The late omission of Vitaliy Mykolenko led to Andros Townsend occupying the left wing-back role, while the late fitness call on Dominic Calvert-Lewin meant he was an unused substitute and the boss had to deploy the same front three that had started against Brentford just three days earlier.
The early departures of Yerry Mina and Demarai Gray left him unable to make impact changes in the second half. The game then quickly faded away, as Newcastle scored a second and a third without response from Everton to steal the victory.
Even after going ahead, we never really looked like winning the game. The dynamic duo of Demarai Gray and Anthony Gordon have often dragged us out of tough moments this season and they were clearly keeping our first half alive.
When the former left the field with a hip injury and debutant Dele Alli replaced him, we became noticeably disjointed and toothless. The out-of-position Richarlison had to feed on scraps, Dele was not match-sharp, and Gordon’s energy was not backed up with any support when he was in possession.
We’ve been saying all season that a midfield two does not work with the players Everton have and this showed again on Tuesday. With deadline day signings Dele Alli and Donny Van De Beek not yet deemed ready to start and multiple injuries elsewhere, Lampard was forced to use Allan and Andre Gomes who had not only played 90 minutes three days earlier, but have also regularly proven incapable of covering sufficient ground in a two.
Perhaps there is optimism to be drawn from the fact that this may be the last time that a midfield two is forced upon us, as Dele and Donny should hopefully be that little bit sharper by the weekend. Now the question is whether Lampard trusts his defence enough to warrant taking a man out of that backline, in order to bolster the midfield and defend higher up the field.
A concerning point about Tuesday night that I picked up on was that a game of this nature seems to happen several times every single season. No matter who the manager is or what tactics we opt for, the players seem to revert to type with no cohesion between them, losing the ball every time before they can reach the final third. The result is always the same, a whitewash defeat at the hands of a team we should be competing with.
There is clear mental weakness within this squad – whether this stems from the natural confusion of eight permanent managers in 10 years or the general lack of quality of the players we have signed, it doesn’t really matter. What is clear is that the squad is deeply tainted.
As a group they have a medley of instincts formed from the teachings of consistently poor managerial appointments. Instead of singing from the same hymn sheet when we need unity, we descend into chaos. After years with this as the norm, it has left a team in constant need of rebuild and the wrong people at the helm trying to deliver it.
I actually believe one of the successes of Rafael Benitez’s reign as Everton manager was the increased pressure on the board and the subsequent re-shuffle it prompted. I think Farhad Moshiri is finally beginning to understand the reality of the situation, that he must start listening and not impulsively taking matters into his own hands. His decisions have mostly taken the club backwards since he took over.
The 14 players that featured Tuesday night on Tyneside were signed by seven different managers, a damning assessment of Everton’s recent history and the imbalance our manager must tackle. We rely on a bewildering mix of players signed with different intentions and to play in different ways, and they didn’t even suit their original purpose that well when we bought them.
The baffling errors made by the board and previous managers still linger like a bad smell around this football club and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Refreshing the entire squad is not a quick fix, but we must put faith in one man now to inject his fresh ideas into the club and shift everything back in one direction. That direction, of course, being forwards.
To rise above this lull, Lampard needs to unify his squad and drill them like no manager that has gone before him. There is no room for confusion or passing blame anymore, they must show heart and work together. He also must have a clear tactical direction and understand what players he needs to buy to achieve that.
The men who have gone before him perhaps haven’t been as clear with their vision, or have allowed the club to purchase players that didn’t align with it. From Martinez to Koeman to Silva to Benitez, each time Moshiri has sacked a manager, he has done so with the team in a gradually worse position, the failures of the previous man making the job of the next that much harder.
Frank Lampard, the least experienced of any of the men to manage Everton permanently under Moshiri, undoubtedly has the most difficult job of them all. But the one thing that the Chelsea legend has shown already is the best understanding of Everton as a football club. He clearly feels the die-hard passion, the aura around the club, what it feels like and means to represent Everton.
That stands him in very good stead with the fans and, as we have shown many times before, nothing is more important than our fans. We are capable of dragging our team out of the doldrums and breeding the confidence when it is needed more than ever, and against Leeds United on Saturday, we must do it again.
The pressure on the players is greater than ever, we must start picking up points immediately. Seventeen games remain in our season and, if we wait any longer to start finding our feet, time could run out.
Lampard has to change the alarming trend we’ve become accustomed to where the wheels come off when we’re presented with an opportunity, or when we absolutely need a win. We have to forget context in every game, hit the reset button and grind out the wins together, team and fans united.
Of course, we shouldn’t have to drive this. These players earn millions every year and are responsible for both our glee and our disappointment. We trust the owners, the management staff and the players to give us a football team that make us proud and, for way too long, they have betrayed that trust.
But to support Frank in this mammoth task we have to reciprocate his energy. He wants to turn this club around and we have to give him all the encouragement we can to help him do that.
At its best Goodison is an amphitheatre of passion and inspiration for the Blues, and intimidation for any opposition no matter how big. Just as Frank is responsible for the rebuild of the team, we have to play our part in the return of Fortress Goodison.
Reader Comments (14)
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1 Posted 11/02/2022 at 16:26:31
"No matter who the manager is or what tactics we opt for, the players seem to revert to type with no cohesion between them, losing the ball every time before they can reach the final third. The result is always the same, a whitewash defeat at the hands of a team we should be competing with."
That is exactly right. We tend to get hung up on formations, zonal marking etc but you go back to the Atalanta to see that routine starting with Keane and Co.
2 Posted 11/02/2022 at 17:33:32
The reality is that the toffee fans are extremely hard to please - we can see that here in TW now and again. And I understand it, really. But as you say Matthew, is it time to start a new mindset of actually being the best of ourselves - regularly ? Use the energy of the new, young manager - and the promise of a new stadium to move this team along up to where we should be - fighting for honours and silverware instead of for our lives ? Not sure I would want to play for EFC if things are not going our way. Bit likle the song 'you only sing when you're winning' - I do wonder at times if we are just an incurable miserable bunch? Doesn't matter what the players earn - they are human beings who want a bit of love - just like we all like a bit of praise to push us onwards. Nothing to do with money. We will badly need to harness all the positive energy of Goodison, of our history and tradition, of our passion for football and hard work into a culture of loud support for a team badly in need of their 12th man. However that happens, a lot will depend on the fans going forward especially with the move to BMD.
I read somewhere this week : There is no reasonable alternative to optimism... If we rely completely on the team to get us going then we will be in trouble. So, heads up, singing voices oiled and COYB.
3 Posted 11/02/2022 at 18:10:50
Hes been unlucky straight off with further injuries, but we are were we are and have to make the best of what we have, organise the team as best he can and grind out some results.
We had sixty one percent possession against Newcastle and we got beat, so the manager must now find a way with team selection and tactics to firstly get a win under our belts, starting with beating Leeds.
Lets hope the partnership between DCL and Richarlison can be reignited and they start to bang some goals in, assisted by Alli and Van De Beek.
4 Posted 11/02/2022 at 18:30:30
Family? Isn't that what Everton football club should be? A family?
Just one example but does anyone really expect Rondon is going to perform to his (limited) best when he gets booed ONTO the pitch?
The ONLY way out of this is through stability and support. No more sacking the manager every 6 months, no more booing every bad touch. STABILITY,STABILITY,STABILITY!!
5 Posted 11/02/2022 at 18:45:42
Evertonians are angry because they dont see many players possessing the right character, when wearing the Royal blue jersey, imo.
This anger has turned to desperation, and even looked like it had spread to our newest manager, who looked like he had a dry mouth, and was absolutely shell shocked, getting interviewed after Monday nights game at Newcastle.
We know that the players lack real character, I think Lampard definitely learned this on Monday night, but if he can get us enough points to keep us in the premier league, then he will gain massive credit and also develop a great bond with Evertonians, who only want the best for our club, and are absolutely desperate to see a good team.
Im hoping Ben Foster has helped keep Everton in the premier league, because deep-down, everyone in football knows how important Evertonians, have always been for their team.
6 Posted 11/02/2022 at 20:35:47
My response was..."play better then!!" Now, I get fed up with negative fans and those who just want to shout obscenities at people but I'm rapidly running out of patience.
I don't recall ever booing a team that played with energy or passion even when they lost. I've no issue whatsoever with fans jeering a tired, lazy performance where we were completely dominated by an average team at HOME!!!
And the fact that we look as though we have absolutely no understanding of what we're supposed to be doing is just baffling for an established Premier League team. Just bizarre.
I just hope Frank gets given time to sort this mess out.
7 Posted 12/02/2022 at 08:31:05
He clearly had no idea what he was letting himself in for.
He kept using the term "From afar". He obviously hasn't studied us over the last two years because he thinks(like many in the manistream) that our "quality" players, are quality. Coleman is a lovely fella, and tries his best but we all know he is on the wane and opposition coaches target his flank every match.
In Frank's mind Seamus is the bloke from 5 years ago, opping in the odd goal and cross.
Richarlison is another grafter but let's face it, he scores infrequently and is too greedy to get his head up and pass. He lacks the tricks to dribble through and his best attempts are actually in the air. He has been played as a striker but he is best on the left.
Will Frank play him there?
I hear commentators and pundits talking of Gomes and his "quality". They lazily see him with time on the ball pinging a long pass but forget he is a liability, a luxury we cannot afford.
The frustration of Lampard musr be even more acute with the players.
Coaches come and go but the players continue to make the same errors with woefull passing and gormless positional play.
I think the Goodsion factor will help today.
The Cup win over Brentford showed that they can muster a win and although Leeds have a reputation for high tempo inccessant pressing, they also leaves gaps everywhere and concede goals.
Calvert-Lewin needs to find his form and we desperately need a win or Frank won't be able to check the downward spiral.
The spitfire is full of holes and beginning to nose dive but there is still time to pull it out of the spiral.
8 Posted 12/02/2022 at 09:59:21
Everton by early October were 4th or 5th, then plummeted to where they are now.
If the players believe in themselves and as team then, they can win football matches, loose some but not in the manner of the last 5 months.
Hopefully Frank Lampard and his back room staff can instill the belief and individual and collective responsibility on the park.
For me whats been lacking on the pitch for years is a vociferous captain who plays and lead by example, through every match.
But its not that simple in that these players dont seem to learn from their mistakes, on the pitch, cohesion, passing, marking, movement, almost all the attributes a footballer needs.
So will Everton go missing today, I certainly believe they wont, and the crowd today will be the best 12 th man, they can wish for.
No dont invite Rafina to shoot, keep him on his right foot, as he will hurt any team.
9 Posted 12/02/2022 at 10:06:52
Benitez faced futher resistence from the regme that was left and was defeated. Secondly Benitez lost total control of transfers resorting to spending £1. 5 million on players he knew, Brands effectively downing tools on him. He did get rid of Brands, but again was thoroughly failed as the remaining regime effectively took over total control of transfers, leaving him with no option but to seek to leave.
All the previous failures are well documented, I am just bring them up to date. Lampard is in a pretty impossible situation. He has had no input into transfers and I doubt he sourced Delle Ali. He is not a Lampard type player. Delle needs a fitness regime like Watford gave King. As King he will not get that at Everton.
Lampard maybe lucky and the excuse of player injuries and the plague of previous failures , may get him of the hook. I don't think Moshiri has the stomach for another Manager and Kenwright &Co will want to keep Frank. It would add to calls for their heads , as Moshiri is susceptible to fan pressure. , and fire up now organised groups of fan protest.
I expect Everton to scape through as the players deciding to play. The capacity is still there as the Brentford game showed. But long term we are on the mediocrity roundabout , which we are all well use to. Kenwright &Co are stronger than ever with renumeration increasing.
10 Posted 12/02/2022 at 10:41:13
I think it is more the Culture of Everton rather than formations. All the players are under the same medical services, training, and old players influence regime. A player coming in will adopt the norms that exist, but a player like King or Delle Ali will not progress from their low point at other Clubs.
I watched the recent training video and was struck by the lack of seriousness and urgency.
I think that Lampard like most of us is expecting a league defeat, but with this regime they may put the effort in on the day.
The Manager at Everton picks the team and takes the praise and flak. The preparation and motivation of the team is in other hands. I would add Medical Services and Transfers to that.
11 Posted 12/02/2022 at 11:08:53
12 Posted 12/02/2022 at 14:19:58
He just needs to keep doing nice interviews, buttering up the fans to ensure whatever excuses he uses will be lapped up by the faithful; then we can roll up our sleeves for the summer and either plough on or try and get promotion.
As an aside, if we are to drop, I hope it happens quickly – none of that last game nonsense the club might then realise wholesale evisceration of this squad cannot be put off for another season.
13 Posted 12/02/2022 at 15:50:52
14 Posted 12/02/2022 at 18:47:42
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