Doomed to Repeat the Errors of the Past

Everton’s infuriating dance of despair with the League Cup continues amid a slew of changes to a winning line-up that doomed the Blues to another exit in the early rounds of the competition

Lyndon Lloyd 03/10/2018 59comments  |  Jump to last

So Everton’s infuriating dance of despair with the League Cup continues with the club’s latest elimination at the third round stage or earlier for the eighth time in the last 11 seasons. This time it was against Southampton in a match that, when the draw was made, Marco Silva’s team, with home team advantage and a Premier League win over the Saints already under their belts this season, were rightly installed as favourites to win.

Had the manager approached the game as if it were a Premier League game, it’s likely that the Toffees would have triumphed and secured that meeting with Leicester in the fourth round. Unfortunately, while there were cautionary voices beforehand imploring Silva not to make wholesale alterations to his side, Everton lined up with seven changes from the side that started against Fulham on Saturday. What followed was a well-worn narrative for Evertonians who have become accustomed to abject failure in this competition over the years.

While there has been plenty of scope for criticism of past managers’ team selections — the Jan Mucha debacle in 2011 and the humiliation at Leeds in 2012 under David Moyes, the capitulation at Swansea in 2014 under Roberto Martinez, and the humbling by an under-strength Norwich in Ronald Koeman’s first season come readily to mind — this was not so much an issue of the strength of the side that Silva fielded as it was the sheer number of changes that were made from what was only the third victory in all competitions at the weekend.

Bernard, Cenk Tosun, Leighton Baines and Morgan Schneiderlin are all now candidates for the starting XI on a weekly basis even if there are arguments over whether one or two of them should be automatic choices. Ademola Lookman is overdue for a shot at trying to prove he is worthy of more game time and, despite turning 36 recently, Maarten Stekelenburg is still a competent goalkeeper, as he proved with a couple of key saves during the game. There was unquestionably quality in the line-up that should have been enough to see off Southampton.

The fact remains, however, that seven changes to the team undermined any sense of continuity from the weekend and the defeat ruined what momentum the Blues might have been building going into Saturday’s trip to Leicester. If the team was chosen with an eye on prioritising the Premier League — you’d have to ask why if it was — then a demoralising cup exit might not have the intended effect.

Football at this level is unforgiving if you want to win things. There is very little margin for error, particularly in a cup tie against a rival Premier League club, so it behooves an Everton manager — if he was, indeed, serious about progressing in the Carabao Cup — to play his strongest side, or something close to it.

After all, Everton have no European football with which to concern themselves and, after this weekend, there isn’t another League fixture until the 21st of October. Why put Richarlison on the bench when he has just spent three games watching from the stands because of a suspension and he probably won’t play 90 minutes for his country during the upcoming international break?

If the goal is to match the supporters increasingly desperate thirst for an end to Everton’s trophy drought, then what is the point in playing 33-year-old Leighton Baines instead of the lively Lucas Digne? Why rest your two most effective central midfielders in Idrissa Gueye and Gylfi Sigurdsson after their best individual displays of the season unless you’re disrespecting the tournament and the fans who have turned up in their 30,000-strong droves over the last two cup ties to see their manager and players give everything in the name of winning this God-forsaken pot that has eluded Toffees teams since its inception five decades ago.

There is, clearly then, something of a balancing act when it comes to keeping fringe players happy and the League Cup in its varying guises over the years has been used as a means of giving minutes to players who either haven’t been getting them in the Premier League or who are young and in need of a platform on which to show they can cut it in the senior side.

In that sense, there is some logic to the selection of Baines and Stekelenburg — it keeps both players “ticking over” in case they are needed because of injury or suspension, although the need to rotate your goalkeeper hasn’t always made much sense. After all, the veteran Dutchman is getting to the end of his career and has played in a World Cup Final; do Everton really need to kow-tow to any desire on his part to get first-team action these days?

Promoting Kieran Dowell to the team for the second time this season also has merits when taken in isolation. The 20-year-old did very well for much of his time at Nottingham Forest last season and has been on the cusp of breaking into the first team for a while now. He needs opportunities to shine and, unless injuries and suspensions rack up, they’re unlikely to come in the League.

The problem was, however, that an inexperienced player was deployed in a crucial role behind an out-of-form striker and between two wingers making their first starts to the season. One of them, Lookman, remains something of a question mark in terms of attitude and consistency himself, making the decision to play both of them a questionable one even if, together with Bernard, the former Leipzig loanee was at the centre of some of Everton’s best moments on the night. Dowell, however, was unable to grasp his opportunity to impress in a pivotal role in the team.

Again, the wisdom of and arguments for squad rotation are sound on their face but the strategy blows up in Everton’s collective face season after season. There are now years of evidence that making so many changes to a core lineup just doesn’t work no matter how many times successive managers have defended the decision on the grounds that the players selected were good enough to get the job done. The history is there but no-one at the club appears to be learning from it.

The hope was that there had been enough of a clamour from fans that Everton simply had to put their best and strongest foot forward in every round of both domestic cup competitions this season and go all out to land some silverware. Sadly, the cries appear to have fallen on deaf ears and one of two realistic routes to Wembley and one of three avenues to Europe has been closed off less an a week into October. Plus ça change…

Reader Comments (59)

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Steve Little
1 Posted 03/10/2018 at 08:45:15
Excellent analysis, Lyndon, of a disappointing night.

Neither Dowell nor Lookman did enough for me. Very disappointing given the clamour by many for a chance to see what they can do.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 03/10/2018 at 08:47:40
Every Everton manager (with Martinez being the exception) comes in and totally disrespects Cup competitions and is ignorant of the fans eagerness to do well in these types of games.

Frankly I'm sick of it with them.

Football is now all about money and whilst the big six thrive and strive to win trophies and play in the Champions League, we sit there and think we can disrespect the only chance of glory we have each season.

Someone wants to tell the people at Everton that we have about as much hope any season of getting in the Champions League as we have of setting up house on Mars.

But no, the fat cats will sit there and expect us all to be so thankful and chuffed with finishing 8th (this team ain't good enough for 7th) and pat themselves on the back as a job done.

Same again next season, lofty ambitions to finish 7th or 8th, throw the Cups.

It's just sad that we are a club now run in such a manner.

Bill Watson
3 Posted 03/10/2018 at 08:54:31
I totally agree, Lyndon. Last night's debacle was totally down to the manager.It was even more inexplicable after Silva, himself, had said he wanted to get some continuity going and probably wouldn't make many changes.

Brian Porter
4 Posted 03/10/2018 at 08:59:56
I agree with everything you said, Lyndon. While I know you always attempt to be diplomatic in terms of any criticism, I don't have any such constraints on what I can and can't say, so, in addition to your spot-on comments above, let me add that, from my personal point of view, I firmly and unequivocally believe that Silva lied to us – yes, downright lied – when he said he wouldn't be making wholesale changes to the team that defeated Fulham at the weekend. He must have already had his line up decided in his mind and based on the promise of a great chance of progression in the competition, over 30,000 fans duly turned out to cheer the team to victory.

Instead, they were treated to a team selection that put together a set of players who, though good enough players on paper, have had no playing time together as a team and by God, it showed. Silva left out not one, but two of our best goalscorers in Richarlison and Walcott, tinkered with the midfield in true Martinez style and brought in a goalkeeper who none of us want to see making first-team starts.

This truly was a set of players (not a team), who had no set idea of each other's playing styles, as in a Sunday league fixture where a team had been cobbled together at the last minute.

Silva cheated the fans, and cheated the players who came here wanting to help Everton WIN a trophy this season.

He has definitely lost any respect I had for him before the game (not that I wanted him in the first place), but to say one thing and then do another just shows him to be an untrustworthy, duplicitous individual who has shown his true colours and his team selection is the chief reason why we have departed from the competition at such an early stage.

I am angry and disgusted.

John Keating
5 Posted 03/10/2018 at 09:10:38
No excuses whatsoever.

It was purely down to an extremely poor managerial decision.

Joe Clitherow
6 Posted 03/10/2018 at 09:53:09
Every single manager we have who fields second- or third-string players for the League Cup does not get Everton Football Club. We need to win a trophy and this competition is our best chance; it isn't a reserve team competition.

Also, I don't know why Martinez gets a pass above? He was amongst the worst for the League Cup. I haven't forgotten the 3-0 Swansea defeat and his shrugged-shoulder attitude to the defeat.

I'm still very unconvinced by Silva overall; time will tell. Just my opinion.

Jeff Hughes
7 Posted 03/10/2018 at 10:28:30
Good analysis, Lyndon and you capture the frustration of many over the issue of squad rotation when we have won sod all for so long but the phrases that really grate are giving players "opportunities to shine" and "keep players ticking over".

I am not interested in the snowflake treatment of players and while I am at it I am not interested in players giving high-fives to Richarlison after his totally, wasteful penalty attempt. It is also time to get real, time to recognise that our current central midfielders are not good enough.

Of course, I would love young Davies to succeed but he is not yet ready or good enough to represent a club with real ambition. Look at the top clubs, look at their power, movement off the ball, look at their speed of passing and how they stretch teams — then tell our experienced, pampered players to shape up or ship out.

Jerome Shields
8 Posted 03/10/2018 at 10:28:40
I agree with your analysis, Lyndon. Two additional factors make this result a real problem for Everton.

Firstly, Everton need to be playing as many games as possible in the League and Cup competitions if they are to become a top-four side and stay there. It is a prerequisite that Everton need to be able to play and progress in more than one competition. The objective in top four status is to win the Premier League and take part in the Champions League as far as possible. Two competitions.

Secondly, to be able to play at the consistent level required, Everton have to have a settled team that are gelling together as a team and able to implement a successful tactical plan week in, week out. This Silva knows about since he told us so after Saturday's game.

Playing competitive games is the best way for players to improve, both technically and tactically. To be consistent, Everton have to be playing in as many games as possible to improve the players' ability and awareness, organisation and teamwork. Pissing about at Finch Farm on wages they don't deserve never achieves this, since Everton are consistently useless after any breaks.

Never ever should seven player changes take place. Over a season, there are plenty of opportunities, injuries and tactical changes, during a League programme and successful Cups campaigns to introduce and give players game time, with the benefit of a settled team, providing the best platform for them to play to the best of their individual abilities. It also provides a good template for training.

Silva, by his mismanagement of this game, has set back Everton's progress back, two years in my opinion. That's if Everton are to progress under his management, as consistency begins with himself. I just hope he is not thinking only of Premier League survival — like his unsuccessful predecessors.

Rick Tarleton
9 Posted 03/10/2018 at 10:32:14
There's a myth in modern football that cup competitions are of less worth than finishing up the Premier League. It's a myth, not a fact. The top four places are guaranteed to the cash machines that are the big six.

Yes, I know the 5000-1 chance came up a couple of years ago, but they were the bet that keeps Ladbrokes etc in business.Why not for clubs like Everton, West Ham, Leicester make your priority a cup, particularly the League Cup?

It is a chance of silverware, a big day for supporters at Wembley and a place in the Europa League which is realistically all we can hope for from a good Premier League season. This scorning of the cups is a fetish for clubs like Everton. Clubs in the Champions League can afford to treat these cups with some scorn. Everton cannot.

Seven changes last night was wrong. Sigurdsson had at last shown some form, so why drop him? It doesn't make sense to me.

Silverware is what supporters crave and we scorn the opportunity time and again.

Tony Everan
10 Posted 03/10/2018 at 10:42:50
Making 7 changes was reckless.

Why cause so much disruption to a team that was doing quite well the last two matches?

I was expecting Bernard and possibly Lookman to start but to make wholesale changes harmed us and probably cost us this cup tie. I am disappointed because I thought we had a chance to build momentum but it has been needlessly wasted.

Without European football, this tournament takes on a bit more significance for the club and fans, I feel a bit let down that the manager seemed to have downgraded it.

Make it up to us by winning the FA Cup and getting into the top 6 .

James Stewart
11 Posted 03/10/2018 at 10:49:06
Shameful display and management from Silva. He will really struggle to get fans onboard after that. The hubris of the changes were astounding.
Phil Parker
12 Posted 03/10/2018 at 11:01:48
"The team we put out last night was good enough to win the game." That phrase has been used far too often in connection with Everton and the League Cup. Always when we lose. Which we always do.

We took 5,000 fans to Leeds in 2011, hopeful of progressing past a lower league team. They were given a lift by our selection, something like: "They think they can come here with a weakened team and beat you easy; get out there and show them!" Neil Warnock was the manager. Moyes selected Junior (who) in centre-midfield. We lost, of course.

Koeman went into the Norwich League cup game, 4 wins, 3 draws, 1 defeat. Going well. Makes a hatful of changes, lost, then won 1 of the next 7.

Last night, as others have said, followed in the finest Everton League cup traditions. Chance of a cup run and building momentum thrown away, walking out past kids in tears.

Where our club is now, and with our collective desperation for silverware, we should not be losing home cup ties to the likes of Southampton. End of story. Not good enough.

Pat Kelly
13 Posted 03/10/2018 at 11:19:47
Spot on Brian @4. The fans were lied to and cheated by Silva. If he thinks the Everton fans will fall for that he really doesn't know them. We haven't gotten over that weasel Koeman yet and can still recognise bullshit when we hear it.

But let's not forget that Silva has his instructions from above. The Premier League is the priority, finish as high as you can as each place is significant financially. Screw the fans, they'll turn up if you tell them there won't be wholesale changes.

Chris Locke
14 Posted 03/10/2018 at 12:03:51
It's obvious that a number of the players last night were playing purely because it was a League Cup tie and the manager wanted to give them minutes and rest some of our key players. Whether you agree with this or not is open for debate.

The fact is the players really let themselves down with a few proving that they're not capable of playing regular 1st football. These fringe players have done themselves no favours and have reduced their own playing time by being so rubbish with no cup until January.

Hopefully Silva has finally learned about some and keeps them away from the starting lineup/1st team. Let's face it if Schneiderlin doesn't start another game until The FA Cup in January, I for one would be very happy and will deal with us being shit in the League Cup last night. It's hardly a new experience after all.

Dick Fearon
15 Posted 03/10/2018 at 12:54:28
Despite the fact he is one of the top earners in World football it is almost as if he is still a wet behind the ears novice and treated sympathetically when he fucks up.

As with previous nincompoops holding down Everton's managership and the truth is staring them in the face, I find myself battling fellow Toffees. Even after this latest debacle, we can expect a legion of super optimists to be on here lauding his ability.

Fran Mitchell
16 Posted 03/10/2018 at 13:42:32
The back 5 should have remained the same, they need games to learnhow toplay each other.

Gueye and Davies, despite each having limitations, seems to be the most functional of our midfield pairings, they also need more minutes together to develop a relationship.

By taking out Gueye for Schneiderlin and adding Dowell, it was unfair on the young lad. He gets his chance, but he gets his chance with players who have no experience playing together. If you play Dowell, then Walcott and Richarilson need to play. If you play Lookman and Bernard, then Sigurdsson needs to play. There needs to be some continuity.

Now many will say 'Dowell had his chance and failed', but his chance came in a failed experiement, unfair to the lad. I hope he gets some 20-30 minute sub appearnances, becasue talent he has, and he's still only 20.

All-in-all, terrible management.

Martin Clark
17 Posted 03/10/2018 at 13:49:16
I totally agree with Chris (#14), the fact that these players were Picked and fluffed it, rates as high for me as the few too many changes.

Watching their goal, Davies is jogging tracking Ings from two meters back, while Keane and particularly Schneiderlin just keep backing off to nowhere until it's too late. Really annoying to watch.

I can understand a few changes: Baines, Bernard, Tosun, maybe even one more... but they shouldn't be needing a rest at this point in the season with no Europe to contend with.

We should only consider giving rests and chances to players if the game is won. Start with your strongest possible team and, if you get a comfortable lead, then rest a few.

I am really pissed with this result and angered by the lack of effort or ability shown when defending their goal.

Joe Parko
18 Posted 03/10/2018 at 14:35:09
Rest players!!! Call themselves athletes!!! What a pathetic bunch of overpaid, useless bottlers.

Silva is not the answer... Silva calls for consistency!!! Farcical, the word sums this club up. What winners do we have at this club? All losers from top to bottom.

Motto now reads: Nothing but Mediocrity will do... unless we play the Shite, then it's: Nothing but a trouncing will do...

55 years watching my club, home and away, I thought the seventies was bad... My God, the last few years have been appalling, and I dread to think what the next few years will hold for us Blues. No Guts, No Glory... Get used to No Sliverware boys, because this bunch of shite has no Guts.

I will be there Saturday at Leicester, shouting for the boys again, but in my heart I know, the Manager, the players and the Club couldn't give a monkey's about the name Everton or the thousands of us who live, breathe, and worship our club.

It's reality, boys... suck it up...

Mike Moore
19 Posted 03/10/2018 at 15:10:33
Joe (#18). That post should be put on the dressing room wall and ever player told to read it! Oh, and Moshiri and Kenwright too. Well said.
Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 03/10/2018 at 15:28:51
I agree with that, Mike, especially when this new manager was only saying the other week, that working hard and doing your best should be an obligation for everyone in the squad.

Either talk is very cheap, or this manager doesn't think that this given, should also apply to himself?

I'm now thinking about the late John Moores, talking about the fans during the “History of Everton” and hope that something changes soon, and something will be done about it! Because I can see some of the loyalist fans in the country getting very close to genuinely having had enough?

Kieran Kinsella
21 Posted 03/10/2018 at 16:01:12
Tony Abrahams,

I agree. It is probably why Ken Buckley can't be bothered with his reports any more. He can just recycle the old ones with generic narratives.

John Raftery
23 Posted 03/10/2018 at 16:20:24
Our front four were playing their first full game together. Three of them looked badly in need of match practice. They needed a game but this was not the occasion for that. The team does not possess the solid foundations in midfield and defence which would permit any manager to take such a cavalier approach to selection.

Managers get sacked for poor Premier League results. They rarely if ever get sacked for defeats in Cup competitions. We had two cup runs in 2015-16, reaching the semi-final of both. The manager lost his job because we finished 11th for the second successive season. Even if we had won one of the cups, he would likely still have been dismissed. In fact, some fans wanted to him dismissed before the FA Cup semi-final was played in the belief Unsworth would have done a better job.

No wonder modern-day managers afford low priority to this competition which is usually won by one of the top six.

None of the above should excuse the players, too many of whom are content to hide in the shadow of whoever the latest manager happens to be.

John Keating
24 Posted 03/10/2018 at 16:22:59
Dick @15,

I can't see anybody supporting Silva on changing Saturdays team so drastically.

It makes no sense whatsoever. Consistency and Confidence blown out the window in one go.

I can't believe anyone can be tired so early in the season; most if not all haven't played every game.

He needs a result at the weekend or this fiasco will come back to bite Silva on the arse.

Jonathan Tasker
25 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:08:04
I am far from convinced on Richarlison:

Already got himself sent off... And last night's penalty was ridiculous.

Penalties ought to be practiced. His effort was one of the worst I have ever seen in nearly 60 years.

Alasdair Mackay
26 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:17:30
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here a bit, as I think there is (and should be) a lot of negativity that follows a cup defeat. I'm just not sure it is entirely useful to the team at the moment.

1) They are still learning a new system and a lot of the players out there last night had had less time to work in it than others.

2) I am seeing improvement match-by-match in some players individually – Kurt Zouma, Jonjoe Kenny and Bernard being the obvious examples.

3) Lookman looked good last night. He is starting to understand that whatever the ideal outcome for him, it arrives from playing well for Everton.

4) I don't think Walcott's penalty was that bad a hit. The 'keeper made a good stop.

5) We created a lot of chances from various situations. The chances we conceded came from similar situations for Southampton, which shows that we are going to be harder to play against, as soon as we can iron out the errors.

I know that is uber-positive considering Everton got knocked out of the cup on my birthday, but I am sooo much happier with the direction we are going in compared with this time last season or even the two seasons before that. We need to give the new team time to get their pieces together and their points across and, until they do, there will always be results like this one.

We can start to judge Silva by the time of the FA Cup, in my opinion. And we can start to judge Brands by this time next year.

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:24:27
Jonathan Tasker,

Watch out. I got slated on here weeks ago for saying Rich has Balotelli tendencies.

Jerome Shields
28 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:28:50
Whoever came up with the motto: Nil Satis Nisi Optium knew what they were talking about as far as football was concerned.

Sam Hoare
29 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:40:39
I don't think Richarlison's penalty was that bad, was it? Apart from missing obviously. He went for the top corner, which is unsaveable if executed right, but was a few inches over the bar.

Over-confident perhaps... and not well executed — but I've definitely seen worse.

John Raftery
30 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:46:45
Sam (29),

From where I was in the Park End, it looked more than a few inches over the bar.

Derek Taylor
31 Posted 03/10/2018 at 17:51:16
Silva simply displayed bad judgement in his team selection last night. He will, no doubt, repeat that sin many times this season, thus making his early departure inevitable.

Yet another useless Moshiri choice.

Sam Hoare
32 Posted 03/10/2018 at 18:11:49
Derek, will add you to the growing list of people who have written Silva off prematurely. Wonder who will be prepared to eat humble pie if he's still around next season, let alone if we actually ever win something under him?
Alan J Thompson
33 Posted 03/10/2018 at 18:16:27
Whatever happened to those supposed knowledgeable Evertonians?

It's Davies fault, Davies was awful, Davies shouldn't be in the team. What do you watch? Is it just that this is the first post you read so you jump on the bandwagon and then just keep going?

Davies is one of our better players and even if he did have a bad game that does not account for the team's overall performance. Oh, and don't forget the ever faithful, he wouldn't get into a Top 4 Team. Well, none of them are but some of them (5?) have been and now they aren't, and quite right Barcelona aren't in the Top 4.

Then we get the "don't blame Silva" argument. He's only had 9 games, all the players he bought are injured and we should wait until they've all played, after 2 seasons and 3 transfer windows, until he's sold everyone who was here before him and look what he did in Portugal and Greece. Well look what he's done, or rather not done, in England! What signs are there that he is any sort of a coach other than he's doing what Martinez did!

I could go on but quite honestly I'm getting a bit fed up with excuses being made for this super coach. Let his results speak for him but for me it seems nothing more than which we've seen for the, at least, last 6 seasons.

Maybe one day we'll have the attitude that we should be trying to win every game we play, what have we got to lose that we're not losing now.

Anyone for more red wine?

Mark Wilson
35 Posted 04/10/2018 at 02:04:14
Lyndon, that is simply one of your best pieces, ever. It should as some suggest be sent to the club and read out at training. Of course, it will not be but that's their loss because you've expertly delivered an analysis which, spookily for this football club, has in my view at least 85% of the supporters saying “What he said!”

Silva crossed a line on Tuesday. That's not OTT. The reaction afterwards was an almost unanimous condemnation of a piece of arrogant mgt that totally misjudged the situation “his” team are in and how his tenure has been impacted by this defeat.

Silva has lost “time”. I didn't really think he had any of it to start with despite the usual clamour of “sensible” voices. Bottom five at Christmas and see how much time most think he has? That's the cruel reality of yes, a wickedly unforgiving league. But he's engineered this time deficit himself. He's clearly not the first of course but he's here now and frankly he's disrespected the fans and that takes a lot of recovery,

Voices will appear saying this is nonsense, it's “just” the League Cup. No it isn't, it's much much more then that for EFC and it's supporters. It is, or rather was, “hope”. It is a betrayal and okay, just dire judgement. But the lack of awareness is staggering. Where's the wise council? What's Brands doing whilst this is going on? Silva is a coach and Brands is the boss. Someone, somewhere has to explain what it is he's blown and why it matters to our supporters.

But there's worse I'm afraid. The absurd degree of change reinforced the view that we may be able to compete for the holy grail of 7th, with a full top 13-14 squad. But there's so little after that it's scary. Mina and Gomes may make that 13-14 a bit larger if they ever actually play. But a bang-average under-strength Southampton could and should have been three up and out of sight with an hour gone. What does that say for our squad depth?

I saw a shout on Twitter that sums up the mess: “All these negative morons will fuck off back into their holes in the ground when we beat Leicester on Saturday”.

Really? For me and I suspect most, a win of any kind from out best available 11 simply twists the knife in a sore wound. All it says is why not four days earlier and a cup run? But no, we are Barca like and these little cups are beneath Everton, they of two and a half decades without winning anything fame.

There was an experiment worthwhile on Tuesday. One change. Bernard in and on the left, Richarlison in the centre. That's the only change that was needed. Try it out and see if it works. Instead, all the momentum of a second-half win v Fulham is lost and we are light years away from winning anything.

Read the Esk this week on our commercial performance and then re-read this post. It will be a Blue Union type moment such is the mess right now, or at least that's how it all seems –where's the strategy, the vision, just what do the coaching staff think matters at the club and do any of the staff understand why we are so pissed at them?

Steve Brown
36 Posted 04/10/2018 at 02:29:19
Great article and I agree with the sheer frustration of every poster on here. We simply cannot afford to squander these opportunities to build momentum and excite the supporters.

I know the pace and athleticism of modern football places higher demands on footballers, but if you are challenging for the Premier League and playing on the Champions League then you would play your best eleven, week-in & week-out, and expect the players to manage.

It is about standards, leadership and professionalism which have been absent from Everton for almost three decades. Silva has misjudged the fans sentiments here badly and has crossed a line here in how he is viewed.

The one highlight for me was Bernard and I want him in the team occupying the role Sigurdsson holds. Creativity in the number ten role has been a massive gap for us over the years so let's give him a shot.

Sigurdsson can drop into central midfield or drop to the bench, as he has simply not justified the £45 million price-tag and for one performance he has like Fulham he has five where he really lacks influence.

The other big challenge we all know is a striker. We banked £75 million up front for Lukaku and it will take spending £50 million of that to get a player who is anywhere near the level to replace him.

Jamie Crowley
37 Posted 04/10/2018 at 05:30:44
Excellent article Lyndon.

The resting of players with no European adventures and a week off in the near future is maddening.

If, God forbid, we lose to Leicester, we'll be on pace for a season tally, admittedly after eight games, of 52 points.

That's without having played Man City, Man Utd, "that lot", Spurs, or Chelsea.

If this weekend ends up with a loss, and we were tossed out of a presumably winnable competition to gain the three points on Saturday and consequently don't? Then I've a feeling there's going to be a hell of a lot of people calling bullshit on Mr. Silva. Torches and pitchforks to be sure.

And frankly I'd not blame them one iota.

A massive managerial error in judgement if you ask me.

I get a lot of comments on "understanding Everton" and the like. It's completely understandable, being the "outsider".

What's really, really frightening to me, is this silly American is wondering if Silva understands Everton! And isn't that rather damning?

1995 Marco. Throw the kitchen sink at every single opportunity to win silverware, please!

Thomas Lennon
38 Posted 04/10/2018 at 08:26:24
This result simply means we do not yet have a strong enough squad. Those who showed themselves to be a little too weak will meet their fate in 'Brands: the second/third transfer window'.

More to come in. No sign of investment stopping.

Sam Hoare
39 Posted 04/10/2018 at 08:28:36
Jamie, I don't think it's just about Leicester. Its bigger than that. As Lyndon alludes to its about giving fringe players some time, that could be important for the whole season in terms of keeping them fit and keeping squad morale high (obviously that doesn't work out necessarily if you lose).

There was the chance that someone like Lookman or Dowell could perform well enough to make a strong case for first-team inclusion and that would benefit the team for the whole season potentially if that game had proved the launchpad for someone.

As it happened none of these things came to pass. Retrospect makes everyone look smart but a lot of us wanted to see the likes of Lookman, Bernard and Dowell given time.

It wasn't just about saving first-team players for Leicester so I don't see that the result there particularly justifies or condemns Silva. It was a chance for the fringe players to shine that they mostly failed to take, everyone talks now like it was inevitable but obviously it was not; we created better chances than them and it was small margins in the end.

Justin Doone
40 Posted 04/10/2018 at 11:03:09
Rest or limit chances of injury?
Lied or not wanting to give up information?
Needles changes or managing big egos?
Getting fringe players much needed game time or throwing the match?
Losing a game or season ending disaster?
Winning a cup or finishing high in the league?

We are very much in transition. Silva has a long way to go until he proves himself good enough to manage in the Premier league. But as a fan I've had many years to get used to the lack of ambition and disappointments.

I'm now more coutious but over the last 3 months more optimistic than I have been for several years that we are pointing in the right direction but the track is only just being laid.

From what I saw of the highlights Dowell was finding space and getting into good positions but no one would pass to him.

I'm sure he and a few of the other young players will be given more game time this season because there is potential but are in need of guidance and support along the way.

Drew O'Neall
41 Posted 04/10/2018 at 12:57:04
Regardless of the competition, this team is in its formative stages and must play all games with all available first choice personnel.

When we've stopped leaking goals from set pieces and have formed an effective style resulting in consistent performances, maybe then we can be so confident (arrogant) as to rest players like the big boys do... We're a million miles away currently, as demonstrated by the Huddersfield performance and the West Ham result.

Jamie Crowley
42 Posted 04/10/2018 at 14:25:33
Sam -


I understand "it's bigger than that" and concur with all your points about Dowell. I had actually stated I'd hoped he'd start.

But there's a hell of a difference between starting a kid or two, looking at the bigger picture and long haul, versus seven changes.

That's my point.

And my opinion is, now that we've shit the bed, the Leicester game is a big one. Justified or not, it seems we held starters back for a Premier League game.

So we'd better win it, or Silva will get a more unhappy fan base than he currently has.

Colin Malone
43 Posted 04/10/2018 at 15:16:03
Come on. Give Silva time, it ain't going to be a quick fix overnight, FFS. Compare the signings Silva has made to Big Sam's and Koeman's:

Barnard to Bolasie.
Richarlison to Klaassen.
Zouma to Mangala.
Mina and Gomes to come.

One transfer window and some expect trophies rolling in. Get Real.

Mark Tanton
44 Posted 04/10/2018 at 15:50:19
It was an insult to fans paying to get in. Nothing new there in this competition unfortunately.
Jay Harris
45 Posted 04/10/2018 at 17:21:18
The problems remain the same. Can't score goals and can't stop leaking them.

There is obviously some sort of problem at the club. With Silva and the new players, we should have battered Huddersfield, West Ham and Southampton even though the squad is going through transition.

I just hope “I'm the best salesman” isn't still interfering with who is put forward to play.

Alasdair Mackay
46 Posted 04/10/2018 at 17:44:57
The problem is, Drew (#41) that I am not sure Silva knows his best team yet.

The players that came in included the likes of Baines, Schneiderlin (both first-team selections on multiple occasions this season), Lookman and Dowell (both young players who have shown enormous promise over 18 months now and were going to get the chance at some point) and Bernard, who has been knocking on the door off the bench for a little while.

When you look at it like that, it starts to look like the decision was made to combine the idea of resting players who had played 3 days earlier and giving an opportunity to players who were deserving of it.

Perhaps the only selection that flies against that point is that of Stekelenburg, but the point remains that Silva is still learning the squad. I don't think he knows his first team yet.

Peter Lee
47 Posted 04/10/2018 at 17:56:05
Tuesday was about managerial decisions. For most of the first half, the team selection and shape was vindicated in that we, largely, controlled the game. This despite our central midfielders passing the ball repeatedly sideways and backward. Dowell played just a little too far forward for me but his presence dictated Soton's shape in that area.

At half-time, I was suggesting that he came off and that Richarlison came on with Bernard in the hole. Or that Davies left the pitch with Bernard and Dowell in front of Schneiderlin. Removing Dowell and having nobody in the vacant space gifted time and comfort to the oppo. Bad, bad tactical error. If there is a measure of yardage for distance the ball is passed forward or backward I suspect Davies would have been on –200 m with Schneids not far behind, although second half there wasn't a forward pass on until Bernard moved central.

Lookman has impressive touch and quick feet. Naïve, still, and should have been told to spend most of the time wide. Needs telling and giving sub time.

I suspect Teresa May watched Richarlison's run-up and used it Wednesday. Worst penalty I've seen since Fred Pickering hit the Gwladys St stand with one vs Sunderland, FAC 3rd Round, 1966.

Drew O'Neall
48 Posted 04/10/2018 at 19:18:21
Alasdair 46

I don't think he knows his best team yet either but he knows it isn't the one he put out last night.

He picked the same team two games in a row prior to last night and it's an iteration of that team so my point stands.

The point I didn't quite make perhaps is that I accept we might not finish where we'd like to this season and we might not win any cups and we might run out of steam at Christmas but we don't even know what good looks like for this squad so we have to use every available fixture to find that out — not use up a valuable fixture in the formative period to give the squad players minutes.

Bobby Thomas
49 Posted 04/10/2018 at 19:58:00
Sam #39,

"A lot of us wanted to see the likes of Lookman, Bernard and Dowell given time."

Not all at the same time. They'd never played together before.

If Silva was totally set on changing the wide men, then playing Dowell as well was way too much. Sigurdsson had to play for continuity.

Steve Ferns
50 Posted 04/10/2018 at 20:08:41
I would have said Bernard, Baines, Schneiderlin, and Tosun was enough. Lookman could have come on when we're winning. Same with Dowell. As for the keeper, that sums up the approach we took to the game.
Justin Doone
51 Posted 04/10/2018 at 21:16:30
If we pretend to take the Leicester game at the weekend as being both a Premier League and League Cup game (would have been next opponents in both competitions) and do not win, it will be disappointing but we have to move on.

So playing a strong, weak or experimental team doesn't matter. A loss is bad! A win good. We vent frustration or applaud and celebrate. That's football.

Although it's a results business, we all know we don't have a top class side. So why expect so much? You will only be disappointed.

We have reset with a new team, players, coaches, physios, recruitment, marketing, sales, boardroom. There will be many bumps along the way and therefore expecting instant success is an unrealistic target both on and off the pitch.

I will not be calling for Silva's exit or extension on Monday and therefore – win, lose, or draw – I just hope for a good performance that continues to show promise and good team ethic.

Phillip Warrington
52 Posted 04/10/2018 at 21:48:48
Sacrificing one or both of the cups to rest so-called better players only can be justified if the team goes on a run and wins say 15 of their next 20 games.

Sacrificing the chance to win a cup has never been justified by any Everton manager for the last 10 years... When will they get it?

Alex Fox
53 Posted 04/10/2018 at 21:51:03
Hugely disappointing result, but I think some of the criticism for the team selection is a bit OTT.

Southampton made 6 changes of their own. Silva put out a team that should have had enough to win that game.

Two (Schneiderlin, Tosun) are basically first teamers, Bernard soon will be. Many thought Lookman ought to be an automatic pick before the season kicked off, Baines is no Cuco Martina, and Dowell needs games to develop (if not now, when?).

As for Stekelenburg... Playing your second choice keeper in the cups just seems to be the unwritten rule of the modern game. All 16 Premier League teams involved in the Third Round picked a different keeper from the league game before.

Jay Wood

54 Posted 04/10/2018 at 22:15:59
Justin @51, in recent days you have categorically stated ad nauseum our progress in the League Cup carried no weight or importance for you. Indeed, that it was even 'good' to be out of it, as it meant it was 'one less distraction'. (One less distraction to 'what', exactly, you don't say...).

In your latest post, you seemingly wish to position yourself as someone with greater patience and enlightenment than the majority of Everton supporters by stating "...we all know we don't have a top class side. So why expect so much? You will only be disappointed."


"We have reset with a new team, players, coaches, physios, recruitment, marketing, sales, boardroom. There will be many bumps along the way and therefore expecting instant success is an unrealistic target both on and off the pitch."

I haven't seen anyone – anyone at all – demanding or expecting 'instant success', or claiming we are a 'top quality side' who should be challenging for the title. There is , however, a wide diversion of opinion over the quality of our existing squad and individual players within it.

Rather than an angry mob demanding 'instant success', I see a lot of reasoned posts by reasonable posters acknowledging that the two domestic cup competitions represent(ed) our best (current) opportunity to land much-desired silverware and an easier entry to much-needed European competition.

I consider myself extremely tolerant and patient about what the club, as it currently stands, can realistically achieve. I constantly defend our young players on TW.

That said, I align myself very much with those who were mightily disappointed at yet another early exit from the League Cup on Tuesday.

Nor can I agree with your laissez-faire attitude to the importance (or non-importance, in your case...) of the domestic cups.



I'm of the belief that the overwhelming majority of Blues have a very realistic take on what Everton as a club can achieve this season. Silva and his squad needs time. The LONGER Everton stayed in the League Cup IMPROVED the manager's and the squad's chances of improving NOW, in THIS season.

You carry on shrugging your shoulders Justin and saying 'meh' at our feeble exit on Tuesday. That's your right. Keep convincing yourself of your 'rationale'. But I fancy you won't be converting many people to your point of view any time soon.

Ray Smith
55 Posted 04/10/2018 at 22:34:33
Justin 51

I agree with your comments, this is the start, with a long road ahead of us.

Silva should not have made 7 changes on Tuesday despite Southampton doing similar.

Justin is right when he says we are presently not good enough to win any of the cup competitions, and that is a fact.

I have sat through every minute of every Premier League game this season and, apart from the second half against Fulham, we have been nothing other than mediocre to poor.

Southampton: we were lucky to get the win.

Huddersfield: we fell into their trap and, quite honestly, they came for a point and got it. We were poor.

West Ham: need I say any more, when the away fans sing "You're supposed to be the home team!"

Fulham, we could have easily been two down at half-time. They clicked in the second half, and the finishing 11 should have started on Tuesday.

I thought the first half against Arsenal showed what we may be capable of, but it came to nothing in the second half.

It's no good calling for Silva's head. He will make mistakes, like we all do, but it's work in progress with no quick fix.

I think I'm a realist, but it's very frustrating being an Evertonian currently, and for more years than I care to remember.

Jay Wood

56 Posted 04/10/2018 at 22:56:10
Ray @ 55.

"Justin is right when he says we are presently not good enough to win any of the cup competitions, and that is a fact."

No Ray. That constitutes an opinion, not a fact.

You (and Justin) seem to wish to ignore the entire history of Association Football.

Knock-out, one-off cup games always, always, but always produce 'cupsets' (to adopt a modern turn of phrase).

History also shows emerging teams often win a domestic cup one season and go on to challenge – even win – the league the next.

Think Everton-Watford in the mid-1980s.

I (and others) am not out and out claiming Everton WILL win the League Cup (not this season already!) or the FA Cup. But the longer you stay in ANY knock-out cup competition, by default, your chances of winning it increase.

To passively accept our exit from one of the two cups we could realistically compete for, to be 'relieved at having one less distraction' to our season, as Justin has evidently displayed in recent days, strikes me as a paradox as to what a football supporter should desire for his club.

Anthony Murphy
57 Posted 04/10/2018 at 23:00:26
Ray, I get some of that, but saying it's a fact we aren't good enough to win one of the domestic cups ignores the many times less fancied teams have done so.

What upsets most is that we should be beating Southampton and Norwich and Swansea etc etc etc. We simply should be challenging more than we are doing. We should be giving fans something to get excited about and should be battling with everything we've got to end that trophy drought.

I would love a trip to Wembley, would love to see the likes of Jagielka sign off with a bit of silverware and would love to get the fans believing in Silva and the direction we are heading.

Ray Smith
58 Posted 04/10/2018 at 23:08:36
Jay @56

Point taken about opinion and fact. Perhaps I should have used 'IMO'.

Yes cup upsets do happen, but we need to play our strongest side which may well have seen us through to the next round, rather than making 7 changes. Unless we adopt that approach we will continue to go out in the early rounds year after year.

I have been an Evertonian from the age of 13 for 54 yrs and nobody feels a defeat more than me. Things will change for the better, but it won't be a quick fix.

Go for a trophy, but play your best team, because that's how they gel together, rather than playing one game then out of the next.

Ray Smith
59 Posted 04/10/2018 at 23:12:37
Anthony @57,

I hear what you say, but making 7 changes won't get us to where we all want to be, IMO.

Trevor Peers
60 Posted 04/10/2018 at 23:25:26
Justin @51; The old belief that, given enough time, a manager will produce success, is a fallacy. It may have worked in the past but not in the modern game.

The days of waiting 2 seasons for a manager to impose his ideas and cobble together a team that will win trophies are long gone.

There has to be an immediate effect, certainly within 6 months. When or if success comes along, there will be a unanimous consensus that it has arrived, it will sweep the club and supporters along with a surge of confidence.

If a winning formula doesn't arrive by the end of this season with Silva, it may never arrive, no matter how well regarded he is as a coach by some supporters. He will be judged by wins and wins alone.

Brian Porter
61 Posted 04/10/2018 at 23:39:53
I've held back from commenting for 48 hours, hoping my fury would have subsided by now. It hasn't and that's not good. I truly am still furious that Silva lied to us when he said he wouldn't be making wholesale changes to the team for Tuesday.

LIAR, LIAR, yes Mr Silva, that's what you are and if there is one thing in life I hate, it's a liar.If seven changes is his idea of not many, God help us if he really went to town with changes.

As more than one poster has already said on here, Silva crossed a line on Tuesday with many fans, me included. The man can't be trusted. He's forfeited that right and let's be honest, results so far aren't exactly inspiring are they? Why should we trust him to make things any better than they are at present? I certainly don't.

In 60 years as a supporter, I've never felt so angry at a manager. Didn't this man do his homework before accepting the job? Did he not know that Sam Allardyce didn't connect with the fans who are wanting to see our team going out to try and win every match, and most importantly, to win a trophy?

As supporters we turned on Allardyce soon enough and it won't be long before something similar happens if he continues to mislead us and deliberately break up a winning team, resulting in us meekly exiting one of the competitions we seriously could have gone for this season.

He's not here to keep fringe players happy. He's here to win matches and that means playing your best line-up in every game unless forced to make changes through injury or suspension.

I admit to not wanting another manager with relegation on his CV but was willing to give him a chance but the events of this week have shown him to be a loser, not a winner.

Why rest players when we have a two-week break coming up? Why throw a team together in which most of those selected haven't even played together in a competitive match? He set us up to lose and that I can't and won't forgive.

Top 6? With this man in charge, I think we will be lucky to scrape into the top ten. Bottom half is more likely unless he can stop us leaking goals.

No Silva lining here, I'm afraid.

Still furious!

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