Martinez: We have to turn draws into wins

12/12/2015  92 Comments  [Jump to last]
Roberto Martinez pin-pointed the obvious in his post-match statements after seeing his Everton side throw away another two points from a winning position.

The Blues could have gone into the half time break with an unassailable lead but a combination of profligate finishing, the woodwork and Norwich's reserve goalkeeper Declan Rudd restricted them to just one, Romelu Lukaku's 12th in the League this season.

The character of the game changed at the start of the second half, as the Canaries plundered a goal in predictable fashion off a corner when a far-post header was cleared off the line by Ross Barkley but Wes Hoolahan prodded in the rebound.

Looking a shadow of the marauding force they had been in the first 45 minutes, Everton struggled to reestablish their dominance and had to be content with another disappointing draw.

Martinez expressed his satisfaction with his side's attacking display in the first half but was again left lamenting a poor second period and a soft goal conceded from a set-piece.

“Football can be cruel at times and it was today,” he said after the match. “In terms of controlling our own destiny, I thought the performance was really strong, especially in the first half. We were well in control, we scored our goal and probably had enough chances to kill the game off.

“Then second half, we had two defend two corners and one ends up in the back of the net. We then didn’t find that extra bit of luck in front of goal.

“In terms of performance, it was very similar to Monday night," the Catalan continued, neglecting the two points dropped at Bournemouth a fortnight ago. "It’s a dominant performance that deserved victory but we have now dropped four points and that’s where we need to grow quickly."

“We have to turn these draws into wins.”  


Reader Comments (92)

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Brian Williams
3 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:03:35
Dominant for 45 minutes. A game lasts 90+ minutes. We were as poor in the second half as we were on fire in the first (finishing apart).
Steavey Buckley
4 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:04:23
What's the point? The main point is that Everton's season is now over.
Patrick Murphy
6 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:07:58
Steavey (4) I hope not, we are still half-a-dozen wins or should that be eighteen draws away from safety and we are still in both domestic cups but I do understand what you mean.
Paul Commons
7 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:10:52
Absolutely spot on, Steavey. But, if you don't expect too much, just sit back and enjoy the lengthy periods when we play superb football that sometimes ends in a goal.

But be sure to close your eyes every time there's a corner – for or against. They are the horror moments. This is Everton, after all!

Tony Twist
8 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:15:29
So it was just us being unlucky. That is a relief, thanks Roberto. Luck's bound to change soon...isn't it?!
Colin Glassar
9 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:17:12
I get your anger and frustration, Steavey, but the football gods still haven't turned their backs on us completely. We are only nine points behind Man City (current leaders if they win) and there are over 20 games left to play. Another plus is everyone else has been shit so far this season, so we are not cut adrift (yet), and a few wins and we could be right back in the mix.

It's a long shot I know but I'm clutching at straws here and don't want our season to be over by Xmas again. This time last season, confidence was low, our football was awful and injuries were mounting. It's a bit different this season, isn't it?

Derek Knox
10 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:19:34
What a brilliant strategy!

I am almost convinced that we, the fans, were unaware of it.

Try putting it into practice!

Oh, and get the players to be ont he same wavelength too.

Mark Daley
11 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:21:05
At least we are spared the agony of hope that we would have had if we'd beaten Bournemouth, Palace and Norwich.

I'm not antagonising myself with "if only we'd won those games" – I've supported Everton about 45 years so I've learnt not to do silly things like that.

I do wonder though what we must have done in previous lives to be reborn as Evertonians.

Les Martin
12 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:26:58
Our luck will change and it will all fall into place and someone will get a tonking, no sweat. Okay!
Al Reddish
13 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:29:28
We can easily turn draws to wins by practicing corners.......both ends.

Also, Martinez says this week no one's place is safe and they will be changed if they are off-form. To me, Barkley and Kone should be benched. Kone still doesn't score many for a forward and seems to slow play down. Barkley is going Rodwell-esque with sideways/backwards passing.

When McCarthy is fit, he should come in and push Cleverley up one, and maybe try Lennon, Mirallas or Naismith for Kone.

Christy Ring
14 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:34:16
When you leave Kone on for the full game, and our defending from corners, with Howard like Dracula (won't go near crosses), it makes winning a lot harder.

Would you put your pride in your pocket, and buy a top-class keeper and striker in January? God forbid if Lukaku gets injured.
Darryl Ritchie
15 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:34:48
Some say that draws are like kissing your sister. If that's true, the Blues are becoming positively incestuous.
Joe Foster
16 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:37:49
The season is pretty much over. No more turning points, no more pivotal moments. We may as well sit back and relax and enjoy the mid-table glory. It is what it is.
Tony Hill
17 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:40:44
Colin (#9), that's normally what I would say but not after today. That game was the very essence of Everton and it's not going to change in the foreseeable future.

9 points off the leaders might as well be 19.

Trevor Lynes
18 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:44:35
If Lukaku does not score, we don't and that is the real reason we are not winning more games. Barkley and Kone are not scoring anywhere near enough goals. Barkley needs to add goals to his game if he is ever going to reach his supposed potential.The strange thing is that two far more regular scorers are sitting on the bench and they should have been brought on for Kone and Barkley at the hour. Unfortunately I rate Cleverley, Gibson and lennon as drones. Players who work hard but who neither create chances or score them. None of those three would be in any top six squad.These are unassailable facts and until our squad is improved with better quality we will continue as mid table level. Our coaches only produce defenders and all the new kids our manager has signed of late are also defenders. They will have a great sell on value but where are our goal scorers ??

The game of football is about goals scored and goals stopped. All the rest is incidental without goals. Lukaku is having a fine season but is on his own.We seem to be almost totally reliant on him scoring. The reason why Leicester are doing so well as they have other goal scorers than Vardy.

I am getting a bit fed up with us dominating games and coming out with a draw.

Terry Downes
19 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:46:59
Just how daft are some Everton fans? The season's over already!?! What a crock of shit some of you lot talk... there's over half a season left yet plus two cup competitions?
Get a frigging grip, will yer!!
Brian Porter
20 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:51:06
Martinez is obviously now madly in love with Kone. No way has he justified staying on the field in recent weeks. Mirallas or Naismith should've been tried or brought on sooner.

Martinez leaves his subs far too late to make a real difference to a game. By the time the player has settled in, the final whistle goes. Other teams use subs early, they come on, score goals, change games. Martinez seems to bring his subs on almost as an afterthought, simply replacing a tired player, like for like, no variety or change of tactics, no inspiration, nothing, and that sums the manager up in my eyes.

He's a big nothing, with delusions of grandeur, who thinks that just because he says we're challengers for the top 4, it's going to happen. He has a lot to learn about man management and team management; unless and until he does, I can't see us being anything more than a mid-table team with aspirations above our manager's station.

Mike Hayes
21 Posted 12/12/2015 at 16:58:17
There is no competition for places especially as Howard, Barry and Kone are guaranteed first names on the team sheet.

Robles played well 3 games on the trot and two cup games – benched. Galloway benched as soon as Baines comes back and Kone over Mirallas regardless of attitude of the latter.

Either sort it out, Martinez, or do one.

Andy Walker
22 Posted 12/12/2015 at 17:04:46
I don't know what planet this guy lives on but the idea we should have won today based on a first half performance is extreme complacency.

He thought it was over at half time did he? just like the 'complete performance' against Villa was a sign that his team had cracked it. Roberto the game is 90 mins long, if I were a Norwich fan I would be rueing the worst miss of the season by Jerome that should have won the game for Norwich, we were lucky not to lose in the end.

Was this Roberto's half-time talk? "Well, you've been superb, totally outplayed them, the complete performance, you're so much better than them, you have deserved to win."

OK, that obviously is an exaggeration but I reckon there's an element of truth in it. It would certainly explain the arrogance of the second-half displays against Bournemouth and today. I think Martinez is arrogant and passes this to his players which just breeds complacency.

Don't forget Sunderland either we gave up a 2-goal lead that day too, but fortunately we scored the next and Sunderland capitulated. We also should have been 2-down to Palace but a blatant pen wasn't given against Barry.

Always looking on the positive and ignoring the opposition's threat by playing so openly away from home in particular, shows a lack of respect for other teams and only damages us in the end.

Glen Garrett
23 Posted 12/12/2015 at 17:06:21
Martinez has got to start with Mirallas on the left wing to link up with Baines. God, why is he starting with Kone? Again? Everton have got the players to get into Europe but at this rate its looking like a mid-table finish again. Jesus, even Watford are doing better.

The pace of Mirallas and Baines down the left together would give more attacking options. Barkley in the middle ATTACKING. Deulofeu on the right with Naismith playing just behind Lukaku all ATTACKING AT ALL TIMES.

For some unknown reason, Everton are always falling asleep in the second half and letting the other side come at them. Got to chase the ball, get it and ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK!
Brian Wilkinson
24 Posted 12/12/2015 at 17:07:55
When you have a one on one finisher or a player who has a knack of scoring in front of goal sat on the bench, be interesting to know how many draws could have be turned into wins, had he had the balls to play Naismith.

Many have said average player, let him go, cash in, for me Naismith would have buried half the chances we have wasted over the past few weeks.

Not rocket science, Bobby, give Naismith a run out, and not on the wing.

Mark Daley
26 Posted 12/12/2015 at 17:37:22
Brian (#18) – bang on. Subs come on far too late and not used tactically. We have 6 (at least) who can play behind Rom so tactical substitution after 60 minutes would effectively give us a team of 14 players. But it will never happen under RM, who is technically known as a complete plonker.
Keith Harrison
27 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:03:47
No shit Sherlock.

A phenomenal insight.

How about defending corners, stop pissing about TOO MUCH with the ball at the back and shooting on sight instead of trying to walk it into the net.

Kone a left winger? Give us a break. All we are saying, is give Lennon a chance. Older readers will get that!

Jim Bennings
28 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:07:08
No shit Einstein!!

But when you look at the remaining fixtures in December:

A game against high flying free scoring Leicester (who are certain to test our defence let's be honest).

A tricky looking away jaunt to St James Park (we are usually shite around the festive period).

Then a teak tough test against a brilliantly organized Stoke defence then I can only see at best more frustrating draws at best, the way we defend, or should I say don't defend it really is difficult to see many wins.

January is a killer month with games against Tottenham (who we rarely ever beat).

Chelsea away, where we never win no matter how shit they are.

Manchester City three times who again, seem to have Martinez's number, at least since he's been Everton boss.

It was around this time last season when the season pretty much fell apart on us and you get feeling the next month will either make or break us yet again.

At the moment, the team is producing good-ish attacking play but we also look immensely fragile defensively. Teams just don't have to work hard to score goals against Everton anymore, as dominant as we were in the first half against a woeful Norwich team, in the second half we could easily have tossed away even the point we got!!

It's a massive test of Martinez's character and it's over the next month we will find out if he's actually learnt anything at all or he's just a rigidly stubborn fool and I for one, remain to be convinced he can get things right.

Jim Bennings
29 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:30:18
If you look at it really, since we beat Chelsea on September 12th, all we have won is three matches...

Against West Brom, Sunderland and a totally woeful Aston Villa, and in two of them we managed to make hard work of things, the Sunderland game could have finished 6-6.

It's hardly scintillating stuff really is it?

Bobby Thomas
30 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:45:45
We just ain't all that. We really aren't.

Wins are few & far between. And even when we win, for me, we're not that impressive... Sunderland, Boro.

This team better than this. It just is. I honestly don't know what the fuss has been about lately. As far as I can see, we battered two of the worst top flight teams ever to show up at Goodison Park... and that's it.

Barry Pearce
31 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:53:17
The problem is Martinez, pure and simple: he can't set a team up to defend, and is hopeless with substitutions. Also, too many favourites.
Dean Peamum
32 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:54:51
We have to turn draws into wins, our defensive vulnerability at set-pieces was punished. Poor use of substitutions, we played well for 45 minutes – I hear or read this every week... I've ended up thinking I'm in the movie Groundhog Day.

If I kept making the same mistakes at work every week, I'd be sacked. Just saying.

Ross Edwards
33 Posted 12/12/2015 at 18:57:29
Thank you for that, Captain Obvious.
Mohammed Horoub
34 Posted 12/12/2015 at 19:22:00
Really disappointing... Just like all our missed chances over the last few games, I really hope we don't look back at this group of players and wonder what could have been.

I believe in the saying that players win the first half and managers win the second. RM used 3 subs in every Premier League game in his first season. There's no doubting he has built this squad but he hasn't figured out how to use them.

I just saw a stat and I'm not sure if it's been quoted already but it sums up why we are mid-table: With a 1-goal lead this season, Everton have faced 12 shots on target. All 12 have gone in... Enough said!

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 12/12/2015 at 19:27:51
Mohammed

That stat probably is true, and I'd also like to see a table for goals conceded from setpieces or inside the six yard box, no doubt we are top of that too!!

Colin Glassar
36 Posted 12/12/2015 at 19:44:02
Can I just ask some of you if Kone has become the whipping boy again?

After missing two seasons through injury, he returned this summer to a collective (me included) groan. Slowly but surely he started making a few chances, scored a few goals and made a few assists and suddenly he was walking on water. "Oh, Kone is great, how we've missed him, his link up play with Lukaku is superb" etc.....

Now it's a case of "Drop him, he's a Martinez favourite, Mirallas is much better, Lennon is better than Kone" (That made me laugh) etc.....

Move over, Ossie, the Kone head has taken your place.

Andy Walker
37 Posted 12/12/2015 at 19:55:49
The reality of these bizarre statements from our manager is that nothing will change. As a consequence, we won't finish top 6, let alone top 4, and we will lose Rom, Stonesy, and A N Other before next season.
Jay Harris
38 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:02:19
Didn't someone promise Champions League?

Three seasons on and we still don't look any closer – despite a poor season from Chelsea and the RS.

Basic schoolboy football principles not even being followed.

Rick Tarleton
39 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:03:57
Mike Hayes is right: the three he mentioned (Howard, Barry and Kone) seem guaranteed a place. Robles deserves a run. Is Besic still out of action? And Naismith, while not as clever as Kone, adds more to the engine-room of the team.

We have had three draws which good teams would have won. Surely as a manager you tweak your team when this happens to produce a more competitive ethos?

Terence Tipler
40 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:06:18
Colin. As you state, Kone was missing for two years with injury. Then to play him, week-in & week-out, for the full 90 minutes without a break... for me, that has caused him to be playing with fatigue, especially late on in games.

I've lost count of the amount of people asking for Kone to be substituted in the second half of games, stating his legs have gone. This was particularly apparent during the second half against Bournemouth.

Not the player's fault by the way, just another example of poor game management by the coaching staff. He and Everton would benefit if he was given a well-earned break.

Jon Withey
41 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:11:03
Kone is okay, but he should be prepared to change things second half.
Minik Hansen
42 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:21:58
Since this continues successively to happen in the second halves, Martinez and our players will be in a different (focused) state in the very next half-time break. Mark my words.
James Stewart
43 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:25:53
Colin, Kone isn't a whipping boy – he's just a woeful player. Never good enough for us in the first place. He has been put through on goal three times in the last two matches and never looked like scoring in a million years.

It's getting embarrassing watching him, he looks knackered after 60 mins and offers no protection whatsoever. Hardly surprising considering he is NOT a left winger. Naismith, Cleverley, Besic and Mirallas are all simply better players.

A lot of people have a lot of time for Osman on here, myself included; misguided comparison.

Graham Morris
44 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:26:32
Martinez really is delusional and talks nonsense. "In terms of controlling our own destiny, the performance was really strong." How was that a strong performance?

And yes, we certainly controlled our own destiny by throwing two points away (again!!!)

Pathetic second-half performance from a mid-table team. They lack bottle, concentration, but above all, leadership. Most of them are not as good as they think – especially Barkley.

Alex Jones
45 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:31:12
We need to get rid of Martinez to improve but it won't happen. Our season is done now, what a disappointment.
Clive Rogers
46 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:41:08
To me the problems are:

The goalkeeper
Few goals from midfield
Kone not scoring regularly

Also, there is a big chunk of the squad who are rarely going to play, either because of injury or because they are not considered good enough: Pienaar, Hibbert, McGeady, Osman, Naismith, Gibson, Lennon, Robles, Mirallas... Nine players who are hardly going to figure is a massive chunk. Lennon in particular was a dreadful signing.

This situation must be rectified for next season.

David Connor
47 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:49:36
Well, well, well, Roberto. Firstly, it's blatantly obvious to everyone that we need to turn draws into wins... and secondly, it's not about football being cruel – it's about us not being able to defend set-pieces and corners to save our fucking lives.

Our defence coaches must be absolute amateurs. It's not as if they haven't had time to get their act together, is it? We will be lucky to finish top 6, based on our last three performances.

Yes, we have been good going forward for most of this season but we don't score enough goals for the amount of chances we create. That's a problem in itself because, at some point, we will have a dry spell and – if the defending is still shit – we won't even get draws. It's that simple: teams with shite defences rarely win things...

The one bright thing about our defence has been the performances of Funes Mori. He has been top drawer.

Today was almost a must-win game. Next week's game is... But, based on our last three outings, we will get jack shit from a really good Leicester City side. I will be there cheering the lads on but we may need 3 goals to win it...

Come on, lads... tighten up and let's get 3 points in the bag, for god's sake. Don't we suffer enough????

Darren Hind
48 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:50:44
After having the hardest start to any season since football began, I was really looking forward to West Ham, Bournemouth, Palace and Norwich gift-wrapping us the points.

I want to go back to playing the hard teams because these easy ones aren't half hard to beat.

Raymond Fox
49 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:54:24
Cheer up, chaps, it's not the end of the world. There's 22 league games left yet; wait till we knock 4 past Leicester and nil them next week!
Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 12/12/2015 at 20:59:01
Darren (#38),

Nicely framed piece of sarcasm but, until the supporters and, more importantly, the manager and team, realise that – whatever points Everton glean from any given fixture, they have to be earned and are not gift-wrapped for us to take home as a given – the better.

The league table never lies; at this moment in time, Everton are the 9th best team in the Premier League and, by this time tomorrow, probably the 10th best side... Wins are what matter in any league – if you don't win often enough, you ain't going to be in the hunt for anything other than mid-table or worse.

Dean Adams
51 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:05:12
Patrick, it's not where you are now – it's where you end up that matters. No point being the pacesetter in a race if it means you burn out long before the end....

Oh, hang on, that sounds like us in most of our matches!!

David Barks
52 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:07:52
Terrible use of the squad: never changing tactically to take advantage of opponents' weaknesses; doesn't use his subs to change the game; poor performers are not dropped from the team; horrific defending of set-pieces; always starts with two defensive midfielders regardless of opponents' attacking threat.

About halfway through the season and we're behind Watford, West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Ernie Baywood
53 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:18:08
I can't understand the criticism of Kone. I thought he was the only one to turn up for 90 minutes.

Great movement for his first chance and didn't do much wrong, keeper was just out quickly to smother the shot. Second chance he wasn't even played through – he chased down a defender, won the ball, but again the keeper was out and on top of him.

All day, he tracked back, caused problems in attack, and was one of the few who could control the ball on the soaked pitch.

I genuinely thought he was our best player. Which admittedly might be a bit like being the tallest midget.

When you see the "I'm only following the match on the live forum but..." types slating him then, yes, he's the whipping boy.

Colin Glassar
54 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:23:55
Good points, Ernie. I'm not Kone's biggest fan but the guy can play and he puts in a shift. I, personally, think he should've gone for a penalty but was too honest and pulled out.

The (or one of the) biggest disappointment for me was Deulofeu's 2nd-half show. After screaming like a big girl, he seemed to get upset by the booing. You need to man up, Gerri.

Kim Vivian
55 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:32:19
Let's not be too downbeat, chaps. We have undoubtedly dropped points that we shouldn't have, but every team always has their sob stories, this season more than most, in what is a very competitive league with real strength in depth.

As Colin (#9) rightly points out, only 9 points off 1st at this stage of the season is not a bad place to be. We have some real quality in our ranks and, for the most part, we are a very attractive and exciting team to watch.

What pleases me most is that the boys look like they are enjoying their football which is a refreshing change from last season. If we can bolster the squad in January and add a goalscorer to take the burden off Rom, we could end the season competing for top four, no question.

Man City and The Arse are top 2 for my money but the rest is up for grabs. A winnable semi-final to come and every chance of a good FA Cup run. I'll take that. COYB

Andy Walker
56 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:34:04
Well said, Colin, I also thought Delboy got rattled today. I was hoping at the time it would make him more determined to 'show them' but, as you point out, it seemed to have the opposite effect. Still he's young, but I wonder if Martinez has said anything to him about the histrionics?


Patrick Murphy
57 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:45:52
Somebody mentioned earlier that our record this season isn't too dissimilar to last season, I thought that can't be correct but it is scarily so.

The team had just beaten QPR at Goodison on 15 December 2015, when the crowd infamously gave out the cat-calls:

Pos 10th
Pld16
Won 5
Drawn 6
Lost 5
GF27
GA 24
GD3
Pts 21.

We are 2 points better off, having played some really good football this season, but the results haven't reflected our dominance of so many matches. I pray we have a better holiday period than we had last season.

Colin Glassar
58 Posted 12/12/2015 at 21:48:46
He needs to cut the theatrics out, Andy, like you said, but this kid reminds me of a young Ronaldo. Ronaldo used to pout and cry when he lost as well.

I think Gerri has got everything in his locker to be a truly phenomenal player. Phenomenal in the truest sense of the word, that is.

Ernie Baywood
60 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:19:13
I was embarrassed by his reaction to that hand in the face. The Norwich fans behind him weren't even having a go, they were embarrassed too.

I always supported the need to accept Deulofeu's mistakes if you want the game-changing elements, but he seems to massively run out of steam in second halves. Once you hit about 60 minutes, he's stopped tracking his man and is just waiting for a break.

He went to bits today and, aside from the assist and a couple of other runs, you'd be kind in describing his performance as poor.

John Daley
61 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:23:22
"Barkley needs to add goals to his game"

To be fair, he is amongst the ten top goalscorers in the league this season.

Eddie Dunn
62 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:28:35
Although Kone has tried, and played on the wing, when he gets half a chance, he just doesn't look like scoring. His lack of pace led to the goalie getting close enough to block him off. A Palace forward, for example, would have been onto the ball far quicker and then would have had more time to pick a spot or draw the penalty.

We are a shade better than last season, and thankfully have seen the back of Alcaraz, and hopefully McGeady. However, our lovely attacking play is very dependent on Geri, and his axis with Lukaku. Prior to Geri's appearances, we really were scraping the barrel and looked to Ross or Rom to do something special.

As soon as Geri was removed, we simply dried-up. Norwich got a few whacks on the lad and he went to jelly. Now everyone will do the same. I was thinking "Where is our enforcer, to protect him?"

It took Kone, of all people, to put a hit on their centre half, who had been dishing it out all game, and tried to push Mirallas into the crowd.

Will the team learn from today? They have done similar things regularly all season, and continue to lose their way.

We lack a bit of balance on the left, but mostly the fact that we didn't sign the elusive number ten in the summer is the big problem. Stoke got Shakiri, Palace got Cabaye, the Hammers got Payet. All these guys were on the radar, and any one of them would have enabled us to link things up in the middle. I wonder why we didn't get one?

The most frustrating thing is that we actually have looked good for 45 mins in so many games. I am left scratching my head, wondering how we can go from heroes to zeros with such regularity. It doesn't seem to matter which players he picks, so it is down to the manager. His whole possession-based plan comes off the rails as soon as the defence is pressed. No Plan B.

Colin Glassar
63 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:32:22
That's just symptomatic of a very young player Ernie. I think he started to lose heart after his passing started to go wonky and the crowd were getting on his case. Might be time to give him a breather for the next game and give Mirallas or Lennon a start.
Kieran Kinsella
64 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:42:26
For the Norwich goal, was Barkley supposed to be on the line by the post and basically caught napping before rushing to that spot and trying in vain to stop the goal? OR was Barkley just hanging around like everyone else since we don't practice corners and using his own initiative to try and plug a hole on the goal line?

I'm inclined to assume the latter. Here's the thing. We've scored no goals from set-pieces and we've conceded tons especially from corners. Surely they could spend a miserly hour at least coveting basics, eg, Have a man on the post etc. It just seems unbelievably arrogant to think we are the one team that's too good to worry about set-pieces. The facts don't back up the strategy.

Patrick Murphy
65 Posted 12/12/2015 at 22:46:36
Kieran (54),

According to the Echo's Phil Kirkbride:

"Everton have been working on defending set-pieces at Finch Farm, they knew it was something that needed addressing, but if the supporters had their way, it would be all the players do in training this week."

Jay Harris
66 Posted 12/12/2015 at 23:10:08
One simple and immediate answer to our poor defending of corners should be to put Lukaku in the box and leave Geri or Mirallas on the halfway line.

Apart from the two centre-halves (and Galloway), we have no-one of any size or weight who can head a ball.

Kieran Kinsella
67 Posted 12/12/2015 at 23:36:55
That's encouraging, Patrick. Shame it took 2½ years to have that realization.
Kieran Kinsella
68 Posted 12/12/2015 at 23:41:56
Colin, I agree on Delboy'ss scream. That was just embarrassing. No wonder the Canaries took to booing him.

I remember Fergie taking Ashley Young to task on his diving. Probably time for someone – maybe Dunc to have a word with Geri.

Matt Woods
69 Posted 12/12/2015 at 23:47:15
If I was Lukaku and was asked to defend corners, I would think... Jesus, do you want me to do everything!?!

What the fuck are defenders for? We have international defenders who are all decent footballers but struggle with the most basic of tasks... getting organised at corners. Obviously Martinez must take some responsibility, but these players have been defending corners their whole lives. Great footballer John Stones is... he can't attack the ball in the air.

I have never rated Howard, a huge monster who has no idea how to command the six-yard box and claim crosses. Mate, you jump and stick your hands up and you will be 10 feet off the ground... you are not playing against Michael Jordan, you knobhead. Sort it out!!!

Tony Farrell
70 Posted 12/12/2015 at 00:14:10
I would like to know what the hell the defensive coaching staff at Everton are doing? A team makes a mistake – you work on it and sort it! We make the same mistake, week-in & week-out; we are the most predictable side in the league.

The opposition managers must say they might score but they will definitely give you a goal... just force a corner or a set-piece freekick outside the box, get your centre-backs to run in at speed, and you will get a free header.

Howard is the main culprit: he dosen't instill any confidence in his defense with his stuck-on-the-line tactic So what are the coaches doing about this situation? Absolutely nothing because it happens week after week Norwich had two men at the back stick unmarked so obviously some of our defenders are ball-watching and we concede

Do what you're paid to do and sort this shit out, coaches. We are dropping too many points because of lack of professional leadership. I understand and appreciate these are professional players and it should come natural to defend a situation, but my beef is why is it happening every game? One-offs happen, but this is far from one-offs... Sort it!

Harold Matthews
71 Posted 13/12/2015 at 00:53:48
It wouldn't have been a corner if Stones had stopped the cross. It wouldn't have been a corner if Baines had cleared the cross with his right foot.

Their goal wouldn't have mattered if Lukaku and Kone had put away half their chances in the first half. That's where the three points were lost.

Christine Foster
72 Posted 13/12/2015 at 01:02:42
From Barcelona to Barnsley was pretty much apt, having just watched a good footballing display of dominance in a first half that, at the very least, we should have been three up, all I could think of was, here we go again.

Okay, where to start... The team is set up to attack, not defend, play great one-touch at pace, can play out from the back and create. Lovely. We have a keeper who does not command his box, we do not have a central defender, or anyone for that matter who makes a cross his, and attacks it.

We do NOT have a no-nonsense leader, bully, hard man, at the back. Jags is not the guy; Stones isn't... Shawcross is; Terry is. We need a guy that the young players get the praise, direction and rocket from on the pitch. We bottle it when the going gets tough, way too easily.

Tactically, we play down one flank. Deulofeu loses the ball more times than he gets a cross in; far too often he does not deliver, runs it out or looks amateurish. He has brilliance too but the inconsistency can be painful to watch.

Kone and Rom obviously like to play together but tactically we are unbalanced on one side. As a result, we have wingers sitting on a bench and a no nonsense striker who would have finished both those one on ones with the keeper today and almost certainly will be let go in Jan. it makes you weep.

Midfield? Gibson today played well, made quite a difference from the non-existent Barkley. We're missing McCarthy and Barry cannot do it all.

We need a few bits of steel in the velvet glove. A Peter Reid, a Kevin Ratcliffe and a Neville Southall... you get my drift? Three players you could build this present team around.

Patrick Murphy
73 Posted 13/12/2015 at 01:22:02
Christine (#61) I think wingers of Deulofeu's type have always been prone to be hit and miss but, as long as he produces at least one ball of the quality he put in for Lukaku's goal, I can live with it.

The unpalatable truth regarding Kone and Naismith is that they are both not really good enough for a team with ambitions of getting into Europe via the league. The same could be said about McGeady and Lennon although like Naismith he tries his best but isn't quite up to it.

Seeing as Roberto has said there will be little activity in the January window, this coming summer will be make or break for Everton FC and lord knows what team we will have in 12 months time given that so many of our young players are coveted by the rich clubs.

My major immediate worry is the lack of defensive cover, given we only had Galloway on the bench today as a recognised defender and nobody apart from Lukaku seems capable of putting the ball in the net on anything like a regular basis.

Two points better off than this time last year is pretty sobering and we appear too reliant on too few key players in order to get points on the board – strange state of affairs really and, as with so many things in the game of football, it defies logic.


Minik Hansen
74 Posted 13/12/2015 at 03:19:38
Kim (#46), talking about the January transfer window and getting a goalscorer reminds me that Martinez was after a real No 10. Maybe, just maybe he's got something under his sleeves in a month's time. Wishful thinking. Though our team is beginning to gel.
Peter Barry
75 Posted 13/12/2015 at 04:05:49
Same old same old and nothing will change until we get a keeper who can dominate his six-yard box and a manager that knows how to manage.
Harold Matthews
76 Posted 13/12/2015 at 05:30:10
It was not about a manager, a keeper, or a No 10. It was about players who couldn't convert half-a-dozen clear-cut chances in the first half.
Peter McHugh
77 Posted 13/12/2015 at 06:36:50
Lukaku missed a sitter today and then three chances which I would expect him to score. Not having a go at him, just one of those things. That and Baines unluckily hitting the post is why we lost. Kone's and Barry's efforts were simply good goalkeeping.
Craig Fletcher
78 Posted 13/12/2015 at 06:40:43
Nail on the head, Harold.

As frustrating as conceding from a corner (again) was, we should have been out of sight by halftime.

I counted three guilt-edged chances that Lukaku missed; Kone had two one-on-one opportunities with the keeper (the second one admittedly was tough), Baines struck the upright (unlucky to be fair), and poor control / taking the wrong option let Deulofeu down on a couple of occasions.

Now that I've had time to simmer down though after that result I can see another result akin to Villa/Sunderland coming in the next 2-3 games; if we play a 45 minutes like that over 90 minutes. Therein is the issue (and immense frustration!!!) – consistency. This team is sublime when it wants to be, they just need to focus for the full 90.

Chris James
79 Posted 13/12/2015 at 07:41:38
In an alternate universe where we can actually turn our dominance into the victories we merited vs Bournemouth, Norwich and Palace... we're currently sat in 4th place, 4 points off the leaders.

This season we've been given a massive opportunity by the sheer averageness and inconsistency of the top sides. Leicester, Watford, Palace and Spurs are seizing on that opportunity – but in the last three games we've totally blown it.

The real question is, of course... Why? Whilst our ability to defend corners is a notable issue that Robbie has to take responsibility for (both in evident lack of preparation and in goalkeeper choice – much as I actually like Howard, his inability to come and claim is now a clear millstone), I don't think the answer can all be down to Martinez. In the first-half he didn't instruct the team to miss a hatful of chances and I just don't believe he instructs them to sit back and capitulate at the start of the second.

We have the talent clearly to score goals and win games, the problem is now a psychological one – for me we're lacking a vital bit of leadership/winning spirit/killer instinct out on the pitch, that extra bit of competitiveness or nasty streak required to give the extra %.

You'd hope Barry would provide that, but it doesn't seem to be the case, Baines though experienced isn't a leader and the rest of the team are too fresh faced or nice really.

It's not just us to be fair: Man Utd had these players in Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Neville, Butt, etc and you'd have thought that Schweinsteiger was brought in to provide that but it hasn't worked out.

Chelsea had them in Terry, Matic, Costa and Fabregas (although they seem to have lost their way there too).

So who is it? In our squad, I think the likes of Besic and in a different way Jagielka and maybe Naismith are probably the closest we have – fighters or leaders.

I was quite surprised Naismith wasn't given a run-out to be honest, especially considering the need for something different and scrappier late on. Otherwise it demands a delve into the transfer window.

Oh and on the subject of substitutions, I think its relatively instructive that Mirallas (who we were all clamouring for) did pretty much nothing of note in the 22 minutes or so he was on the pitch and nor did taking Barkley off for Gibson produce any notable improvement with 15 mins to go.

This isn't to say that Martinez ability to influence the game with subs and tactical changes isn't weak, but rather that I'm not sure what else any armchair manager would've done in this situation (apart from maybe Kone to Naismith on c 70).

Ernie Baywood
80 Posted 13/12/2015 at 08:42:17
Is focus the issue? Forget about the corners we're conceding for a second – they're more symptom than cause.

Why are we chalk and cheese when we are ahead at halftime? Obviously the opposition has a chance to regroup but that's too simple an explanation too. Would it really happen every time?

Second half we see a totally different performance. Deulofeu stops tracking his man and plays spare, ready for the break. We stand stop pressing the opposition; inviting them at us. Fitness or strategy?

Peter McHugh
81 Posted 13/12/2015 at 09:00:00
Season's over... despite being in semifinals of the Capital One Cup and 6 points off 4th?

Behave.

Bobby Thomas
82 Posted 13/12/2015 at 09:21:19
I don't think it's just about the missed chances.

We are soft and mentally weak. A home side, still firmly in the game at 0 - 1 are going to have a spell on top at some stage. I had little expectation we'd survive it. We have a soft center, mentally, physically and defensively.

Part of it is the emphasis of the management & coaching staff. Look at the goal, static, ball watching , nobody attacking the ball. The mentality isn't there.

Now I don't expect Moyes like resilience as this is a completely different way of doing things. But the basics have got to be in place.

Part of the problem for me is that we just have to accept Stones growing pains. He's going to be leaving anyway, but as a center back defensively he has some growing up to do. Part of me thinks it would do him a favour to get away from Martinez & his coaching staff as from a defensive standpoint he will remain a boy under them.

Thirdly, we are just a very poor side without the ball. From open play we cannot defend the box, don't stop crosses, don't pick up men & give up too many chances in general. People go on about Howard, rightly, but its not like we protect him, he faces more shots than anyone. We invite people to have a go at out diminishing keeper!!

As much as being potent and having goal threat makes you believe, you also get the feeling the wheels could come off. This riskier, more attack minded but hit & miss approach may bring a cup but we aren't doing anything in the league as over the course of a season the holes in the approach are exposed.

Tim Kells
83 Posted 13/12/2015 at 09:51:31
Some good posts and I think we're all feeling the frustration. For me it's a combination of factors:

Howard – it is was it is but he will never change and dominate the 6-yard box. So that hardly eludes confidence to the rest of the defence.

Stones – A beautifully cultured player who is still young. But I'm struggling to remember him attacking a ball and winning many headers in our 6-yard box from corners etc. No doubt this comes with more age / experience.

Funes Mori – Pleasing on the eye and has settled well but neither him or Stones is the leader of the centre of defence. Consequently, you have situations like yesterday where they leave it to one another when the ball is in the middle of them.

Baines – in the side because of his attacking threat. Specifically the early diagonal ball to Lukaku. But stopping crosses has been a weakness for a while and at the moment he doesn't understandably look match fit, therefore is being done for pace and no doubt we'll see more crosses from that side.

Crosses / Corners – our Achilles Heel and other teams know this and are probably practising more before they play us! So hence we're seeing very similar balls being played in and very similar goals being conceded. Possibly the situation won't change until we have Jags back.

Just my thoughts boys and as I say all very frustrating.

Tony Hill
84 Posted 13/12/2015 at 09:53:58
Bobby, I agree with what you say about mental strength. It is true, of course, that we should have won the match at half-time but there is an overall tentativeness about our play and attitude which prevents us from converting dominance into points.

It has been an Everton characteristic for a very long time and we need a hard-edged winning manager to change it. Martinez won't do it and such people are rare of course. I'd be keeping an eye on that chap at Bournemouth though.

Kunal Desai
85 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:08:53
Eddie reminds me a little of Moyes characteristics as manager but with more flare and imagination. I could see him being a mix of both Moyes defensively and Martinez offensively. He's done wonders at Bournemouth. Would love to see him manage Everton sadly I think when the time is right he'll get a bigger club than Everton to manage.
Paul Jeronovich
86 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:48:54
Our caving in is down to not being able to switch the style of play. We should have an intensity for 90 minutes, no excuses. Play the possession football but, if this is not working, have the balls to switch and play with more width.

Much too narrow with Kone out wide. This needed Mirallas and Lennon to hug the touchlines and give Norwich's fullbacks less space. Martinez is a stubborn fucker.

Bobby Thomas
87 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:48:58
Tim (#71),

I think Baines has regressed defensively under this management team and therefore as a player. Same goes for Seamus Coleman actually.

Andrew Clare
88 Posted 13/12/2015 at 10:57:46
A big personality, a leader, is what this team needs. A player who motivates, goads, cajoles, argues... a real driving force.

In the past, most clubs had this type of player. Do they exist now? Look at the other clubs. Who are their leaders?

Paul Andrews
89 Posted 13/12/2015 at 11:42:03
The special one this morning:

"When a team plays badly, it is because of the manager.
"When a team plays well, it is because of the players."

Stewart Lowe
90 Posted 13/12/2015 at 13:43:57
I came on here yesterday and said that Martinez has to cut out all this rubbish he spouts off of press conferences as it's worn very thin and fewer people are believing it these days. I stated that I hated the terms "phenomenal", "Unique talent", "Remarkable", "Special talent", "Exceptional"...

Then, lo and behold, we draw this game and the very next post match interview he states "phenomenal" twice. Stop trying to have us believe we are Barcelona.

Geoff Williams
91 Posted 13/12/2015 at 16:59:19
If Kone is to play, then it should be as striker alongside Lukaku, or at least within spitting distance. He should not be played out wide as there are better players at the club to do that.

Through the middle, his link up play with Lukaku is good but he is not a natural goalscorer. I suspect Naismith would have taken the two chances Kone had yesterday.

Andy Crooks
92 Posted 13/12/2015 at 17:58:24
Harold # 70, I accept that you are right about this game. However, we, time after time in the reign of Martinez, cannot beat sides that we are better than. Surely you can accept that there is a frail mentality about this group that comes from the coach, a lack of resolve, steel,bottle.; a smug niceness that winners do not have.

However many chances were missed, and I agree the game should have been killed by half time, we came out in the second half and were utterly woeful. Yes, Norwich improved but we looked like a different side.It happens too often.

Ian Riley
93 Posted 13/12/2015 at 21:59:56
This season could be the "what could have been." The past three games should have merited nine points. Three points means nothing, unbeaten well I would have took two wins and a loss! However, all today's games went in our favour!

The manager must balance the ship. Sadly he cannot be blamed for defensive errors and not taking chances. Sadly we seam to lack leadership on the pitch.who is taking the lead, shouting at players to concentrate, and mark their man. A team of youngsters need on going instructions as they will lose concentration from time to time.

Unless we take our chances or tighten up, mid table is coming. This summer we may lose our key players to champions league clubs. The squad we have should be top six at least. The manager must act now or he may miss a big opportunity.

John Wilson
94 Posted 14/12/2015 at 00:50:32
No kidding, RM?

If we had not dropped the points from the last three games we were winning we could have stood 3rd in the Premier League today!

Stop playing favorites!

Make everyone work for their money.

You have a bench to be proud of-use it! What's wrong with Naismith, Besic, Pienaar, Osman, Lennon?

Barkley, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Kone, Funes Mori, could have been dropped and made to work for living if you had the balls to manage the bench to make it compete.


Anthony Dwyer
95 Posted 14/12/2015 at 01:06:51
I've read through a few comments, 86 is to many for me!

My thoughts are we have hit the ceiling with Martinez. In his first season, we had a solid defence in place and a keeper who was decent; with this we gained some momentum and had a decent run at it.

Season Two we went backwards, mainly down to Martinez being far too stubborn when big decisions needed making. Howard had major issues which Martinez did not address. Alcaraz was used instead of Distin, costing us some vital points. Barkley was used out of position. Eto'o was wasted.

Many other issues... in fact, only a decent run in Europe stopped all hell breaking loose. You all watch us, you'd all know what sort of things went wrong.

This season, we all look decent at times, but the biggest problem we have is how obvious our attack is, and how vulnerable our defence is when trying and failing to defend set pieces. Three games in a row, we have to watch the same issues we had in game one at home to Watford.

We lead comfortably against Bournemouth, Palace and most recently against Norwich only to blow all three games on set-pieces and piss-poor defending. Surely to god a manager of any standing can work on defending set pieces and can drill a team on the art of lasting 90 minutes instead of 45?

This may sound harsh but, for me, Martinez can't push us on, he needs replacing by a man who can see how games are going and act before the shit hits the fan.

Any fan could see how the Bournemouth game was going 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Any fan could see against Palace that we couldn't find a way through. We had a bench full of game changers and Martinez ignored them all. Against Norwich every blue knew what was destined to happen once we only took a single goal lead into the 2nd half.

WHY COULDN'T MARTINEZ SEE THIS?

My answer is that Martinez is not good enough to manage a top Premier League team.

Harold Matthews
96 Posted 14/12/2015 at 03:56:30
Sorry, Andy... We certainly weren't woeful after the break. In fact, we played some pretty good stuff. Unfortunately, as you indicate, we do not perform like a squad desperately determined to win every game. Two or three times, I watched big individuals shy away from 50/50 balls. Spirit, desire and passion seem to be missing but I'm sure much of it is to do with trying to get things right.

Watching Barkley trying to cope with the new left midfield role was quite painful. After a couple of fine games where he got into the box, he now had to operate like a left-side McCarthy. With a head full of instructions, his passion and mobility were severely dented.

Apart from Deulofeu, Naismith and, to a lesser extent, Mirallas and Coleman, our squad is made up of fairly quiet individuals who are never likely to rock the boat. Okay, three of the four lads mentioned were signed by Moyes but it's hard to imagine the Martinez boys and the rest of the group not having the mentality to win things.

Our boss is impossible to understand and I could sometimes hammer him day and night. His interviews rattle my brain but I would never say he had a frail mentality. This guy is tough and ruthless with the tunnel vision of a man on a mission. He'll make mistakes like the 2nd half at Bournemouth but he misses nothing as he learns what certain players can do or cannot do.

Norwich was our 4th game in 14 days. Not many people realize that. City have probably had more but their squad strength and a big deflection got them through.

In truth, I have no idea what goes on in the head of RM but, if I stick to the belief that he is gradually putting a good squad together, it makes me feel better.

Darren Bailey
97 Posted 14/12/2015 at 09:45:26
Anthony (#90),

I agree totally. I said at the end of last season that the only reason Martinez's first season was so good was because the team still had the Moyes defensive mentality in it. Add that to the nice free flowing attacking football that (no question) Martinez has brought to the club and we had a very good balance. Players were playing with the confidence that Martinez had brought and everything gelled.

Our problem at the end of that season was that teams had sussed us out, we struggled to pick up points and lost our way chasing Arsenal for 4th which was well within our grasp at the time. This was down to Martinez not adjusting to the situation. At that point I felt that the following season was going to be a struggle – and it was. This was down to what Anthony has stated above.

We lost the defensive solidity that had been drummed into us and I'm not saying that I'd prefer Moyes to Martinez but you have to give credit where credit's due. Moyes would not have let 6 points go down the drain the past few games but then again we wouldn't be playing the free flowing football we are at the moment. Martinez is good at some things and completely woeful at most other things so what we need is a mix of them both.

Anthony, I also don't think Martinez can take us to the next level but I'm not sure who can with the underlying problems we have at the club. Our past two managers have been very good at opposite ends of the pitch – is there someone out there who can do both?

I am getting very fed up with Martinez. Corners (both ends), favouritism, slack defending, substitutions, no Plan B, players playing out of position, Kone playing 90 minutes, Howard! And if I hear "fluidity" or "phenomenal" once more, I'm going to fluidly stick a phenomenal fork in my eye.

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