Season Appears Over for Embarrassing Everton

When you look back on it, there was a horrible inevitability about this result; the kind of predictability that makes you faintly embarrassed to have instilled any faith that it might have ended differently

Lyndon Lloyd 16/05/2021 51comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 1 Sheffield United

When you look back on it, there was a horrible inevitability about this result; the kind of predictability that makes you faintly embarrassed to have had any faith that it might have ended differently. How many Evertonians spent the past few days since an admittedly lifeless display at Villa Park, albeit one that at least yielded a point, convincing themselves that, despite a litany of dreadful results at Goodison Park since Everton scraped a win over Southampton at the start of March, this matchup with one of the worst sides in the history of the Premier League would yield a different outcome to the home defeats to Leeds, West Ham, Burnley, Fulham, Newcastle and Aston Villa?

Before today, Sheffield United had lost 15 of their 17 away games this season and were averaging 0.5 goals per game. Their relegation, a virtual certainty for weeks beforehand, was confirmed more than a fortnight ago and they had three of their first choice players missing so elected to hand a 17-year-old kid his debut up front.

Not surprisingly, Daniel Jebbison scored the game’s only goal and Everton, as spineless, aimless and toothless as they have been on home turf all year, failed almost completely to muster a meaningful response over the ensuing 83 minutes plus stoppage time. Needing to win to keep alive their prospects of qualifying for the Europa League, a target that felt like the bare minimum when the Toffees left Bramall Lane on Boxing Day sitting in second place, they followed up an abject first half with an even worse second before trudging off at full-time with their season effectively over.

Analysis of the performance would be largely redundant — it followed a familiar script of sideways and backwards passing, launched balls from the back, baffling tactics, a mystifying lack of movement in midfield or supporting numbers in attack, precious few options off the bench, and a crippling lack of confidence running throughout almost the entire side.

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Only Jordan Pickford, a player who has stood tall — literally and figuratively at times — in recent weeks could emerge from the match with any real credit and if it weren’t for his smart save to deny Jebbison a second goal after yet another horrendous error from Mason Holgate, Everton would have been dead and buried at 2-0 down by half-time.

With better finishing from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin — where have we heard that before? — late in the first half, things might have been different but somehow you doubt it. Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton have tended to be worse after half-time at home than before it and so it proved again this evening. Aaron Ramsdale in the United goal was called upon to make three excellent saves in the first 45 minutes but wasn’t worked in the second as the hosts just ran out of ideas.

It made a mockery of Everton’s top-six ambitions and was a damning indictment of the poverty of Everton’s recruitment in recent years. Frankly, it once again painted Ancelotti in a very poor light because despite it being one player short of his strongest line-up, this was a sorry rabble that looked more like a collection of complete strangers than the fluid, attacking side that began 2020-21 on a Spirit Of The Blues-engendering tear.

Everton could barely string more than a couple of passes together this evening, struggled to work their way past the Blades’ initial press and shifted in and out of an amorphous and indeterminate shape that left huge pockets of the pitch bereft of a single Blue jersey to find with the ball. In 78 minutes defined by mounting frustration, James Rodriguez tried his best to create something and might have had a goal or at least forced a save from the keeper were it not for a crucial block by a defender but he looked completely fed up by the time he was substituted in favour of Bernard. It was an achingly far cry from the day he grabbed a brace against Brighton last October and you had to wonder what was going through his head.

Rodriguez’s return to the lineup at the expense of Gylfi Sigurdsson was the only change from the team that started at Villa Park on Thursday but despite appearing to begin with the right attacking posture, Everton soon succumbed to a fast start by the opposition.

Jack Robinson easily evaded Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan before fizzing a square ball across goal for Jebbison who arrived unmarked as Ben Godfrey ill-advisedly stepped out to convert from around seven yards out. That put Everton in the kind of position in which they have struggled since the turn of the year — needing to chase the game but not being able to fashion enough chances to turn the contest on its head.

After Calvert-Lewin's shot had been deflected over, Ramsdale pulled off a smart save to deny Allan's goal-bound effort in the 11th minute while a 24th minute claim by Everton for handball in the box by Robinson was waved away by the officials.

John Fleck forced a parrying save from Pickford and Pickford blocked Jebbison's attempt to chip the ball over him following that awful giveaway by Holgate and the youngster's follow-up shot was charged down by Michael Keane.

James had been a disappointingly peripheral figure as Everton struggled to string more than a couple of passes together in what was an awful half of football from their perspective but he came close to serving up an equaliser.

First, he chested the ball down on the edge of the box and saw a decent shot deflect over the crossbar; then his superb cross picked out Richarlison but Ramsdale was equal to the Brazilian's downward header and Calvert-Lewin snatched at the rebound, firing straight at the keeper's midriff from close range.

Another ball over the top, this time from Keane, gave Richarlison another promising, albeit difficult, opportunity but he was unable to keep his volley down and he sliced it over the bar.

The start of the second half called for a big performance and a radical shift in posture from the Toffees but despite Sigurdsson coming in for Holgate and a shift to more of a 4-4-2 formation — it was a change in formation that should have been made in the first half but Ancelotti appears to have precious little faith in these players at Goodison that he has persisted with the setup that has worked so well away — Everton weren't much better after half-time.

John Egan did well to block an effort from Calvert-Lewin off Sigurdsson's neat pass and Richarlison had a powerful drive from a tight angle batted behind by Ramsdale but it was Sheffield United who came closer to scoring when

Enda Stevens picked out David McGoldrick in the box and Ben Godfrey had to block the striker's shot on the turn over the bar. From the resulting corner, Pickford had turn an Egan header over, although a foul was awarded to the home side for an infringement during the set-piece.

Ancelotti replaced Rodriguez and Doucouré with Bernard and André Gomes but Everton created nothing of note in the final 12 minutes plus stoppage time apart from a late, rising Godfrey header in stoppage time as they slumped to yet another loss at Goodison.

With two games left, sixth place remains mathematically possible but it feels somewhat ridiculous to believe that this team, playing the way it is, is capable of picking up the six points that would make it possible assuming results went the Blues’ way elsewhere. The return of a few thousand fans on Wednesday for the visit of Wolves will help and might, perhaps, offer a glimmer of hope that a change in the milieu at Goodison will help the players but it shouldn’t have to come to that.

Thoughts can legitimately turn to what is shaping up to be another massive summer at the club, with the list of players who could safely be jettisoned (assuming buyers could be found) growing by the week.

There’s no question that an influx of top-quality signings would improve this Everton squad but this horrendous run of home form and the ugly football that has characterised the team for the majority of the season has built a wall of worry and doubt over Ancelotti himself and whether he has what it takes to fashion a winning side out of pieces that are not universally top-quality. He seems to be at a loss to explain why his current charges can’t even get the basics right but questions are inevitably raised over how they’re coached.

The Italian has an abundant trophy cabinet and a glowing reputation but he has never faced a task like this and, 18 months into the job, it appears to be getting the better of him. The budget doesn’t exist for Marcel Brands to go out and buy him a team of superstars to mould into a side capable of consistently getting results to propel the club into the upper echelons of the Premier League; instead, Ancelotti is going to have to draw on every ounce of his man-management skills, experience and football acumen as next season will not be any easier.

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Reader Comments (51)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 17/05/2021 at 06:50:24
The sad but simple fact is that, since the end of Roberto Martinez's first season, Everton have just been an irrelevant club.

Gareth Williams
2 Posted 17/05/2021 at 06:53:30
Another terrible performance at Goodison Park. Carlo has been here18 months now and I don't think we have improved much at all. A lot of fans are starting to question him now.
Nicholas Ryan
3 Posted 17/05/2021 at 07:43:16
Well, it's Sale Sharks for me from now on!
Phil Wood
4 Posted 17/05/2021 at 07:50:42
Nail on the head, Jim (1).
Pete Sexton
5 Posted 17/05/2021 at 08:02:31
Carlo Magnifico – Time to burn that flag... Now!

How loud can 6,500 fans boo?

Geoff Williams
6 Posted 17/05/2021 at 08:27:17
Poor tactics, poor team selection and a reluctance to act when it was obvious certain players were off their game sums Ancelotti up. I am more convinced than ever that he is not suited to the Everton job.

His previous track record is irrelevant as the game has moved on and he is looking more and more of a dinosaur. Fingers crossed that he gets the invitation to manage Real Madrid.

Bill Fairfield
7 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:08:34
The football we are playing is as bad as anything seen over the past three seasons. Typical Everton – one step forward, three steps back.

The way the team is coached and set up needs serious scrutiny.

Rob Beattie
8 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:25:55
Where to start...? A quite baffling season.

Carlo. I have criticised him on Twitter and been proved wrong with his change of tactics that have turned a game. No doubt he can attract players. Worth another season. Top bloke.

Pickford. He used to give me kittens. Since the Anfield game, quite superb.

Olsen. He always looks confident, sound. Will he want to be permanent back-up?

Virginia. I think he's looked okay. Dodgey spell at Reading though????

Coleman. A top bloke, but not good enough. Can defend but, going forward, you can see sometimes he has no idea what he's going to do. His finishing is abysmal and his crossing and final ball are poor.

Holgate. He's not in good form. Mistakes a-plenty. His heading under pressure is suspect – the Spurs game and I recall the Man City game where we were 1-0 up at the Ethiad and he cushioned a header down to Sterling, 1-1. I wouldn't shed tear if we got £££ for him.

Godfrey. A big plus. I dunno what he was doing for Sheffield Utd goal though? Hopefully lesson learnt.

Keane. Okay.

Mina. I really like him. Aggressive, strong. Can drop clangers though.

Digne. A top player. His crossing of late is not up to his normal excellent standard. Hopefully his worst spell.

Allan. A class act.

Gomes. A quality player. Not in his best form but hopeful he will be back next season.

Doucouré. Yes and no. Engine, work, breaking up opposition attacks, superb. On the ball, though, he can look a donkey. Doesn't create much and has put us under the cosh with some terrible balls. Do we need him and Allan? Although he may release Allan forward a bit more?

Sigurdsson. Nope, Get rid. He never wins a challenge. Creates little other than set-pieces, which is is not enough.

Bernard. He's one of those who has never been given a proper chance, imo. Call me old-fashioned but I like players who can control a ball and play football. His first touch is usually superb. I would like to see him in the No 10 role, definitely ahead of Sigurdsson. I was happy his transfer fell through. Keep.
Iwobi. For fuck's sake... what is he on? Someone on Twitter described him as resembling someone who has taken a tray out of hot oven running round in circles looking for somewhere to put it down. The worst crosser and passer of a ball I think I have ever seen. Take whatever we can get.

Davies. I don't know... He has not kicked on, for me. Has has good games though. My big problem with him is, a pass-back is his go-to pass. I want to see more forwards, get over the gain line.

Richarlison. What a talent. Proper footballer. Not at the moment though. I don't know what's up with him. Hopefully his worst spell at Everton.
James. A Rolls-Royce. Fingers crossed for a full uninjured pre-season.

Calvert-Lewin. I really don't get the hype. Can't shoot, can't dribble, can't create for himself or others... How many assists? Okay at hold-up play, no more than that. Can head. Never confident he will score when one-on-one, The hype started around his winner in the U21 World Cup. That was the result of a botched one-on -one. He only had to pass the ball into the net yesterday. 21 goals, yeah, all but a couple laid on plate. Not knocking effort but the guy just ain't good enough.

Tosun. He's never been given proper chance. Proven goalscorer, internationally and in Turkey. I would not mind if he was here next season, if he is to be given a chance.

King. Another who's never been given a chance.

Kean. He could be explosive... Who knows? We need to play him if we keep him.

So, so, so frustrated this season. At least we won at Anfield ... straws to clutch.

Roll on next season... and breathe!

Brian Ronson
9 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:28:04
Ancelotti has allowed too many players come into the"undroppable" catergory... Richarlison being the prime example.

Having said that, when they are putting in such a poor performance you look to anyone on the bench and there isn't one player who you would look at and say he can make a difference. Iowbi being a prime example.

To that extent, you have to point the finger at Brands. I know King was allegedly injured last night but why send Tosun out on loan to bring in King and then not play him? Couldn't Tosun have warmed the bench just as well? That transaction was done, I would imagine, at high cost.

Moshri must despair on occasion. He has made the wrong decisions on occasion but, give the man his due, everyone thought he had pulled off a masterstroke by bringing Ancelotti in. We will see the true character of Ancelotti if he comes out categorically denying any link with Real Madrid.

A number of players have come to Everton on the strength of Ancelotti being the manager and, if he went, they and all the supporters would rightly feel let down.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:40:57
Lyndon, you write this report of the game as though you are as depressed with Everton and were we stand as a club as most of us are feeling. Mr Ancelotti doesn't seem to have the answers which will end this pitiful run of games at Goodison Park, or the squad are not listening to what he is asking them to do.

A few posters have said they have had enough of Everton, some add that ToffeeWeb makes them want to leave the site because of other posters. Personally, I have followed Everton for a long time and I have never been as down as I am now, supporting the Blues, and I feel that the uninspiring football produced by the manager and squad is the main reason for Evertonians switching off from the team, club and ToffeeWeb.

I'm content with ToffeeWeb and will always stick with the team. It's in the background and the way the club is run that makes me feel the despair I do over the future of the club; it can't go on like this.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:42:33
I don't want to see Ancelotti go because I believe it's something rotten deep within the club that's festered for years... But, at the end of the day, it's hard to see him staying for much longer.

I'd feel hypocritical 3 years ago calling for Sam Allardyce's head when the football we played back then is exactly what's on offer now.

You can also argue that Allardyce had an even worse squad than what's on offer now but finished 8th.

The only saving grace for Ancelotti is the away form but, if that goes next season and we are still clueless at Goodison, then I think it's all over before December for him, sadly.

When you have players that represent Brazil, England, France, Portugal etc etc and you can't get them to pass a ball to feet, move, shoot, then you must really be doing something wrong in training.

Don't even get me started on the lack of motivation from these wasters, but again if you have a bunch of lazy twats working for you, it's up to the gaffer to shape them up or be ruthless and ship them out.

Christopher Timmins
13 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:43:42
That only a short number of weeks ago, we were in the hunt for a Champions League spot, seems ridiculous this morning and shows up a complete lack of depth in quality in the teams competing in "the best league in the world". That West Ham were also in contention until recently for a top 4 spot just confirms this view.

The team's confidence is shot to pieces at present and they do not look like ever winning at home. Eventually, results start to align with performances; you can't depend on the Gods to get you across the line every week. It looks as if we will finish somewhere between 10th and 7th; if I had to make a stab at it, at present I would say most likely 9th.

It's been a difficult road since Roberto's first season in charge. I did think that things were going in the right direction in the early part of the Siva reign, until the Anfield set-back totally knocked us and again during the back end of that season when we put a run together to finish 8th.

When Brands was employed by the club, the model was for a young coach to come in and work with the young talent that he acquired. Siva was selected to be that coach; maybe if we had chosen one of the successful German coaches, things might have worked out differently. Or maybe if the 11 that played the last 10 games of Silva's first season were kept intact, we would be in a better place.

This summer's transfer window is crucial and we can't afford any more mistakes. This team needs pace in almost every sector. We also need to offload those who are out of contract.

A sad day to be a Blue!

Jimmy Hogan
14 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:45:13
I just want the season to be over. I'm getting sick of the bad moods it's giving me.
Brian Harrison
15 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:56:02
Where do we go from here? I feel really depressed and am glad I didn't apply for a ticket for the Wolves game.

I actually think we are in bigger trouble now than we have been for a long time, and the reason I say that is I am not convinced that Moshiri and/or Usmanov will plough in the amounts they have done with money needed to build a new stadium.

I was delighted when Carlo joined us; at last, we had appointed a man whose CV was second to none. But maybe age has caught up with him and, because he has won everything, some of the motivation is no longer there.

He has been a great ambassador for the club and well respected by everybody in football, but we need the Carlo from 15 years ago. Can he reinvent himself? I am now doubting he can.

I am sure, if he went to Real Madrid, with the players they have, he would still be successful. But can he, with a couple of very astute buys, turn our lot into a decent team? I am not sure.

Tony Everan
16 Posted 17/05/2021 at 09:59:38
Lyndon, another fair analysis of our so-called football team. So-called as we don't play much football and we certainly don't look like a team.

“Players can't get the basics right, raises questions about how they are coached.”

This notion raises all the sirens and alarm bells.

What this would mean is that any new signings will fall into the same black hole of confusion. We are not a properly functioning team, we don't have any identity or playing style. Players are frustrated confused and unable to make any kind of fluid play. Passing is bad, control is bad, ball retention is bad, mutual understanding is bad, togetherness and team spirit is bad, fight and determination is bad.

Not all of this is down to the inadequacies of the players.

There's rot elsewhere: coaching, team spirit and togetherness is not right. It hasn't been for a long time. Every time we play, it's like seeing eleven new signings having their first game together: no understanding and no interplay.

Every match at Goodison, the opposition turns up with the same basic tactics. Rapid press our midfielders when we are trying to pass it out and we will crumble into pieces.

Then we will resort to long punts which teams like Sheffield Utd or Burnley treat as chicken feed. It's exactly what they want us to resort to. It's the same as the hopeful crosses from 35 yards up the pitch – chickenfeed to any well-drilled club of any standing in the Premier League or Championship.

These long punts or speculative crosses do not create chances or goals. We have to play through the lines with rapid passing, or have pace and skill. Or, skill and pace to beat the full-back, or use overlapping to get behind to get effective and meaningful dangerous crosses in.

We don't have enough of this at the moment. Almost zero.

Conclusion: Don't expect new signings on their own to change things; that's only part of the solution.

Rennie Smith
17 Posted 17/05/2021 at 10:40:27
It's another morning after another thoroughly depressing performance. I'm usually on the positive side of this site in terms of contributors, but some of this shower seriously do their best to bring us down.

I've said all season that we're not a great team but we're not a shit team and previous thread comments like "we are in bigger trouble now than we have been for a long time" are understandable but wide of the mark. You can see and hear in Carlo's comments just how angry and frustrated he is by them; I hope that translates into action. But as always it probably depends more on sales than buys.

Our home form won't be the same when we're back in the Grand Old Lady, just like it won't for all the other teams (remember, we're not alone in being shite at home this season). But it will need a change in play; people actually taking responsibility for their actions and not just taking the easy sideways or backwards way out.

Dave Williams
18 Posted 17/05/2021 at 10:46:20
Jim #11, very well put. This is not just a case of players not seeming too bothered, it is the complete lack of basics which is so alarming.

I posted yesterday evening asking who dictates the tactic of square and backwards passing? Is this the manager or are the players doing this despite being told to move the ball forwards by the manager?

Why is Holgate, who we were all saying last season should be skipper and in the England team, playing so poorly and is riddled with basic errors?

Why break up the Digne - Richarlison combo on the left when neither player is anything like as good when Richarlison plays centrally?

Why loan out or sell so many wide players (who admittedly weren't very good), leaving us so short in that area?

Why take King on loan if the manager clearly doesn't rate him enough to give him a chance?

Why persist with such slow players in midfield? One on his own can be accommodated but not two or three together.

Why drop Tom Davies when he has been playing well, looks for the forward pass, and adds energy and effort to midfield?

Why meddle so much with central defence, giving the players no chance to forge a decent partnership?

Despite the above, I am not just blaming the manager. The players have been pitiful and should hang their heads in shame after the way they have played in 2021. James cannot be accommodated in a team with weaknesses like ours, we need 10 outfield players who can contribute 100%. Likewise Sigurdsson, a luxury player who produces the odd goal or assist but is a passenger the rest of the time.

The game has changed in this country with high press all over the pitch being in vogue. Most of our players need time to dwell on the ball and are dispossessed too easily. Mourinho has been shown to be unsuited to the way the game has changed and I suspect Carlo is also being left behind, unable to cope with the changes in the methods used by English teams.

Does he need to go? First I would love to know who decided on the square or backwards passing game but this must surely be the manager? My fear is that, if he stays, he will buy more elderly players rather than some energetic and ambitious young players who will put a rocket up the ones who stay. James should be thanked for his moments of skill and sold along with a depressing number of others who we all know will be difficult to shift.

A big summer awaits – now where have I heard that before?

Benjamin Dyke
19 Posted 17/05/2021 at 10:55:46
It's tough right now. It would be easier if you could discern an upward curve, or some idea or identity but I can't. And the worst thing is that I don't think the coaching staff have an idea of where we're going either.

We can enjoy the hoodoos we've broken this year but I'd honestly rather have a discernible identity and way of playing and players that seem to thrive in their roles, like Leicester. We're going nowhere fast and it is really hard for me to bothered when having watched every game the only one we were clearly superior was v Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup and the rest were apathy inducing.

What is going on at Everton. Carlo seems a really decent guy with a great track record with top clubs but he's being beaten by the Everton problem as far as I can see right now. Depressing.

Thomas Tuchel shows what a difference a new coach can make but he also has a much better squad. Has our recruitment really come on since the days of Moyes...? I don't honestly think so, despite the immoral sums we've spent. I could stomach this all more and have less frustration if we'd spent peanuts.

Jamal Hassim
20 Posted 17/05/2021 at 11:59:00
The comments from everyone here echo what I believe every Toffee fan out there is feeling.

I've been a supporter for 30 years and have always read but never commented on articles and posts here (excellent work, ToffeeWeb Team, btw). But after yesterday, I can't help but finally post something.

I spoke to the CEO of the current Premier League Champions in 2019 and asked him what he felt was wrong with the Blues; his response was very simple: "Lack of winning a mindset throughout the club; from the owners to the players. Happy with little victories on occasion." That I believe sums up EFC in a nutshell.

The winners in and around EFC are the fans (us long suffering fools) who have put up with the dross decade after decade (Yes! Decades not years...). We turn to the Team as our heroes to lift us at the end of a hard week at work and at home... but the players and everyone else at the club on the playing end clearly don't give a shit.

I say that we should return the favour and don't give anything back to the Club until owners and management get the message and do a thorough introspection of how they manage the Club and the Team. I don't think there's any more point of us looking at lineups and managers etc until the owners are able to permeate a winning mindset through the entire organization; otherwise, every season it's a question of papering over the monumental cracks that exist throughout EFC.

I for one have had enough of being let down by the Club and feeling worse after every match. Thinking of playing in Europe with the current setup is a joke because it will sap the Team (not to mention fans) to the point of making relegation from the Premier League a real prospect (maybe not a bad thing to force a total rethink at EFC).

For real inspiration, go and see how Barnsley FC are being managed and what they have quietly been doing.

I salute all of you here for being lowly and supportive all these years; what would EFC be without all of you?

Andrew Ellams
21 Posted 17/05/2021 at 12:25:28
What we are seeing now is the same that Man Utd saw with Van Gaal and Spurs with Mourinho. It doesn't matter what they've done before, it's what they are going to bring now and none of them had any new ideas.

Klopp had an okay CV but it didn't match those 3, but now he's leaving them behind because his style of play and general approach is evolving.

John Schrempft
22 Posted 17/05/2021 at 12:38:50
65 years a fan and counting. Yesterday was one of the worst matches that Everton have played in that time. About the same as the Liverpool FA Cup game against their U18s.

After 6 games, we were top of the Premier League... athough it proved to be short-lived. What has gone wrong.? Training? Tactics? Morale?

Learn to pass accurately, reduce the constant passing sideways. Then you can pass the ball out of defence instead of hoofing it upfield. It invariably comes back. I know, they're obvious basics but are they doing them?

It would be nice if Richarlison didn't scowl through the whole match. Perhaps he knows he's not playing well.

Ken Kneale
23 Posted 17/05/2021 at 12:50:27
Tony @16 and Dave @18. You both make some really excellent points as ever.

I really do not recall in any period of support being more frustrated – that is no mean achievement in 50+ years of following the club. But our combination of poor leadership on and off the field, spending mind-boggling sums of money to go further backwards, our standard of football being at an all-time low and the overall malaise within the club is really rather a lot to cope with when so much of our emotional investment as supporters is tossed away, week after week, by those representing the club.

Danny O’Neill
24 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:02:08
That's interesting, Ken. As down as I am today about Everton, in perspective, we are nowhere near as bad as we have been as in some of the dark days of my 49 years.

Awful performance last night but, in the context of where I've seen us over the years, I'm desperately trying to separate angry frustration from looking where we are in comparison to where I've seen us.

Rennie Smith
25 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:09:44
I know we all look at this through a royal blue lens but I'd be interested to know if people think this is just another case of "Everton that" or actually we need to look at it in the context of this mad season? How many other fan forums up and down the country are feeling the same frustration and bitterness because of weird results?

In a season where Villa can beat Liverpool 7-2, surely we also need to take this into account when reviewing the whole picture?

Bill Rodgers
26 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:12:37
We are the worst team in the Premier League. Yes, I know we will finish 10th - so theoretically there are 10 teams worse. But we have big game players with quality who will ensure that we will finish mid-table by performing now and then. But as a team – you know, teamwork, commitment, intensity, pride and passion – we are the worst.

And we have not learned any lessons despite being like this for at least a decade. We expect a quick fix from a mercenary manager. We expect big signings to make a difference but they simply patch up a broken system. We tell young players they are great – so they believe it and give the ball away with a shrug.

We need to clear Finch Farm of legends, heroes and dinosaurs. We need to rebuild from scratch – so anyone who wants away can go. Those only here for £11m can also go - as can any youngsters with ideas above their performance. It may take 3 or 4 years – but we need to build a system, a team and a passion.

Colin Roberts
27 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:21:37
Like most of us, 'bitterly disappointed' does not adequately express my feelings after that display. I am not sure however that being prepared to boo before the game against Wolves is helpful. The idea of fans returning is to give as much support to our team even if they don't actually deserve it at times.

There needs to be a clear-out during the summer and a clear idea of how the team is to be set up to pose a threat to the opposition which has been sadly lacking recently.

Over the last 10 games, we have managed 7 goals, winning just 2. On this form, unless major changes occur, we would be totally embarrassed should we scrape into Europe.

Raymond Fox
28 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:39:46
The strange thing is that it matters not who the manager or the players are, we get the same scenario each season!

If I didn't know better, it is as if the club are cursed. We all get our hopes up only to have them dashed as usual.

To be honest, watching rugby is now far more entertaining than watching overpaid prima donnas passing sideways and backwards for most of the games, and I'm not only talking about our players.

Howard Sykes
29 Posted 17/05/2021 at 13:53:03
Moyes – come back. All is forgiven!
Barry Rathbone
30 Posted 17/05/2021 at 14:17:11
Howard @29,

The great thing about a Moyes return would be the comfort of knowing we won't compete. Uninspired stability is most underrated because, without expectations, you can't be let down – it's a doozey!!

Go get him, Moshiri... just think how you can recover some of your losses by halving the size of that new stadium. It's a win-win when you think about it.

Kieran Kinsella
31 Posted 17/05/2021 at 14:21:21

Very true!

Tom Bowers
32 Posted 17/05/2021 at 14:46:54
10th spot looking good now. Liverpool 3rd.

So another flop-filled season and the usual suspects win out again.

Rick Tarleton
33 Posted 17/05/2021 at 15:41:48
Lyndon has summed it up more cogently and succinctly than I could manage. Can I ask what happens to Everton youngsters in their second season?

Ross Barkley looked a world beater.

Remember that Man City game when Tom Davies stood out as a teenager as the best player on the pitch?

A year ago, Holgate was being mentioned as a possible England player.

Add Kenny and Lookman to the mix and you wonder why our youngsters don't kick on like a Foden or a Mount.

Something is rotten in the state of Everton.

Ken Kneale
34 Posted 17/05/2021 at 17:13:01
Hi Danny @24,

I used the word 'frustrated' by choice for that reason.

Like all of us, many desperate moments over a half-century of support is inevitable – I just cannot think of one currently where eye-boggling spending, desperate boardroom appointments, mercenary players and mind-numbing football quality have combined so effectively to so little effect other than to drive us all to emotional despair as reward for our loyalty.

Simon Dalzell
35 Posted 17/05/2021 at 18:35:05
Carlo has said today that these aren't his type of players. This is a damning indictment. Others, commentators and fans, have said as much.

This tells you everything. Getting somewhere near the best out of what you have available is the bottom line. He doesn't even pick the right starting line up. Cannot make the right subs, and obviously doesn't motivate. He basically needs players that are so good, they barely need coaching then.

I've never said he needs sacking, and still don't, but I have very little faith.

Mike Doyle
36 Posted 17/05/2021 at 19:20:42
Howard #29 & Barry #30.

Moyes coming back second time wouldn't be a good idea. The concern is that BK probably thinks it would be – which would become a very big concern it Carlo was pushed or walked. It didn't work with Kendall. Over the road, it didn't work with Dalgleish either.

That aside we seem destined for 8th place (at best) and seem to need about 8 new players to stand a chance of cracking Top 6.

As much as I rate Ancelotti, the increasing concern is what he is able to achieve without a squad of top class players because he's not going to have one any time soon.

Robert Tressell
37 Posted 17/05/2021 at 19:43:52
Raymond @28. Doesn't matter who the manager is - it's the same scenario. This says to me:

- the playing staff needs a lot of work; and

- there's misalignment between Moshiri, Brands and the managers

We talk a lot about the former. It's a huge problem - but it's arisen because of the latter.

Moshiri has been generous but he's running the club badly. I've said plenty of times that I believe he isn't interested in footballing success. The first season or two taught him that success comes at higher price than he was expecting. So now we have a glamour manager and a few glamour players to keep us relevant while he builds the stadium and renovates the docks. Neither managers nor Brands get their own way - it's always an uneasy compromise perpetuating our dysfunctional squad.

Jerome Shields
38 Posted 18/05/2021 at 07:21:43
Against Sheffield United, it was obvious that players were not prepared and not trying. I agree that there are a lot of players that are below the standard requirement, but there are those that are preparing them that are below the standard required also, and are not too bothered. It's a deeper problem than the obvious problem that is being reflected on the surface.

Recruitment-wise, players were brought in prior to Ancelotti's arrival that were sub-standard, but also given contracts they were not worth. No-one in Everton is admitting to that. Ancelotti is calling out what the problem is. The perpetrators of the problem on and off the field are silent and are probably not too enamoured with Ancelotti's comments after the last two games or the loss before that.

Speaking to a friend who does not support any team, but watches all games, he said: "Everton were pretty bad and hopeless, didn't look as if they were trying. Anybody could have scored the goal. " He was more interested in talking about the FA Cup Final, which I hadn't watched.

I told him what I thought. He said he thought that players would want to play in competitions and achieve things given their short careers, but for some reason, which he did not understand, Everton players were not like that. I said a lot of fans don't understand either, including myself.

The only explanation I can give is Ancelotti and his crew are alone and the rest have downed tools in response throughout the club. I don't even think we will get a Bramley-Moore Dock update to try to take the heat off.

In the last two games, they will be hoping Real Madrid will come knocking, so they can help Ancelotti on his way. They are that brazen and barefaced. To them, the fans are irrelevant. Even if fans were able to attend, it would be used to put pressure on the manager. Many of us have attended games like that under previous managers – and who do you think left the Club as a result?

Mark Murphy
39 Posted 18/05/2021 at 07:25:09
Dave @18.

You list, correctly, a lot of flaws in the team's line-up but then say you don't blame the manager. I know how you feel, I desperately want Carlo to succeed... but maybe it's time we did start to blame the manager.

He's the one who moved Richarlison from the left. He's the one leaving out Davies. He's the one swapping the centre-backs around. And he's the one insisting on this ridiculous scenario of 2 defenders in our 6-yard box for goal-kicks. I feel dirty for saying it but he's not doing the job he should be capable of.

We got beaten by a team of inferior players and a stand-in coach. Well beaten. Not one of their team should be considered for our squad and they beat us in every department.

I wish there could be 37,000 there against Wolves to bay for blood. It's time we faced reality and stopped giving Carlo such an easy ride.

Steve Hili
40 Posted 18/05/2021 at 07:47:42
When we bought James Rodriguez, I thought this season was going to be different. By September, I knew this season was going to be different. In January, it still felt different. And now…

I decided to leave it a couple of days after the Sheffield United debacle to write down my thoughts.

I’m seething. Carlo was right, we are an embarrassment. How is it possible that Everton can keep getting your hopes up, get you so close to breaking that glass ceiling, and then at the last possible moment just dash your hopes again? And again? And again? That’s consistency, the Everton way.

(Are there any Evertonians at Guantanamo Bay? Because if so, the CIA is wasting their time. We don’t have a breaking point!)

And so we’re pissed off. Of course we bloody are. The Blues’ lot in life is to be like that giant who is constantly trying to empty out a river using a thimble. Except our river is a river of shit. And we don’t have a thimble because the last one we won was in 1995, so instead, we just look at each other and talk about how much more it stank under Sam Allardyce.

And that is the main problem. We are fed up – 26 long years. (I bunked off my exams to see that game because I figured it would not happen again for a while, but fuck me...)

We are desperate for change. We need change. But things are changing: Arsenal away, Spurs away, Liverpool away.

Of course, the squad is not good enough. We have had terrible recruitment in the past, we have wasted so much oney but that is because we have had so many managers. The solution is not changing managers again. The solution is to give him a bit of time. And let him work his magic.

Carlo is not beyond criticism; some of his formations are baffling but, whilst this was our 26th season of disappointment, it was only his first one. And it was the strangest season ever.

I think he will get us there. And I think he will get us there sooner than we think. He needs backing – we need a ruthless overhaul of this squad, using all his clout to get the top players. (And ideally, in the transfer market Farhad will be happy for us to go for the finished article because, as a fanbase, we’re fed-up of waiting for players to hit their potential.)

We’ve been pushed to breaking point but we will get there. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy.

Rick Tarleton
41 Posted 18/05/2021 at 11:29:59
Just a thought, many of the threads on here mention a real or perceived lack of effort and desire on the part of the players. There was a brief time when this criticism wasn't levelled at the Everton squad. It was the period when Duncan Ferguson was the interim manager.

I certainly wouldn't like to leave the field and face Mr Ferguson if I hadn't given everything.

Jerome Shields
42 Posted 18/05/2021 at 13:02:51
Rick #41,

That was a few matches. Ferguson made it clear he was not ready for the job, knowing the extent of the job. What preparation has he made in the meantime? It is noticable he is not even in camera view in the dugout or seen carrying the proverbial kitbag.

He needs to prove and develop himself somewhere else, like Unsworth, which, like Unsworth, he will never do.

When the manager's job comes up again, he will have some other excuse, rightly afraid he would be gone for good after one season. He is only too aware of the deep problems at Everton and will let sleeping dogs lie.

Sure, the players may lift their game for a period, but their motivation and that of his backroom mates would inevitably disappear like snow off a ditch.

Ray Robinson
45 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:01:01
Two ways of looking at this dire predicament. One: Ancelotti has made some terrible tactical, substitution and team selections and has failed to motivate. Two: Ancelotti has done remarkably well to eke out 56 points from a snail paced, energy-less, shot-shy, impotent, imbalanced squad.

Not sure which I subscribe to yet. Elements of truth in both of them. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt until after another transfer window. With margins in the Premier League being so fine, it is unlikely that the second option of grinding out slender wins, playing dire football, will work as well a second time.

A big transfer window!

Jerome Shields
46 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:03:33
Ray #45,

These Winning % stats from Steve Brown on another thread may help:

Howard Kendall I - 54. 1%
Carlo Ancelotti - 46. 8%
Roberto Martinez - 42. 7%
Colin Harvey - 42. 6%
David Moyes - 42. 1%

The rest weere worse.

Ray Robinson
47 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:14:42
Jerome, Martinez 42.7%!!! Inflated no doubt by a great first season. Doesn't tell the true story though in my opinion. I rate him as one of Everton's worst managers!

Interesting stats though. Sort of confirms to me that the jury is still out. Ancelotti: Busted flush or making the best of a bad job? Discuss.

Would make a good A-Level question!

Jerome Shields
48 Posted 18/05/2021 at 14:48:27
Ray #47,

It shows where Ancelotti's frustration is coming from and the resistance he is facing. There must be a fight going on inside Everton, we are only seeing the surface of it.

Jay Harris
49 Posted 18/05/2021 at 15:08:51
If we don't see a reaction from the poor dears tomorrow, the fans will be baying for blood.
Pete Clarke
50 Posted 18/05/2021 at 15:36:08
Being a blue is tough and actually getting tougher with every managerial change we make. If Ancelotti can't get us going then the next chance of us getting any success will be by pure chance or a lot of luck.

Ancelotti has everything we could have wished for with a CV that is bettered by none. I do sincerely hope a drastic change happens in our playing style and results although it's going to have to be next season for us to see it.

My major doubts are as follows:

Who tells the players to welly the ball upfield from the kick-off? This is proper amateur stuff at best!

Who decides to drag every man back when the opposition have a corner? Where's the outlet for a breakaway? All this does is increase pressure.

Who decided to take our goal-kicks with two defenders in the box? If we are not a possession team, then what's that about?

Who decides that we have a back 5 when we play (other) poor teams? Can we not just have a go????

Who decides to play a combination of slow midfielders and leave us totally exposed? At least try one of the youngsters, for fuck's sake!

Why is our passing and ball retention so poor? Do they not do the drills at Finch Farm or is it all on the blackboard?? (Oops. Can't say that anymore... )

There are so many questions that come down to that man with the best CV but, even more worrying for me, is that Moshiri may well have too much respect for his employee to confront him and instead he just hopes like the rest of us that Ancelotti finds a formula that works.

I don't know how a manager of his pedigree can allow the shit show to go on like this without making drastic changes. The only way he can realistically blame the players is if they don't want to play for him. There's lots of average teams out there that play nice football.

Ian Burns
51 Posted 18/05/2021 at 15:50:24
Yet another depressing thread of many with regards to EFC, when will it end?

Moshiri is not going to get rid of Carlo and likewise the manager is here to prove he is up to the job. Any other thoughts are a waste of time. So where does the club go from here?

I believe Brands is the key (with Carlo's advice of course) but it is essential he gets rid of as much of this team as he can in the summer and replace them with players who are young, ambitious, hate losing and hate seeing their teammates not pulling their plonker and letting them know about it.

Players who give their all such as Ollie Watkins who never gives his opponent a moment's peace. They are out there Mr Brands, it is your job to find them and your job Carlo to make sure they are fit, angry and capable of representing this club I have supported for over 60 years.

After your recent utterances Carlo, if you are uttering the same complaints by December then the love-in with Moshiri and Crosby has to come to an end.

Ted Donnelly
52 Posted 18/05/2021 at 22:14:35
To be honest the manager has only made 4 signings so he's inherited a lot of utter dross. I think he rightly threw the team under the bus for the last performance and let's hope he's got a proper cob on and gets shut of the usual slackers. I personally hope he starts a load of kids against Wolves.
Paul Birmingham
53 Posted 19/05/2021 at 20:29:29
Ted @45, that some good perspective and based on players brought in, suggest there’s a long road ahead to get the balance and chemistry of players to make Everton good to watch and be consistent next season.

I’d like to think the away form this season won’t be a flash in the pan..

We shall see.

Still blind hope, and West Ham and Spurs to loose their last games and Everton to do mission very difficult at the Etihad.

Brighton winning last night proves they are beatable.

Hopefully City finish their season at home, playing like the start of the seasons, when they were getting beaten consistently at home for couple of months.

Enjoy the win All, stay safe and on to victory at the Etihad!

Yes celebrating a home win at last, with a few beers.

Paul Birmingham
54 Posted 19/05/2021 at 20:39:22
Ray @45, my apologies I was posting on a different thread in response to Ted..

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