Like many posters on ToffeeWeb, I am brassed off with the poor start we have made to the season considering the relatively "easier" opposition we have faced to date. However, the number of posters calling for Marco Silva to be sacked, and that he is not passionate enough, complaining that Marcel Brands has made some poor signings, and that we have no identity or style, seems to me to be a little short-sighted and short-term in its thinking.
Let’s just go back 18 months when Sam Allardyce was in charge, when we really were rubbish, playing with no identity or purpose. This forum was awash with people wanting us to get rid of Allardyce, wanting us to play fast, stylish, attacking football, who wanted our younger players to be given more of a chance, wanted the "old" rubbish moving out of the squad to be replaced by younger, hungrier players, or better quality players. Many demanded that we play with the "Everton" style of yesteryear (meaning the start of the 70s and the mid-80s).
Enter Silva and Brands who had to start from a position with a bloated squad filled with chancers, "past its" and "never make its". In their first transfer window they brought in Digne, Richarlison, Gomes, Zouma, Bernard and Mina. These players ticked all the boxes many were crying out for. Young, better quality, seemingly wanting to come and play for Everton. They started to rid the squad of many who were never going to make it at Everton but, because of the bloated salaries that they had all been "lured" on, they had to be loaned rather than transferred permanently.
Silva started to get us to play with some style; we all got excited, we were going to break into the top six. Then we had the winter slump. Silva was useless, his signings were rubbish. Then the team finally started playing how Silva wanted and we ended the season on a high. At the end of the season, most agreed that all the new signings (Mina excluded, mainly because of injury) had settled in well, had improved the team, and that we were playing with a style that we had missed for some time. The run-in at the end of last season even lifted Goodison Park back to what it used to be in terms of getting behind the team.
The close season started with us knowing we needed a centre-forward; we needed to retain Gueye, if possible; we needed to permanently sign Zouma. These three positions were the spine of the team and, whilst Calvert-Lewin had done well in the final run-in, it was obvious to most that he would struggle to score regularly. As we now know, none of these "essentials" were realised. The loss of Gana was tempered by the purchase of Gbamin, following the now-established — and supported by most on this site — pattern of buying young, emerging talent who actually wanted to come to Everton.
Despite the undoubted efforts to sign Zouma, or a suitable replacement, this failed – something Silva was clearly unhappy about before the season began. Filling the centre-forward position was always going to be difficult and to find a 15- to 20-goal-a-season striker who we could either afford or who would want to come to Everton was never going to be easy. However, still trying to follow the chosen path of buying young emerging talent, we have brought in Moise Kean.
Again, everyone pre-season was happy with this. Adding Delph, Sidibé and Iwobi (another young player) continued the re-building of the squad with the emphasis on youth, and with a definite upgrade in abilities even if they were not precise like-for-like replacements. Once again, many "hangers-on" were transferred or loaned out. Everyone on here seemed to be in agreement with this policy – except with regard to Jonjoe Kenny and Ademola Lookman. One needed game time which wasn't guaranteed if he stayed; the other didn't want to be here.
Pre-season, almost half the squad was absent on international duty or were signed late in the window, so had no time to train, let alone play together. At the start of the season, I suspect Silva would have been looking to play 4-3-3, his known preferred system, but, due to late signings of some of the key players to make this system work, he had to start with basically the same team and set up as last season. Delph, Gbamin (Gana's replacement), and Gomes would have been key players in this system. All have been injured during the first 7 games and have hardly played together. With the fit players at his disposal, it is difficult for him to change the playing formation.
So the team is once again adapting to the new players. Unfortunately Mina isn't Zouma and, as a result, Keane looks poor again. Coleman, whilst still giving his all, is in decline; Sigurdsson and Richarlison, our two main goa scorers in the system we play, are both off-form, and Moise Kean will need time as we cannot expect a 19-year-old kid to suddenly become the answer to our goal-scoring malaise.
So we have started very badly, but there are extenuating circumstances. The players being recruited were bought to play in a certain formation but, up to now, due to injury or loss of form to key players, Silva has not been able to field his best side, or play in the manner required. He has had to use the players he does have available and try to mould them into what he requires… many are falling short.
But let us not get away from the fact that we are re-building from a very expensively arranged disaster brought on by our past two managers.
Whilst I accept that we cannot keep waiting, year on year, for things to improve, if we continuously keep changing managers and playing philosophies, these problems will just re-occur and we will never get to where we all want our great club to be.
In conclusion I would say:
- We do have a more coherent and thought-through transfer policy which both Brands and Silva have introduced.
- The quality and potential of the squad is better (although many are currently off-form).
- The longer-term reducing of the age of the squad is undoubtedly better.
- We do have a manager, irrespective of what your views on his tactical knowledge are, who believes passionately in the club and who clearly hurts as badly as we do when things do not go to plan
- Brands has a proven record at his past two clubs of resurrecting failing giants, but he didn't do it in 15 months at either club. He needs time.
This is not the time to "start again"; we need to keep faith with the longer-term objectives and planning that both Silva and Brands have introduced. Form will improve as the various injured players return and Silva gets to play his preferred formations. We still need Zouma (or someone similar) in the next window and if possible a proven striker but we should not try to take a short-term fix and, in the process, cock-up the longer-term outcome.
Reader Comments (26)
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1 Posted 24/09/2019 at 18:21:54
I think most have realised that Silva, another in a line of unsuccessful candidates for the job, who has realised the job is way over his capacity to cope with. The old saying " a good craftsman, never blames his tools " rings true, and while we may not exactly be over-staffed with World Class players, I don't believe the majority have suddenly become that poor in a short space of time.
It has to be down to the Manager, and I'm afraid the buck stops with him. Either way if he hasn't got a recognisable system of football (which I personally doubt) or he can't get it across to the players to perform, something has to change!
2 Posted 24/09/2019 at 19:06:41
There have been improvements, but still a lot of work to be done. You need a core of steady management to keep progressing In Inevitability the areas that are more difficult to sort out, will raise their ugly head as and may only become apparent when the pressure is on.
You are right that changing Silva would not help this process. I don't think Brands will panic and Moshiri will listen to him.
I felt in the past that when Manager is under pressure, the backroom staff and players have not helped, even may have helped him on his way. I don't think that will work with Brands about.
3 Posted 24/09/2019 at 19:09:54
5 Posted 24/09/2019 at 23:17:01
Those two problems have been with us for some time, so they are 'Everton problems'. Whether Silva can produce consistency, and the mental toughness needed to overcome inevitable set-backs routinely, remains to be seen. The only way to know is to give him more time.
6 Posted 24/09/2019 at 23:21:53
7 Posted 25/09/2019 at 13:01:49
Most of the team's shortcomings were addressed last night at Wednesday and DCL even bagged a brace to prove his value as a star striker and the answer to our prayers !
8 Posted 25/09/2019 at 22:39:41
Russell, good article with a lot of good points, but I have not seen us play stylish attractive football many times under Silva. He is a one-system manager and, when it does not work, he simply will not change it. Week after week, we concede from set-pieces; week after week, the same formation; week after week, the same slow sideways passing.
So how long do we wait before we get rid of this second-tier manager?
9 Posted 25/09/2019 at 23:12:41
10 Posted 27/09/2019 at 15:59:10
11 Posted 27/09/2019 at 16:16:00
12 Posted 27/09/2019 at 16:45:23
Moyes was too defensive.
Martinez couldnt defend and spoke shite.
Koeman never got us and the football wasnt good enough.
Allardyce was fat Sam and the football was terrible.
Silva now lacks passion.
There are some truths in all of these statements, but changing the manager every year hasnt exactly worked for us has it?
We had the 4th best defence in the league last year, and were playing some great football at the end of the season. Hopefully Iwobi, Gbamin, Gomes, Kean and maybe Sidibé will give us something this year once they have settled in.
The last thing we need now are the perennial calls for the managers head now that we have lost 2/3 games...
13 Posted 27/09/2019 at 17:47:49
Losing Gana, then Gomes and Gbamin getting injured has damaged us more than anything.
Losing Zouma was a blow, but not all the defensive problems can be laid at Mina's door. I think the disjointed midfield, because of the reasons above, has preciptated our leaky defence.
Our forward line is better than the last ¼ of last season when we were on the march. I just don't think Silva has been configuring it right. Playing Kean through the middle against Sheffield Utd was a poor one. There were 30 crosses in the game, with that tactic, surely Calvert-Lewin should have been chosen, with Moise Kean coming on at 60 mins to play an attacking wide role.
The midfield will suffer again on Saturday against Man City unless we have an ultra combative closing-down attitude. Norwich did it and City suffered. Norwich worked for that win with pure graft.
We need to win battles like that on our own turf; against the better sides, we have to be prepared to graft for 90 mins and fight to the death to win. The top sides resent it and expect us to roll over. This attribute is Silva's duty to instill.
If we can out-battle Man City there will be chances against their makeshift defence. We can get a result.
14 Posted 27/09/2019 at 18:06:07
Although I have little faith I think we need to give him the chance to get Gbamin fit and Kean up and running and then judge whether he is just a relegation manager or a potential winner.
I believe Brands has been a good appointment and has certainly improved the quality of the squad but the jury is still out on whether Silva can mould this quality into an effective team.
15 Posted 27/09/2019 at 18:30:47
16 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:03:32
Not transition, project or whatever you want to use as an excuse for mediocrity and failure. Results are simply measured against the means and resources we have in our use. Silva has not delivered nor shown any indication he is able to produce any results. No matter how much resources he is given.
Allardyce "playing with no identity or purpose". Could you Russell clarify to us what are Silva's "identity or purpose"? I have not seen any sign of them so would be relieved to learn.
17 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:08:33
To be fair, I wouldn't sack him either - mainly because I'm not sure who we'd replace him with. However, I did read that we had £317M worth of footballers on the pitch against Sheffield Utd last Saturday and, from my seat, we didn't look like £317M worth of football team.
If I was Moshiri, I think I'd be quite keen to see some return on my investment sometime soon. It's all very well to see us as a work in progress, but there seems to be precious little progression.
18 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:27:16
Chopping and changing managers every year has left us with a mish-mash of a squad, some of whom are on top dollar that we are struggling to get rid of.
It's much better to avoid changing managers if we can, and to at least have a consistent approach to the way we are supposed to play, player recruitment, player development etc.
If it is not working out after 3-5 years, then we should change, but we need to get away from knee-jerk reactions and changing manager's every 18 months.
19 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:29:14
The main problem this season has been a lack of a striker who could score goals regularly. DCL made the big difference between Everton and Sheffield Wednesday last Tuesday by scoring those 2 goals in quick succession. If he had been prolific in Everton's first 6 premier league matches, Everton would be closer to the top than finding themselves in a disappointing position with 7 points from 6 matches.
I do not understand the point of having an under 23 team if they are not supplying players for the 1st team. Yet, Everton will cling on to under 23 players season after season with them having no hope of making the 1st team. It does appear whoever chooses players for the under 23s does not believe they can make the 1st team with all of them failing season after season accept for Tom Davies even though he struggles to get a game in the 1st team.
20 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:37:59
Do we want Allardyce back?
Do we want Koeman back?
Do we want Moyes back?
I am as upset and pissed off as anyone at our results in matches against Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Sheffield Utd but until Silva ca get the right balance in the team to play the system and style that he wants... we need to be patient (and thankful that it's not Koeman or Allardyce at the helm) and trust that Silva things will come good soon.
21 Posted 27/09/2019 at 19:56:51
The "mish mash" of a squad (my grandmother used to say that!) is being sorted out by Brands, very well in my opinion. How Silva uses that squad is a different matter.
The DOF and the manager are not joined at the hip. One hires, and ultimately fires, the other. My prediction is that, come next summer, Brands will be shopping for a CB, a creative midfielder and a new manager. Probably not in that order.
22 Posted 27/09/2019 at 21:23:34
23 Posted 27/09/2019 at 21:34:05
24 Posted 27/09/2019 at 21:57:04
25 Posted 27/09/2019 at 22:20:43
26 Posted 27/09/2019 at 22:25:27
You keep some strange company, Rob.
27 Posted 28/09/2019 at 04:57:47
Brands work is not independent of the manager. He might do all the contractual stuff and negotiating, but he is not acting alone in buying and selling players - Silva is just as involved in deciding who we buy and sell. If we change manager, that throws the balance of the squad up in the air again.
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