Sam Allardyce says that his top priority since being appointed as Everton's new manager has been to tighten up what was, briefly, the leakiest defence in the Premier League.
Speaking to Jim White on Talksport, the 63-year-old said that, "things are moving in the right direction" at the club now that the team has been stabilised in the wake of Ronald Koeman's sacking and David Unsworth's difficult stint as caretaker boss.
Since beating West Ham 4-0 in Unsworth's last game in charge, Everton have kept three clean sheets in four games, culminating in last night's 1-0 victory win at Newcastle.
Asked about his start to life at Goodison, Allardyce, who has admitted he is baffled as to why the defence he has inherited was so porous before, said: “Things are moving in the right direction after what was a very disappointing run for Ronald, which ended up losing him his job.
“In the end, I've helped the players to organise themselves to stop the goals going in — that's all I've done.
“The rest of the football in possession I've left to them, I've left it to them to get on with their qualities to try and create goals.
“I've just given them the solid base to build from. I said to them - ‘Get a clean sheet. It's a big, big problem at the club at the moment and if you just do that first, you will get results and confidence will grow' — and that's exactly what's happened.
“I'd say that we're not playing at our best yet, but when confidence is growing the football should hopefully become more fluent and we'll become a more attacking and adventurous side when that confidence grows.”
Quotes sourced from TalkSport
Reader Comments (54)
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1 Posted 14/12/2017 at 16:37:17
Id love to see what he could do with a fully fit squad and some new additions. Three signings plus returning players would give him a great headache. I imagine we could do with shipping a couple out as we have quite a big but unbalanced squad.
2 Posted 14/12/2017 at 17:13:48
3 Posted 14/12/2017 at 17:28:34
Biggest impression on me is the simplicity Sam has brought.
4 Posted 14/12/2017 at 17:37:06
He is however going to have to work his way upfield better possession and good service to the strikers whoever they happen to be. However, so far so good and praying for another improved performance on Monday night.
5 Posted 14/12/2017 at 17:57:34
We have to take into consideration that we've beaten three of the worst teams in Premier League, so the point at Anfield was what probably impressed me the most. This said, before he came in, there was no chance of taking 10 points from the last 4 games, so credit for that.
The thing that concerns me is when this honeymoon period fades, will we be able to prevent turning shit again?... both Koeman and Martinez had a very positive early impact.
6 Posted 14/12/2017 at 18:00:53
That in itself is a monumental achievement given that we have been defending like a non league team all season v even a bunch of Cypriot League players put two past us at home.
I love the fact he is not satisfied with our passing,ball retention and attacking play.
"Watch this space" as the saying goes.
7 Posted 14/12/2017 at 20:59:55
8 Posted 15/12/2017 at 07:55:28
Settle for mid table? Is that our ambition? I don't think it should be. This always happens when you get a few results and fans forget about the way we are playing the game... but the way you play the game has a way of coming back to bite you on the arse and so it will here too.
9 Posted 15/12/2017 at 14:36:50
Let's see where we are come January; then, if a marked improvement is still evident, he can take all the credit he wants.
10 Posted 15/12/2017 at 15:22:04
Before Allardyce was announced as manager, this team was absolute pure crap. Couldn't score, shipping goals left right and centre, no plan and absolutely no confidence.
11 Posted 15/12/2017 at 15:33:06
Today we sit mid table, have a few points in the bag and more important clean sheets. Confidence is slowly coming back and players seem to have some sort of system they can work too.
Nobody is saying we won't have reverses along the way but there for sure is progress and if people can't see it then I don't know why. "Attractive football"?? Right now, bollocks to attractive football. Getting results and points on the board is far more important. We can play "attractive football" later in the season when we're safe and have some confidence. What would people have said if we'd played attractive football at Mordor and shipped 5 goals??
We seem to be hung up on the West Ham game. For sure Unsworth took the team and rightly takes any credit going but I also think that the players knowing that Allardyce was there and was the new manager at least made them make more of an effort.
Allardyce has only been here 5 minutes and people just can't get over it. Difficult as it is try and give him and his team just a little credit.
12 Posted 15/12/2017 at 16:31:48
I appreciate Sams honesty (irony in that to be sure!) in coming out and saying that he's not done much yet. I'd agree with him as well. I think we'd have been battered by Liverpool, if Unsworth had the reins still, as pride wouldn't have allowed him to play the way Allardyce did. The other three results though would have been just as they played out with Sam at the helm because those three sides were poor, full stop.
When we start going up against the better sides sooner or later were going to need more than the "dig-in and lump it away" mentality. That's when he's going to need to prove he's worth some of money he's being paid.
13 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:22:12
No, no credit to any of this side until they prove themselves, and over the last two seasons they haven't even earned a wage.
I hope we do finish with a decent placing this season, and big Sam is so successful he gets a longer contract, but let's wait and see.
14 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:23:15
You know if we won every league game 1-0 we would win the league regardless of how many goals the other teams scored because you don't get any extra points for goals. It's three points, 1-0 or 10-0. This is professional football. Win first; looking good doing it comes a distant second.
15 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:26:36
Seems churlish not to want to give them any credit at all for the recent performances.
16 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:27:23
He is likeable... hopefully his football can match that.
17 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:40:54
I can only assume you're a kid and will give you a pass accordingly.
18 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:42:47
Is there any (honest) Evertonian that after the Atalanta and Southampton games could see us getting a result against anyone let alone go 5 games unbeaten.
You can let Unsy take the credit for the West Ham game but IMO that 5 minute chat from Sam Allardyce did a lot to ease tension and let them know they had to keep a clean sheet.
I have to be honest and say at that point I didn't see a worse team than us in the Premier League and quite a few better teams in the Championship, so we were well and truly up the creek without a paddle.
At least now we have a chance of attracting good players in January, imagine if we were in the mix with the bottom 3.
I love the fact we have a professional backup team too not Kenwright's version of Dad's Army.
19 Posted 15/12/2017 at 20:43:44
20 Posted 15/12/2017 at 21:00:21
However, as we all accept, well most right-minded fans, we were definitely relegation looking and had things not changed, had we not sacked Koeman and put Unsworth back to the U23s I reckon we would presently be in the bottom 3.
For whatever reason, we have improved. It's a fact we have stopped shipping in goals. We are getting points and slowly moving away from the scrap at the bottom.
I have no doubt when we play the better teams we will suffer so we have to beat the lesser teams, so far, so good.
Our slight improvement hasn't happened because the weathers getting colder. Allardyce and his team have tweaked the team, stopped the weekly chopping and changing and set us up, not to play open football, which will come, but to stop us getting hammered every week.
The players are looking a bit more confident. Players who were dire such as Williams, are improving. Slowly the team are turning things around.
Again, I suggest Allardyce and his team should be given just a little credit.
21 Posted 15/12/2017 at 21:08:16
I'm not exactly going to moan about the team when they win but, in all honesty, I'd be glad to see the back of Williams and Schneiderlin to name but two bums and realistically we won't see any improvement from McCarthy and Besic.
Jagielka and Baines are well past their best and never exactly blessed with a winner's mentality in any case so, all things considered, we still need a hell of a lot of wise spending in January to forge a team that won't roll over and be tickled at the first hint of adversity.
22 Posted 15/12/2017 at 21:47:26
Since then against Huddersfield, Liverpool and Newcastle, there has been steady improvement in the defence, we don't look like crumbling with nearly every attack by the opposition, we are more solid, yes three poor teams but we have collected the points. Did we look like gaining any points before these last four games?
Another three points on Monday, yes, against another very poor team, will take the pressure off relegation further. But the main point is every match before Sam Allardyce came, we looked poorer than all the poor teams we have played against; now, we don't.
23 Posted 15/12/2017 at 21:59:49
I shall reserve judgement before going overboard to see how the season pans out. We are definitely moving in the right direction and the performances to date under his guidance I couldn't have imagined 3 weeks ago. I suppose that says more about the previous regime more than Sam.
I will be more than ready to eat humble pie if Sam can carry on with the way he's started and getting us into a winning habit and ultimately playing decent football.
Another acid test coming up against the chaps a week tomorrow so that will tell us a bit more about how we are progressing. Onwards and upwards COYB
24 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:02:21
That post took me back to when Moyes first took over some 15 years ago. I distinctly remember having a similar conversation.
I watched the debate about Allardyce once we knew he was in the frame with interest, every now and again somebody would mention that Moyes always seemed to finish above him.
Who would your money be on to finish the higher of the two this season?
25 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:13:22
Every Blue I spoke to was of the same mindset. Now, every Blue I speak to is more relaxed.
Bottom line is we were a shambles before Allardyce took over. We haven't turned into Man City but we are undeniably more solid defensively. That was always step one.
P4 W3 D1 L0 GF 7 GA 1.
26 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:15:43
Those people talking about style etc... well it's a bit early in the day to be talking about that sort of thing, to say the least. I imagine he'll expect to get results against the poorer teams and be more defensive against the bigger teams. Anymore than that will depend on whether Moshiri believes in him and is willing to give him hundreds of millions to spend on players that may or may not work out. We'll see.
27 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:24:09
It's not just about Allardyce, it's about the strength behind him, especially Lee, and the nous they can muster together. It's about tough, disillusioned men with a desire to prove themselves in the teeth of lazy opinion.
This has all been arrived at under fire, and it feels tempered accordingly.
28 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:34:17
The other point I would like to make is that if ever this side was going to crumble, it was at Anfield when they conceded a goal just before half time. They didn't they dug deep and came back to equalise.
29 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:40:12
That is what our lack of confidence caused! Hesitancy about pushing forwards, and as he said, he only told them to close the leaks! The rest he left up to them!
I never wanted Allardyce, but from what I can see this far, he's stopped the rot! Now, I'm waiting to see if he can deliver on his promise to NOT be the stereotype Big Sam we all expected when we got him!
I think his players' confidence in themselves will determine how that view pans out. But I accept he might need a successful January transfer window to truly make this team his own...
30 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:50:08
31 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:51:51
Unsworth had 5 out of 6 games away (not counting Atalanta), so we were always going to improve from West Ham onwards.
That being said, I'm impressed with Allardyce and think that Unsworth should be learning from him if he ever wants to take the reigns full time.
32 Posted 15/12/2017 at 22:53:13
Like most people, I have a bias against Allardyce nearly every Evertonian does. However, no need to predict future yet, judge every game on its merits and it's only the derby we got lucky! Every other game we've well deserved 3 points.
33 Posted 15/12/2017 at 23:06:02
We have not won a trophy in 20-odd years, do some supporters not ask themselves why we haven't?
It's too easy to keep blaming the manager, might it not be because of the players who pull on the blue jersey?
At this time, I don't give two hoots how we play as long as we win. Give me a win every time, or else "Oh, we knocked the ball about lovely today, didn't we? We got beat but I'm still happy" do me a favour!
When we have Man City's (et al) money and players, we may be able to do both but we haven't, so I'm grateful for small mercies.
Give me a win every time.
34 Posted 15/12/2017 at 00:08:42
Of course, it could all go tits-up, which is what we've become hardened to. But, on that front, there may be underlying problems with Everton that are beyond the mere influence of Allardyce, which is a separate and bigger subject entirely.
35 Posted 16/12/2017 at 00:34:55
That said, Moshiri's acumen as an owner and spending power has rightly come under scrutiny and, in my opinion, his plans re the new stadium are the most impressive thing about him... damaging as the city not winning the Commonwealth Games tournament will probably be.
I trust he otherwise feels like most, if not all the fans do; disappointed to put it mildly by events on the pitch for the past 18 months, obviously, and even more disappointed by events in the boardroom, and at Finch Farm, and in the player recruitment departments.
36 Posted 16/12/2017 at 01:14:16
37 Posted 16/12/2017 at 10:40:06
"He will bring stability to the club in the top half of the table providing us with a platform to move forward."
What I read into that is, for the stadium to go ahead, he needs that platform of stability. He has backed Sam Allardyce's ability big time and I think he will deliver, so I am not concerned that we will see Moshiri bailing out.
Another couple of things I have noticed is that:
A) Steve Walsh's position looks secure he and Sam Allardyce go back a long way.
B) Bill Kenwright is keeping a very low profile.
The winds of change seem to be blowing over Goodison Park once more.
38 Posted 16/12/2017 at 11:06:01
Now we have gone for Allardyce. A manager who has been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt. For the time being at least he appears to have stopped the rot and things are looking up. He gives off an aura of calmness, reliability and reassurance but it's still early days.
Remember Martinez went a whole season before he started to come off the rails and Koeman almost had 7th place sown up by Xmas in his first season. So there is still plenty of time for things to go wrong. As fans all we can really do is get behind the manager and players as much as we can and hope the current improvement continues.
39 Posted 16/12/2017 at 11:48:20
So, while we are all delighted to be moving away from the relegation zone and probably for the rest of the season we will hope to see a steady progression. But for me the test will come next season were the match-going fans will not accept a game based on a defensive style set-up. Can Sam play that type of game I don't know his past records say he won't but I hope he proves me wrong. And he has surrounded himself with 2 other men who have managed clubs in Lee and Shakespeare.
Listening to Allardyce talking over potential transfer activity, he said it would be a collective approach, and he presumed he would have the final say. So I guess it leaves plenty of opportunity to point the finger elsewhere if the policy fails. I am also not comfortable about the role of Steve Walsh, again according to Sam he will have a major input into our purchases. Seems he was the one pushing for Allardyce and Shakespeare to be appointed as he knew his position would not be threatened if they were appointed. Seems like despite his part in failing to bring in a couple of strikers, he seems to have been absolved of any blame and given a more prominent role in the buying of players. The guy is a scout, that's it; you can give him all the fancy titles like Director of Football but he is a scout at the end of the day, and judging by Sandro which was undoubtedly his purchase, not a very good one at that.
40 Posted 16/12/2017 at 21:30:29
I hope we are not still in trouble along with West Ham at the end of the season... I think we play each other in the last game of the season what a game that would be to save our bacon.
41 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:20:35
Not a dinosaur and, most importantly, he's ensuring it's not all about him. That's a very clever approach and one which will greatly strengthen us.
42 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:21:43
I don't get all this "credit where credit is due lark", especially as I don't see where credit is due (except to the youngsters who have turned things around) Allardyce came in at time when we had been steered away from the relegation Zone. I saw no danger and I said so at the time.
Everton had thumped West Ham and many rejoiced at the thought of Moyes being humiliated and relegated again me included, but ask yourself this; if your house depended upon who would finish the higher of the two, all known history would tell you that Moyes would be the guy to put your mortgage on.
Allardyce took over a team which had just put Moyes's side to the sword, They were in far deeper shit than we were. We were 8 points clear of them this morning and we will probably be 8 points clear of them at ten o'clock on Monday, so there should be no problem stretching the lead... should there ?
I mean TGT is finished and Big Sam is exactly the right man to take over our multi million pound squad right ?
Sam's first task as far as I am concerned is to dispel the nightmare idea of Moyes climbing above us in the league, but given Allardyce has inherited a squad which cost twice as much as TGT's and he'll be given more to spend in January, we should at least be able to expect he gets as least as many points between now and the end of the season.
Given the massive 8-point gap and superior spending power Sam has inherited over his West Ham counterpart, the least we can expect is we keep the miserable fucker at harms length. If he is to justify all these claims that he is exactly what we need right now, that is the very least we can expect.
These two are dinosaurs who should never have been mentioned when the Everton gig came up. They belong at smaller clubs because they are expert at playing the percentages and making their teams hard to beat. They will not win anything.
I guess the football lovers amongst us are back to square one hoping and preying that the latest no-nonsense leopard can changes his spots.
43 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:23:53
I got the feeling from Koeman that he and his brother weren't the best coaches.
I expect Sam is a pretty decent man-manager too which didn't come across from Koeman he was too much the opposite of Martinez in that respect.
He has a cast-iron ego which is healthy for a football manager but usually also their downfall.
Finally, I get a better feeling that he is made up to have the job whereas Koeman seemed to think he was doing us a favour he wasn't.
44 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:43:41
45 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:44:48
46 Posted 16/12/2017 at 22:54:03
Oh for the days of Martinez and that fantastic Koeman.
We were really spoilt, weren't we. Probably would have won the league if they'd kept Koeman and all his exhibition stuff.
Never in a relegation situation, as so many experts have said.
47 Posted 16/12/2017 at 23:12:16
It's also hard to believe that, after that game, Everton deteriorated under the Koeman malaise and gave us long suffering fans fits about being relegation fodder.
Whilst results have since improved, there is as we all agree, a lot of work still to do.
After the Swansea game, they play Chelsea and Man Utd followed by Liverpool again in the cup, so we all hope the turnaround gets better.
48 Posted 16/12/2017 at 23:18:39
49 Posted 16/12/2017 at 23:39:21
50 Posted 16/12/2017 at 23:56:37
51 Posted 17/12/2017 at 00:28:10
Not including the West Ham game, Sam has had 1 game at home and 3 away out of which he has won 3 and drawn 1. Yes, we have much sterner tests to come but 1 game at a time hey? The confidence is definitely growing and as mentioned in other posts above, we played better at Newcastle.
So, be patient guys and give the team and the manager a break, you never know they may even surprise us all.
52 Posted 17/12/2017 at 11:39:58
As a man who also follows the turf, I'm sure you understand the importance of form. The bare form says that Moyes's teams finish consistently higher than Allardyce's. What I've learnt down my punting years is the importance of collateral form over bare form. Moyes consistency stemmed from his good work and almost total security of tenure. Allardyce has managed to find the three clubs more badly run than ours (Blackburn, Newcastle and West Ham), plus his two escapology acts at Sunderland and Palace. I'd argue that his more recent form of improving teams and his lack of exposure at a bigger club makes him the better bet.
That said, they've both landed on their feet, inheriting half-decent squads that will improve for a bit of organisation and fitness. I wouldn't put my money on either of them turning their clubs into major forces.
I do suspect that Allardyce will leave his successor with a better situation to manage.
53 Posted 17/12/2017 at 11:47:25
57 Posted 17/12/2017 at 12:17:14
You can argue with anyone who thinks that the manager is saying 'all the right things'. We always like what our managers say when we're winning.
Let's just wait and see if this early improvement turns into proper form before we start hailing him as something that he's never been before in his long career.
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