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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2 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:20:30
3 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:20:53
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!!!
4 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:31:13
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.
6 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:34:04
Something he was doing with a high degree of success 2 years ago which no longer seems to happen.
7 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:36:11
It's a semi-final, so we should be looking forward to it... so why am I so worried?
8 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:46:13
9 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:52:17
10 Posted 04/01/2016 at 22:59:33
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.
11 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:03:03
12 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:12:32
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.
13 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:22:18
What I'd give for 4 or 5 back to back 1-0 wins...
14 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:24:45
As Gerard said, the time to talk of us tightening up at the back would be after a string of good defensive outings.
15 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:38:42
16 Posted 04/01/2016 at 23:47:48
18 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:03:43
19 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:22:43
There's a pattern emerging... a pattern to his bullshit.
20 Posted 05/01/2016 at 00:38:32
21 Posted 05/01/2016 at 01:01:27
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!
22 Posted 05/01/2016 at 01:35:52
It just makes him look foolish.
24 Posted 05/01/2016 at 04:30:04
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.
25 Posted 05/01/2016 at 06:50:24
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.
26 Posted 05/01/2016 at 06:58:19
27 Posted 05/01/2016 at 07:11:02
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 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I mean that in the true meaning of the word Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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.
28 Posted 05/01/2016 at 07:31:24
29 Posted 05/01/2016 at 08:57:07
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.
30 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:50:26
31 Posted 05/01/2016 at 09:57:06
32 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:33:40
33 Posted 05/01/2016 at 10:41:40
34 Posted 05/01/2016 at 11:30:18
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.
35 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:16:05
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.
36 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:17:50
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...
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!!!
38 Posted 05/01/2016 at 12:49:57
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.
39 Posted 05/01/2016 at 14:19:08
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!
40 Posted 05/01/2016 at 21:28:27
41 Posted 05/01/2016 at 22:43:30
43 Posted 06/01/2016 at 09:32:01
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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