Martinez hails defensive improvement

by | 04/01/2016  38 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roberto Martinez highlighted the defensive aspect of his Everton side's performance after yesterday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham where he had demonstrably tried to shore up his leaky back line after conceding seven goals in the previous two home matches.

The Blues still conceded a soft goal in first-half stoppage time, once again exhibiting frailty in the closing stages of the half, which cancelled out Aaron Lennon's superbly-taken opener, but the manager was pleased with the way his men set about their task, even during the first half when they were largely outplayed by Mauricio Pochettino's impressive outfit.

Martinez felt that, overall, Everton's display showed that his side are ready to be more cohesive and resilient at the back as they look to improve what is one of the worst defensive records of any team in the top 13 in the Premier League at the moment.

"We've been conceding goals cheaply at home and it's something we had to rectify," he said in his post-match press conference. "It's not normal [for] us to have such a different record away from home from the one we've got at home so eight goals conceded away and 20 conceded at Goodison with the same players, the same style and the same way of playing clearly is something to rectify.

"I thought we had that in our minds. We wanted to defend with intensity and we defended really, really well. I know that we gave the ball [to Spurs] a little much but we stopped the main players from getting on the ball. I don't think Lamela, Eriksen or Harry Kane had much in that. Kane had a shot from distance that hit the post; a corner where Ben Davies hit the crossbar but apart from that for the first 45 minutes we were the team that when we were on the ball we looked dangerous.

"We scored a good goal from it, we were unfortunate with a couple of [passing] decisions and then we received an immense blow to concede in injury time that would have hurt anyone's confidence. And I think it was an incredible test of character to just react in the second half [where we were] more like ourselves. That probably shows the strength that we have in our squad that we can make changes like the ones we did; that we can change the shape, we can change tactically but we have the personnel who can really change the game.

"I felt that we kept the defensive intensity that we had in the first half but we got on the ball a little bit more and we got in better positions and probably [for] the last half an hour were just one decision or one touch away from getting the winning goal. That's pleasing because we had to defend better at home. I don't think it's been good enough and it's cost us a lot of points. Clearly you cannot concede soft goals and I think today the performance showed that we are ready as a team to be stronger defensively."


Reader Comments (38)

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Gerard Carey
2 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:20:30
"Gobbledegook"!!! – our Roberto should look up the meaning of that word. If, after the next six games, we have kept six clean sheets, then the team have learned something about defending.
John Malone
3 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:20:53
He wants to get his head out of idealistic dream world arse and recognise the fact that if we don't have the ball everyone has to get back in position and defend not just Barry and McCarthy!

Every time Tottenham lost the ball, every player ran back into position on both sides of the pitch!

Attack as a team! Defend as a team, Roberto!!!

Joseph Murphy
4 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:31:13
Did he not see Spurs hit the bar and the post before scoring? The time to say our defence has improved is after several improved defensive performances, not a 1-1 draw.

He said we'd learned after the Bournemouth draw, when we saw out the Middlesbrough Capital One game only for us to draw then lose the next few games (excluding Newcastle), then we topped off this 'learning' with the Stoke game.

One thing is for sure: if we do improve defensively, it won't be due to anything he does. He'll continue to have us close down to 8 feet away from the ball and then stop not putting any more pressure on the ball.
Pete Cumberlidge
6 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:34:04
One thing positive was that he made some decent substitutions (substitution intensity?) at the right time which changed the game.

Something he was doing with a high degree of success 2 years ago which no longer seems to happen.
Liam Reilly
7 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:36:11
We'll see if any lessons have been learnt after Aguero and Co leave Goodison on Wednesday evening.

It's a semi-final, so we should be looking forward to it... so why am I so worried?

Doug Harris
8 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:46:13
Watching Arsenal the other week they had 9 defenders plus a Goalkeeper when defending ... seconds later 6 attackers within yards of the opponents penalty area. So the same should apply to us if we want to something.. like win a game.
Dennis Stevens
9 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:52:17
If he doesn't get this group working effectively he will see the better players leaving for pastures new so he needs to get a grip now, while there's still time to salvage the season.
David Hallwood
10 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:59:33
Roberto, we could've been 2 down after 15 mins, FFS... just like we could've been 2 down against Sunderland after 15 minutes. Still no clean sheet (albeit with a quality goal) and of course no home win since Villa.

Lessons learnt? Sorry, I didn't see a change in footballing philosophy, our left side was wide open, until he made truly game changing substitutions.

Will we see more of Besic? From what we've seen from Martinez, he has a favoured system and players so I think he will change the team for the two cups. And here's hoping he'll rest Lukaku against Dag & Red. But I'd be willing to put money on the team that started the game yesterday will be the team for the next league game, injuries permitted.

John Austin
11 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:03:03
My thoughts exactly Liam @ 5. He said we had learnt the lesson after the clean sheet at Newcastle and then along came Stoke...
Jay Harris
12 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:12:32
I have had enough of his inane ramblings. The man talks out of his arse.

As Gerard said, if we get a few clean sheets in the next six games, then make a comment.

At this point in time, I am not even confident of keeping a clean sheet against Dagenham.

That's the Roberto effect.

Kase Chow
13 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:22:18
Actions speak louder than words

What I'd give for 4 or 5 back to back 1-0 wins...

Eddie Dunn
14 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:24:45
There are simply too many of these press conferences, the manager is obligated to do them, and it would be better to not hear him talk, as most of it doesn't make sense... and the rest, you can take with a pinch of salt.

As Gerard said, the time to talk of us tightening up at the back would be after a string of good defensive outings.
Clive Lewis
15 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:38:42
This worries me; the guy only talks about attacking he is clearly out of his depth with half a philosophy, this is just another false dawn. I fully expect to see the same old naivety against Man City on Wednesday.
Don Alexander
16 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:47:48
Martinez has swallowed the "1984" novel in its entirety! Utter shite every time he opens his mouth. He'd be an embarrassment to any club, let alone the one with our NSNO ("Only The Best Is Good Enough") motto.
Reg Gates
18 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:03:43
So it's 6 wins in the last 20 games and we are learning! Slow learner, our Roberto. I just want him out.
Winston Williamson
19 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:22:43
So that's a shed-load going against us in the Man City game!

There's a pattern emerging... a pattern to his bullshit.

Gordon Crawford
20 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:38:32
I just think he likes to hear the sound of his own voice. Too many sound bites from Roberto. The saying goes "your as good as your last game"; we were okay in our last game.

Bob Parrington
21 Posted 05/01/2016 at 01:01:27
Should we be worried about this, Lyndon? Was he watching the same game as me? Y'know, the one that Tottenham could have easily won 4 or 5 to 1 if the luck had gone with them. The game in which they ripped through our defence time and time again?

I'm worried because I don't think that the return of Jags will make such a large difference.

On the other hand, I thought Besic was tremendous throughout the time he was on the pitch. Refreshing!

Ian Linn
22 Posted 05/01/2016 at 01:35:52
The usual tripe trotted out, Roberto would be better off saying nothing rather than the meaningless platitudes metered out on a regular basis.

It just makes him look foolish.

Anto Byrne
24 Posted 05/01/2016 at 04:30:04
Besic's volley was on target and the keeper made a terrific save, when Lennon scored he was at full stretch. Lloris is tall and athletic and commands his box, it was an all round professional performance.

At the other end, our flapper was nowhere near the shots that hit the posts and that is probably down to reaction time and positioning and indecision. The punt up the field that beat our static defenders also had our flapper nowhere near the ball as that thru ball really had the keeper's name on it and, as per usual, it ends up in the net.

Sometimes as a keeper you stay on your line and rely on your defender to put pressure on the forward but you still have to get your angles right. If you're 6 yards out, you may as well not be there unless you're on top of the forward smothering the shot. At least if I hang back, I can observe the play, hope my defender is going to get his foot in; failing that, I have a bit more space and can try and anticipate where the shot may go.

The really great keepers made it look so easy. Pat Jennings, Joe Corrigan, Seaman, Shilton, Bonetti, Schmeichel, all made it look so easy. Being able to read the game and think ahead of the forward coming in. Hmmm... he's left footed going out wide to the right; it's going to be near post for sure. The winger always plays it high into the middle so I'm thinking about it and not reacting.

Howard is a reactionary keeper, great at stopping shots at the World Cup but never proactive. Keepers need to know their enemy – their strengths and weaknesses – so they stand half a chance. I wonder if Howard would know who the penalty taker is going to be and, if so, does he have a preference where he wants to put it? Let's at least have a 20% chance of stopping it.
Helen Mallon
25 Posted 05/01/2016 at 06:50:24
Is there no one who can challenge him at the press conference? He really is delusional. I just want someone to take him to task in front of the cameras.

We have a terrible defensive record and we had a terrible defensive record before Jags was injured so him coming back won't make much difference.
Harold Matthews
26 Posted 05/01/2016 at 06:58:19
Yes Bob, I tend to be with you but Martinez would ask, "If Spurs ripped through us time and time again, how come Tim had nothing to do?"
Lyndon Lloyd
27 Posted 05/01/2016 at 07:11:02
Bob (18): "Should we be worried about this, Lyndon? Was he watching the same game as me?"

I actually am concerned, Bob. For him to say that "for the first 45 minutes we were the team that when we were on the ball we looked dangerous" flies in the face of what actually transpired on Sunday.

We literally – and I mean that in the true meaning of the word – did not have the ball in Tottenham's area (or even close to it) until we scored in the 22nd minute.

Apart from that, I think Kone had one shot blocked and there were a couple of counter-attack opportunities that were wasted shortly before half-time but we were barely in the game as an attacking force in the first half.

As a tactic to get us to half time level or ahead so we could move things up a gear in the second half, it almost worked to perfection... but to say that Everton were the team that looked dangerous before the break is pure fantasy.

Harold (#21), were he to say that it would be a response to a different question but, nevertheless, when the ball hits the woodwork, the 'keeper often has little to do with it and an inch or two in the wrong direction on both shots would have seen Howard picking the ball out of the back of the net. Fine margins in that first half.

James Marshall
28 Posted 05/01/2016 at 07:31:24
Considering we lost 3-2 and 4-3 in our last two home games, he has a valid point when drawing 1-1. Spurs only had 4 shots on target out of 17 attempts.
Barry Pearce
29 Posted 05/01/2016 at 08:57:07
Another load of rubbish, we looked the more dangerous when we attacked in the first half.

I just hope Besic gets more game time, he's got grit, skill, and pace. He deserves a run in the side. Unlike Howard, who needs to be put out to pasture.

Geoff Williams
30 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:50:26
Oh he does talk rubbish. Always has. Talks a lot but doesn't actually say anything meaningful.
James Potter
31 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:57:06
Not forgetting, Lyndon, that Spurs also hit the woodwork twice in the first half.... Bobby seems to see completely different things happening to the rest of us!
David Harrison
32 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:33:40
Utterly delusional. Clean sheets are the currency required Roberto. We shouldn't have to score 3 goals every week to get a point or three
Chris Gould
33 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:41:40
In fairness to Bobby, the 2 shots that hit the woodwork were well hit speculative efforts. Not too much wrong with the defending which led to the shots. Apart from the goal, Tim barely had a shot to save. I think we have to accept that that is a defensive improvement.
Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:30:18
I thought we tightened up defensively after we scored, even if their goal exposed what is totally wrong with the back five. Stones thinks it's over my head so it should be the keepers? Coleman doing what our fullbacks have been doing for ages, getting caught on the wrong side, and a goalkeeper not anticipating that the 18-yard box belongs to him. Saying that if Everton would have scored such a goal, we all would have been delighted with the quality that young Alli showed.

Only felt we were really set up to defend from the front once Cleverley went and played on the left, but even then Spurs were still able to find little pockets between our defence and midfield.

The thing that worries me most is a manager that is showing all the experience of a novice. He said after (Newcastle (one game) that lessons had been learned and now he's at it again? Why can't he just concentrate on working on these deficiencies at Finch Farm, and stop trying to kid us with his bollocks?

Only time will tell if we are actually starting to get things right. I actually think he's an intelligent man so to say things like we showed we have the squad to change our shape and to change our tactics is a really stupid thing to say. Quite simply because he's getting both these things badly wrong at the minute.

Ernie Baywood
35 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:16:05
If you put the best back 5 in the world in our side they would concede goals.

We put players in positions where they are one on one against good players with space in behind them. It would be a 'phenomenal' performance to only concede once or twice in those circumstances.

There are plenty ways to change this. My concern is that the only strategy I see is Bobby's attempt to one day have 100% possession.

James Potter
36 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:17:50
Agree to some extent, Chris, it's more Bobby's view that we were the more dangerous team in the first 45 mins.... I just can't agree with that since we were stuck in our own half until we scored! Speculative or not, hitting the woodwork is as close as you can get, so I'd say they were more dangerous than us!

Defensively yes, we only conceded one, which is obviously a vast improvement, but I'd like that to be measured over more games than just one...

Tony J Williams
37 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:44:31

I thought only our fans (me included) were knee jerk reactionists...

One game where we don't concede a shedload and we have learned our lessons...... until next time!

One deluded Bobby fan in work reckons that Howard had the Kane shot covered!!!

Chris Gould
38 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:49:57
James, I think Bobby accepts that Spurs had the majority of the ball in the first half, but that we nullified most threats pretty well. Yes, they hit the woodwork twice, but that was from 2 very well hit shots as opposed to poor defending. With all of their possession they never penetrated our back line or troubled Tim, apart from the goal right at the very end of the half.

I guess he is suggesting that we looked more threatening during our rare attacks than they did during their many. The fact that we only ventured into the final third about three times is clearly not something he wishes to focus on.

In total fairness to Martinez, he doesn't actually say we were better in the first half. He says that when we had the ball we were more threatening, while accepting that we allowed Spurs to have too much possession. It's just his habit of putting a positive spin on things as opposed to being completely deluded.

The fact that Spurs had so much possession left us all very uneasy as we all felt it would lead to chances and goals. In actual fact, it didn't lead to many chances at all. You wouldn't normally count speculative 20 yard shots as chances. They were just incredibly well hit shots that on other days would have flown over the bar.

He isn't talking total nonsense, although it's very easy to read it as such.

James Potter
39 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:19:08
Fair points Chris, I guess I'm just used to him spouting nonsensical drivel most of the time! We'll see over the next few crucial games, I suppose they are all crucial from here on if we have any aspirations at all, whether any lessons have been learned defensively and how many we concede.

We haven't been defending as a team, but this was much better against Spurs. I actually think lennon gets back and defends very well when we concede possession – which was often against them!
Geoff Evans
40 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:28:27
Gerard @1: This first thread leaves nothing more to be said, says it all, spot on.
Bobby Thomas
41 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:43:30
What defensive improvement?
Anto Byrne
43 Posted 06/01/2016 at 09:32:01
After 20-odd games we have conceded the third highest in the division. Under Moyes we were pretty tight and although we didn't concede we couldn't score either.

Moysie with 20 minutes to go would have being saying Ill take a point. Unfortunately the solid defensive qualities we had with Moyes have evaporated. Yes it would piss me off no end having everyone back for every corner and the Keeper would lump it as far down the ground as he could hoping we would win a header and our very lonely centre forward would somehow fashion a goal.

Our football has evolved and we are a very attractive team to watch but should we have forsaken the defensive foundations built by Moyes for a top six finish every year for what we have now at team mid table and not looking overly confident when the other team has the ball. It was Brian Clough who in his wisdom said goals win matches and can be scored in a second. Imagine us having 80% possession but only needing 20% to win and score the goals we needed.

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