa League. Rotation? IÂ’ve seen, over the years that experienced European campaigners tend to change two, perhaps three players to cope with European games, but what does Martinez do? Changed almost the whole bloody team each time, and destroyed any continuity we might have built up in our league form.

At the beginning of the season, Naismith, love him or hate him, was in a rich scoring vein, so what did our phenomenal manager do? Left him out of the European games. In the ridiculous Â’dead rubberÂ’ against Krasnodar, he fielded a team of kids who he quite obviously had no intention of promoting to the first team, whereas I would have taken the game as an opportunity to try out what I thought to be my strongest side and send a message to the other teams in the competition of just how seriously we treated the EL.

By all means, Gareth Barry et al, letÂ’s go all out for the highest league position we can; after all, every place we climb will bring in extra revenue that will hopefully help with future team building... but please donÂ’t expect us, the long-suffering fans who have turned up in their thousands even through the crap weÂ’ve witnessed at times this season, to class a good finish as being anything like a successful or acceptable season.

Darryl Ritchie
16 Posted 30/04/2015 at 07:25:19
To criticize the manager and players when they play like crap, is logical and the duty of every Evertonian. IÂ’ve done so frequently and will undoubtedly do so again.

We are finally starting to play like we should have from the beginning of the season. A bit of joy and a universal sigh of relief. We are having a good run of matches. Granted itÂ’s too late to gain us anything but mid-table, but better late than never. To give them shit because they used to be shit, makes no sense to me.

This season is a write off. At least enjoy the good bits, and wait and see what happens over the summer.

Ross Edwards
17 Posted 30/04/2015 at 08:48:22
Harold, I may be wrong but it seems that, all of a sudden you are summarily refusing and refuting any argument against Martinez now. 5 wins in a meaningless run in doesnÂ’t erase a entire season.
Andrew Ellams
18 Posted 30/04/2015 at 08:51:24
If the season had gone well and died off in the last 10 games people would have been having a dig at Martinez. How about vice versa.

Ross, you comment about Harold but you have spent the last few weeks responding to every thread with the same reponse about waiting 9 months. We shouldnÂ’t have but we did but now something seems to be going right. ItÂ’s better to go into next season with some momentum rather than just let this season die out and start from scratch in the summer.

Ross Edwards
19 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:03:59
Even though itÂ’s true?
Sam Hoare
20 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:01:32
It seems to have been a trait for Everton over the last decade that we play our best football when under little or no pressure. Not sure whose fault that is or whether it's an inevitable part of most sportmenÂ’s psyches.

IÂ’m certainly enjoying this resurgence and if we can go unbeaten till the end of the season, it will have many positive effects such as convincing our better players that there may still be hope and also hiking up their prices for any would-be bidders. More than anything it brings a smile back to our faces and gives us some cause for optimism where there had seemed very little 2 months ago.

Jake Lucas
21 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:03:54
ItÂ’d funny how, win lose or draw, a lot of people on here sound like they simply donÂ’t enjoy supporting our fantastic club. If all it does is make you moan and depressed and scream negativity, then maybe itÂ’s time to follow a different sport?

Yes, this season has had its ups and downs, but I think a lot of you are getting clouded expectations of what our club can achieve, which I agree could easily happen after last season's success. When RM took over, he was the first to say heÂ’s going to change our way of playing, and due to this new philosophy he doesnÂ’t expect to get results right away, but in the long term it will see us moving in the right direction.

Now saying he doesnÂ’t expect results right away is down to two things: firstly the players getting used to the style, and secondly the manager getting used to how the players perform, and tweaking as he goes to compliment each player.

I actually think, although sometimes negative and boring, we are creating a solid platform of play that will see us rise to challenge for CL again soon, hopefully next season. I actually think our play has warranted better results that weÂ’ve got, mainly down to silly defensive mistakes, and I will be the first to say we need a young CB to join our ranks in the summer, hopefully a youngster thatÂ’s had plenty of 1st team football so he can partner John Stones.

I think, if we keep some key players, and strengthen (even with just a few players), I can look towards next season with confidence.

Winston Williamson
22 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:09:46
I tend to agree with Ross on this one. We shouldnÂ’t have to wait till now to see the football we know the players can play. There is no point repeating what has been said a thousand times already this season. We are powerless to whether Roberto stays. All we can hope for is Â’lessons learntÂ’ and a good start to next season. If we start badly, the heat on Roberto will be intense.
Sam Morrison
23 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:19:57
Think IÂ’m with Harold on this one. ItÂ’s been a shite season for sure but does that mean we refuse to see a silver lining or any positivity at all?

And players being taken to task for things they say in media briefings or interviews has become a tediously predictable meme now. Players are obliged to do them. Is there really any point getting het up about it when they utter the same letÂ’s-be-positive stuff weÂ’ve heard before? What do you want them to do, trot out a hilarious routine about the offside trap?

There is a temptation for us to say that talk is cheap but the players know that too. They have to say something – or alternatively they can shun the media altogether, and get it in the neck for that instead.

Andrew Ellams
24 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:38:50
At least our manager has never behaved like a complete bellend in the way that Pearson did last night.
Tony Hill
25 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:43:40
I think Pearson may actually be mad, Andrew. The sort of man who might go on a shooting spree.
Ross Edwards
26 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:47:16
I think Pearson could have handled it better. The question was stupid but he didnÂ’t have to go as far as he did. RM is a nice guy and obviously very approachable. If I was a journalist IÂ’d rather interview Roberto than Pearson because at least heÂ’d answer a stupid question whereas Pearson would just rip your head off.
Tony Ateman
27 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:49:43
Jake, 21.

You mirror my thoughts, well said.

Eric Myles
28 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:55:30
Sam #23 "It's been a shite season for sure but does that mean we refuse to see a silver lining or any positivity at all?"

Is it a silver lining or an annual "get out of the shit" last few games, like Wigan?

WeÂ’ll have to wait until next season to find out...

Sam Morrison
29 Posted 30/04/2015 at 10:02:54
Fair point Eric (28)
Ross Edwards
30 Posted 30/04/2015 at 10:04:39
Just on Wigan,Eric, in 2011-12 they won 7 out of their last 9 games. We could do the same. Obviously the outcome of the following season for them will hopefully be totally different to us.

If we start next season well, IÂ’ll be fully confident about RM learning his lessons because the expectations will obviously be much higher next season after SundayÂ’s performance and no Europe. Fingers crossed itÂ’s not simply a case of bailing ourselves out in the last 10 games.

Eugene Ruane
31 Posted 30/04/2015 at 10:15:31
These days my memory is shot to bits (so all this could be skew-wiff) but anyone remember UnsworthÂ’s goal at Spurs in a 3-3?

We were 3-0 down at half time and me and a couple of mates were in with Spurs supporters (keeping our gobs shut).

We got one back then we got it back to 3-2 (canÂ’t remember who scored, maybe Beardsley).

We looked at each other but didnÂ’t jump up or anything - no point getting a beating for a 3-2 defeat.

Anyway I have a feeling Unsworth came on as a sub (or..maybe he started, see bad memory) and towards the end, he caught hold of an incredible volley that almost bust the net. 3-3.

What I can remember is we went fucking nuts and our behaviour caused a bit of panic (it was a terrace not seats).

"ThereÂ’s faaaaaaackin scaaaaassers in Â’ere!!!"

I remember us kind of shuffling-crouching-pushing through the crowd and incredibly, getting out of there without so much as a dig (confusion and fear - great combination).

Next minute we were out on the street hugging each other and shouting "fucking GET IN!"

Then realising the natives might not be happy, we swiftly headed towards Seven Sisters.

That may (or maybe not, see bad memory) have been LinekerÂ’s last game.

Paul Tran
32 Posted 30/04/2015 at 10:40:48
One of the features of MartinezÂ’s time at Wigan was their surge in form towards the end of each season. It may be due to his softly softly slow starting training methods. I remember when Benitez was over the park, they tended to finish the season strongly and he spoke of Â’managing them through the season.Â’

Regardless of manager, this group of players has shown ability, inconsistency and a tendency to improve their performance when the pressure is off.

Looks to me like whoever comes in needs plenty of spine and character. Am I looking for a type of player that no longer exists?

Paul Tran
33 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:10:11
Eugene, it was Lineker's last game. I couldnÂ’t get in our bit of the Park Lane so ended up under the Shelf. I asked someone the score and he shouted at a policeman to arrest me. They told him to bugger off and in relative safety for WHL, I remember them making it 2-0 & 3-0 in the last minutes of the first half, Southall staying on the pitch in a strop and an unlikely 2nd-half comeback with a belter from Unsworth, who looked like he couldnÂ’t believe what heÂ’d done! Great game!
Paul Hughes
34 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:18:31
I was told to beware of people whose weight in kilograms is greater than their IQ. Pearson falls into that category.
Ciaran Duff
35 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:15:39
I agree with Eric. I think RM has earned the right for another chance and letÂ’s judge him on his third season.

Personally, I support him. Obviously he had a fantastic first season and did well in Europe this year. However, what I admire is that he has come through a really rough patch and emerged on the other side. Remember he and the team were under real pressure from fans and the R-word was being bandied about. He did vary his tactics where necessary and I am sure has learnt some lessons. RM is still a young manager learning his trade and I think that he has great potential. I hope he can realise it with us.

BTW, back to the original point, how will we go against Villa on Sat? They are really desperate for points. It could be a very tough game.

Ross Edwards
36 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:39:30
Martinez is going to get another season, perhaps another 5 in the future, whether we think he deserves it or not. The man is unsackable, even if we were bottom at Christmas next season, thereÂ’s no way Kenwright will ever sack him.

In my view, based on what IÂ’ve seen for the majority of this season, not last season or 6 games in an irrelevant run in, do I think Martinez Â’deservesÂ’ another season? No.

Do I Â’wantÂ’ him in charge? IÂ’ve got to say, whether I want him or not is irrelevant, because heÂ’s here regardless.

Do I want him to succeed? Yes. Of course I do.

Next season? Based on SundayÂ’s performance and the last 5 games, top 6 is a must in my opinion. ThereÂ’s no reason or excuse why we canÂ’t. Based on the other 28 games, I have no idea.

Signings? RMÂ’s transfer record is patchy, IÂ’m even his loyal supporters can admit that. For every McCarthy thereÂ’s an Alcaraz.

Do I trust him to get the right players? I like who weÂ’re being linked with so far, so IÂ’m optimistic at the moment. But itÂ’s all about the board. I sincerely hope the board give him full backing in the summer so weÂ’re not sat here this time next season saying the same things.

Denis Richardson
37 Posted 30/04/2015 at 11:46:35
Eric – you’re right in that something certainly changed tactics-wise; whether that was down to the manager, players or both, we don’t know.

The early season pass it slowly across the back certainly seems to have been put to bed for now. My concern is that this is still how Martinez ideally wants to play so weÂ’ll see if this change is just temporary soon enough.

Whether we think Martinez deserves another season is irrelevant as he will be here come August; BK is not going to bring someone else in and after this season no Â’bigÂ’ club is going to come after him. All we can do is hope he and the board sort the squad out over the summer and he Â’learnsÂ’ so we donÂ’t have a repeat of this season again. IÂ’d still love to know what happened with Distin and Eto'o, DistinÂ’s case is quite sad as he was a really decent player for the club, he deserved at least a good send off at GP.

Martinez may only be 41 but this is his 8th season as a manager and his 6th in the Premier League so itÂ’s not like heÂ’s a novice.

Bring on the summer.

Andrew Ellams
38 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:21:06
Martinez is definitely not unsackable. If Bill thinks his train set is genuinely at risk, then it will be adios.
Steve Guy
39 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:34:47
We have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team. 19 I believe. So if our collective defensive frailties hadnÂ’t been in evidence we wouldnÂ’t be fighting it out for 8th, weÂ’d be fighting it out for Champions League. Infuriating and we can only hope the lessons have been learnt.
Tony J Williams
40 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:46:41
Strange season: important players getting injuries, defence playing like strangers, fitness levels were a joke and our striker, now we know, was playing injured.

The last patch of games was more like last season and, as I said on another thread, it was no coinkidink that when McCarthy was fully fit then Barry started playing better.

However, I can guess that now someone has mentioned going unbeaten until the end of the season, the Villa game will be our SaintÂ’s away game from last season: two own goals and a shocking performance.

David Sheen
41 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:42:28
Excellent post by Jake Lucas #21.

Too many feckin moaners on here. DonÂ’t we average the 10th highest wage bill in the Premier League? DoesnÂ’t that mean that 10th is were we should be?

Queens Park Ranger have a higher wage bill than us! So does Sunderland!

Our wage bill isnÂ’t that far away from West Broms! Who are 15th highest. Liverpools wage bill is double that of ours, and they are 5th in that.

Everton have been on a slow decline ever since the Premier League began off the field. On it, it was saved by David Moyes.

If you have a problem with it, then start up a Â’Kenwright OutÂ’ campaign and not have a go at Martinez.

Ross Edwards
42 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:57:17
Martinez will never be sacked, Andrew. Even when Moyes started seasons badly, there was hardly any dissent against him whatsoever until his last 2 or 3 seasons.
Eugene Ruane
43 Posted 30/04/2015 at 12:57:19
Paul Tran (33) - "I couldnâ't get in our bit of the Park Lane so ended up under the Shelf"

Same, thatÂ’s where we were, only just got in as I remember, gateÂ’s closed just after us.

Andrew Ellams
44 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:02:35
I donÂ’t necessarily buy this correlation between league placings and wage bills. All it shows is that some clubs are prepared to vastly overpay poor quality players. QPR being the probably the best example in Premier League history along with Portsmouth. IÂ’m sure there is a link between those two somewhere...
Nick Entwistle
45 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:03:22
He wonÂ’t be sacked unless relegation threatens. What Mike Ashley did wrong was admit to what every other chairman outside the money clubs believe. TheyÂ’re all happy finishing midtable because there is no way to break into the higher places. And which of the bottom 14 clubs can compete with the Spurs and Liverpool levels of investment, a level that guarantees nothing?
Nick Entwistle
46 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:10:03
Andrew, I think QPR are the only example. Money doesnÂ’t guarantee success but it is a pre-requisite.

Portsmouth got their rewards for their outlay but it was unsustainable, just like with Leeds.

Jake Lucas
47 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:03:48
Tony #27 and David #41

Cheers gents IÂ’m glad some people on here agree! IÂ’m a regular visitor of TW, and have been for ~10 years. IÂ’ve started to enjoy coming on here less and less and itÂ’s mainly because it seems to have turned into people's dumping ground, I rarely post but today I just felt compelled to, ha!

I have learnt a lot at school and to this day I can still recall my PE coaches words: "Jake, youÂ’re great to watch on the pitch, not so good to listen to. If you havenÂ’t at least got something constructive to say, donÂ’t say anything at all." I think some people on here should take a leaf out of the book that was thrusted upon me!

Ross Edwards
48 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:13:56
Hang on, David, we should just accept poor performances and results for the majority of the season because Â’10th is where we should beÂ’?

WeÂ’re Everton. Not Stoke.

Tony J Williams
49 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:16:16
People like to moan, thatÂ’s what we all do.

ItÂ’s easier to call someone a bellend and skit them than talk about what merits they may have.

I moan a lot but try and see good in things too; however it ends up with the moaners getting moaned at by the anti-moaning moaners who in turn cause the moaners to moan at the anti-moaners because they are in fact moaning.....or something like that.

ps: I would bet we donÂ’t go unbeaten until the end of the season... then I can moan about that too!

Harold Matthews
50 Posted 30/04/2015 at 09:39:53
Ross. If I say this, youÂ’ll say that. If I say that, youÂ’ll say this. It could go on all day. ItÂ’s what happens when people with completely different viewpoints come together.

WeÂ’re like the tortoise and the hare and IÂ’m the one who doesnÂ’t move like Aaron Lennon. You keep yelling "ItÂ’s too late, itÂ’s too late. Too late for this, too late for that. He should have done this. He couldÂ’ve done that. If heÂ’d have done this, we could have" goes on and on.

I donÂ’t see things that way. This doesnÂ’t mean IÂ’m right and youÂ’re wrong. Good grief, far from it. We all have different opinions and want different things. Truth be told, I turned against Martinez when things got really bad and, after the Stoke performance, I would have paid for his taxi to Lime Street Station.

No, all along, IÂ’ve only ever had my mind set on one thing. That one day he would assemble a squad of talented, willing players within our budget who would work as a team and compete with the money boys.

Okay, after over-achieving last season the wheels fell off. Injuries played a big part and there were a million and one things behind the scenes weÂ’ll never know about. On the field, the sideways and backwards tippy tappy stuff had been sussed out and we struggled. The crowd didnÂ’t like it, the players didnÂ’t like it. It had to go. Nothing wrong with possession football but only if itÂ’s directed forward at the right tempo.

Martinez recently said he learnt from all this and adjusted his methods. Whether or not it was all too late is of no interest to me. We were back on track.

The game which put me firmly back on his side was the 5-2 defeat in Kiev. He bravely did what I hoped heÂ’d do and we came closer to going through than many realise. From that day I decided he was the right man to take us forward. All he needed was one or two extra players of the right type.

Bringing in Lennon was a master-stroke. McGeady couldnÂ’t manage it but this fella could. He set standards others were forced to follow whilst carrying out his instructions to the letter. Mirallas and Naismith were left on the bench, McCarthy was allowed to join the attack and Coleman started hitting first-time crosses. Possession football with pace. The defence seemed more organised, people were closing down in packs and Big Dunc was getting excited.

Despite all that, for me it is still early days with much to improve upon. Faces will come and go during the summer, the Board will give Martinez the money to strengthen and hopefully he will continue to build the squad he has in mind. As mentioned earlier, thatÂ’s all IÂ’m interested in and I donÂ’t care how long he takes to do it.

It hasnÂ’t been easy but IÂ’ve given you an answer and IÂ’m now finished with this thread.

Denis Richardson
51 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:50:57
Jake and David, when we were playing great last season the vast majority on TW were praising the team and manager, and quite rightly.

This season, the team and manager have been poor for most of it so, imo, itÂ’s quite right that the fans can Â’moanÂ’ as you call it, about the performances and especially the missed opportunities. Posting things like Â’if you have nothing constructive to say then donÂ’t say anythingÂ’ is a very childish thing to do and ironically not in itself constructive given this is a forum for opinions! Likewise it can be answered by a childish Â’if you donÂ’t like what youÂ’re reading then donÂ’t bother reading itÂ’.

Everyone on here is entitled to their own opinions and the fact that people have opposing view is EXACTLY what makes the site much loved by its regulars. Please donÂ’t belittle it (and yourself) by suggesting someone else's opinion is somehow less worthy than yours. If you donÂ’t agree then explain why or ignore it.

If you have the power to ignore the period November to February and believe that the last 4-5 games is the norm, then thatÂ’s great for you. Some of us more pessimistic types need a little more convincing than that, ie, let's see these winning runs when they actually matter... and let's see the tactics and balance of the side maintained over a longer term and not over half-a-dozen dead-rubber games.

The end.

David Sheen
52 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:54:27
Martinez has made mistakes, he did seem like a stubborn git also. But he has changed, the players are responding. WeÂ’ve won 5 of the last 6 games. Things are starting to look up and we need to keep that going and end this season on a positive note.

We are not Stoke in the sense of history. But we are in a league that is all about financial clout and our wage bill two seasons ago was exactly the same as Stoke's as well as our spending. Which means that our level is Stoke City.

Our potential on the other hand is NOT. But everyone knows that what is holding us back is Blue Bill. Until then we need realism.

Eric Myles
53 Posted 30/04/2015 at 14:19:11
Ciaran #35, I didnÂ’t exactly say "I think RM has earned the right for another chance and let's judge him on his third season" but I think he wonÂ’t be sacked so he will be with us for at least the start of his third season.

Whether he lasts to the end of it will depend on whether he has learned anything from this season. I hope he has and next season will be more like his first.

Jamie Barlow
54 Posted 30/04/2015 at 14:09:17
I don't understand how our winning streaks have been in irrelevant or meaningless games.
Ross Edwards
55 Posted 30/04/2015 at 14:59:08
They are though Jamie, for us. Our season ended in Kiev and we have nothing to play for other than getting 9th place most likely. These wins are a great way of ending the season but in terms of league position this run in for us is totally meaningless.
Gavin Johnson
56 Posted 30/04/2015 at 13:47:23
Good post Harold, the best approach is to put your opinion forward and then not bite. The other person will take you down to their level and theyÂ’ve got more experience. IÂ’m going to try and take my own advise there, after being part of a couple of the exchanges you describe recently.

IÂ’m interested why you name the Â’KievÂ’ game as the reason you were back onside with Martinez. This was the only game where my belief in Martinez wavered. If heÂ’d have gone after that game, IÂ’d have had mixed feelings but IÂ’d have accepted a new manager coming in.

Does this game refer to the cryptic remark you alluded that you had seen positives you didnÂ’t wish to discuss on TW?

Jamie Barlow
57 Posted 30/04/2015 at 15:21:22
They may be now but the 5 or 6 we won on the bounce werenÂ’t. WeÂ’d still be panicking and in the shit if we hadnÂ’t picked up the points.
Darren Hind
58 Posted 30/04/2015 at 14:19:29
So let me get this straight . . . Its negative to Want to replace a manager who has;

Overseen the worst football seen at any premiership ground this season.
Repeatedly sent injured players into battle - and probably caused some of the injuries by not preparing them physically,
Repeatedly dropped players after playing well in favour of players who were clearly out of form.
Ruined the best pair of attacking full backs in the league,
Brightened every other fans Saturday nights, by reducing our top defenders into a comedy routine.
Frustrated one of the most Loyal fan bases in the country into outright Mutiny.

But its positive to want to keep him ? and tell him how wonderful he is ?

Jake and David.

Did it occur to you that most fans support the club, not the manager and if a manager has been really poor and looked completely out of his depth the most positive thing they can to do is call for him to be removed and replaced by somebody better

Andrew Ellams
59 Posted 30/04/2015 at 15:41:43
Darren, I donÂ’t think itÂ’s about positivity or negativity. There are people on here who seem to be genuinely put out that the team has finished the season with a bit if a flourish because it takes away their told you sos.
Jim Hardin
61 Posted 30/04/2015 at 15:23:27
I do not understand where people can realistically expect Everton to be a top four contender except on the occasional fluke year. MoyesÂ’s greatest strength was in making Everton into a perennial top 5-8 challenger with the occasional push at 4th. Why would it be reasonable to expect more given that the income disparity has increased between the top five spending teams and Everton? Fact is Everton are now and have been a team competing with Swansea, Tottenham (barely due to their increased spending), West Ham, Stoke, West Brom, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle. This is a second tier with 8 teams fighting for the two spots to Europe but with the possibility of finishing anywhere from 5-13 (Liverpool are somewhere in there as a dreadfully underperforming club).

Moyes had Everton in 6th spot at the end of his last season here and this would have been a Europa League spot but for the oddities of the FA and Capital One Cup outcomes. Roberto improved the position one spot with more points. The disappointment is not being in the running this season when we have become used to at least that hope. This is where RM and the squad have failed and may account for the negativity on here.

Yes, the upcoming game results wonÂ’t get us into Europe. The games can be used by current players to play for their spots next season and point out where help is needed for the three or four players brought in over the summer.

Given the uncertainties of next season, why not enjoy the wins and draws? Even a meaningless win is still better viewing than a meaningless loss since we are all going to watch the games anyway.

Patrick Murphy
62 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:12:54
Everton donÂ’t play any meaningless matches, especially when good money is being paid by supporters for the privilege of attending those games and 3 points is 3 points, regardless of who we play and when we play. However, in the context of this season, the remaining games arenÂ’t as important as we would have hoped for at the start of the campaign or indeed feared given our form over the Christmas holiday period.

The Echo did a little feature the other day which shows that good endings to one particular season do not always or often herald a good start to the following one. So, on 8 August – regardless of how many points we win in the remaining fixtures – Everton like every other club will start with a clean slate and the pursuit of points begins all over again. Hopefully Everton will have many more points on the board in the early part of the campaign and next year’s last four fixtures will be crucial matches as Everton chase some much needed success.

Eric Myles
63 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:10:46
Ross #55 "Our season ended in Kiev and we have nothing to play for other than getting 9th place most likely."

At that time we were 6 points off the relegation places, so I think we had everything to play for.

Andrew Ellams
64 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:31:14
ItÂ’s a massive season for both Lukaku and Barkley next season. They need to step up to the sort of performances that Stones has been giving. Lukaku is much closer than Ross.
Denis Richardson
65 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:15:02
Jim 61 - respect your opinions but I strongly and absolutely disagree that the likes of Swansea, Palace, West Brom and Stoke are at the same level as us. None of these teams have even finished above us in the league in the last decade, and thatÂ’s when they were even in the Premier League! How can you even suggest weÂ’re at the same level? Based in this shite season alone?

Fact is Everton, despite playing style or manager, have generally finished in or around the top 6 in recent history. Of course weÂ’re not the same level as the top 5 but weÂ’re certainly not at the level of the teams youÂ’ve mentioned either. Going on recent history, a decent season for us in the league is staying within touching distance of 4th and qualifying for Europe and a shit season is anything below 7th.

Not sure if youÂ’re trying to cut the manager some slack or dumb down expectations but saying weÂ’re at the same level as a yo-yo side like palace is actually an insult. The fact that weÂ’re below the likes of Swansea and Stoke in the league is exactly why so many people are unhappy but hey, a few decent results strung together at the end of the season and many are happy again and saying we should have Â’realistic expectationsÂ’.

I expect us to be finishing above the likes of Swansea, Stoke, Palace, West Brom etc, EVERY season. We may have a shit season now and than (like now) and if so it would be nice for those in charge to call a spade a spade and take responsibility rather than trying to sugar-coat everything. However, given the players at our disposal we should be a long way away from the bottom half of the table.

Also is it too much to ask for a decent domestic cup run? Anyone would think weÂ’ve an allergy to Wembley or something.

Just my humle thoughts...

are in the same league as us. When was the last time any of these teams finished higher than us in the league?

Mike Childs
66 Posted 30/04/2015 at 16:41:48
As one of the crazies on here spouting nonsense like "Go get Pulis or Eto'o as a player coach" back in the dark days of December and "weÂ’re going down with Howard as our GK", IÂ’m glad no one was listening. In my defense ,I am a bit of an instant gratification junkie. What this season has taught me is I need to relax more and look at the bigger picture. Just like I am constantly learning the strategy of this game I love, I hope RM has to. I still think Robles shouldnÂ’t have been benched but going to TH has proven not to be the nightmare I originally invisioned.

We really arenÂ’t that far away. First and foremost we need a real creative midfield, Lennon or a player of his ability and a backup CB. I am willing to forgive and forget RM but he must learn just like me. One thing he has to do for me is give our younger players more chances especially when our established players are carrying niggle injuries.

Ross Edwards
67 Posted 30/04/2015 at 19:25:14
"There are people on here who seem to be genuinely put out that the team has finished the season with a bit if a flourish because it takes away their Â’told-you-soÂ’s."

Andrew if in that comment you put me in that bracket you are totally wrong. I am a supporter of Everton FC, not RobertoÂ’s Phenomenal Flying Circus. I was as happy as anyone about our victories, but IÂ’m not going to sit here and pretend that RM is wonderful because of 6 results.

Some seem to be basing their judgement of Roberto on the last 6 games only, whereas IÂ’m looking at the entire season, concluding that RM has failed on every level this season and when the pressure has been on, these players havenÂ’t performed or been motivated sufficiently and that is down to the manager.

James Martin
68 Posted 30/04/2015 at 20:36:56
Exactly right Ross. WeÂ’re all suckers for the same trick that both Moyes and Martinez now employ. It goes one of s few ways every time. ThereÂ’s the embarrassing start where we take 6 games to get a win effectively ending the season there but then go on a great 5 or 6 game winning streak to get close to something tangible only to then crumble as soon as it matters again. The other favoured route is the flying start followed by the long drawn out fall away where a decent cup run distracts from a million draws in the league but keeps everyone happy. Martinez has now invented the be rubbish all season but win your last 6 and everyone is eating out the palm of his hand for next year. When the pressure is on this group of players do not win and they have shown this countless times. I donÂ’t take joy in this, but IÂ’m not foolish enough either to think next season is suddenly going to be 84/85 all over again. The mentalities of the club are different. Back then we were a top club in a lull who still had aspirations of getting to the top. Now we are allergic to success. The board donÂ’t really want the responsibility that comes with it, the players donÂ’t really want it (based on their uncanny ability to not turn up whenever they are near success), and you have to ask do the fans want it? Too many people seem quite happy with finishing where our wage bill dictates, finishing the season well, getting some pride out of a top half finish or meaningless runs when nothing is at stake.

We have a great defense and a 30 mill striker upfront yet weÂ’re 14 points behind one of the worst Liverpool sides in Prem history who have no recognised fit goal scorer. This season has been an utter abomination and no winning run (of which only 2 performances werenÂ’t kitap1) will do anything about it. The mitigating factors from Moyes early days arenÂ’t there either now. WeÂ’re no longer selling top players, we can pay decent wage, itÂ’s a top squad, with top players in most positions, and a very poor league. Our league performance relatively has got to be one of the worst across Europe.

Andy Meighan
69 Posted 30/04/2015 at 22:32:02
Eugene (#31),

IÂ’m sure that game at Spurs was Unsworth's debut... not 100% certain, so could be wrong. But IÂ’m certain it wasnÂ’t Lineker's last game. If memory serves me right, his last league game was against Southampton at home in a 6-0 win and he got a hat-trick the same day the shite beat Chelsea to win the league.

Incidentally, that was one of the last times they won the league. 𧾺 million thrown at it since the prem began and no nearer to it than what we are... Happy days!

Jim Hardin
70 Posted 01/05/2015 at 03:06:46
Denis, I would refer you to post 52 where the fact is we are at Stoke level and the table confirms this. The point was that we are competing in the second tier of the EPL as one of the top of that tier who can jump over and challenge the big boys once in a while. Like it or not, the last 20 years have left Everton where it is and as it is and the current location, stadium, Board and ownership are keeping it there.

We are not a top squad any longer. Everton is in the next five after the top five. We donÂ’t pay top wages, and several of our best players are long in the tooth or getting there. We are a Tottenham, Stoke, and West Ham level club and team and perhaps Moyes did a much better job than many give him credit for in making us believe and dream that Everton was a top four challenger.

I am not a Martinez supporter as I could not believe how very little he was blamed for WiganÂ’s four-year demise and abject failure in staying in the league. I did not want him at Everton and do not wish him to return for next season even though I generally think a manager should get three years to prove his worth. He is a media darling so his faults (ability to sign quality players and to manage) were glossed over because he won something and "anyway Wigan is a rugby town."

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