Time for the manager to stand out and be counted

After The Toffees’ latest dismal defeat at Goodison Park, many supporters are becoming stoical with regards to the team’s constant failings. There was certainly an air of resignation about the place when both the second and third goals went in for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, with the stadium rapidly beginning to empty at 3-1, leaving only those wishing to express their displeasure at what they had just witness remaining come full-time. Once again, our side produced a lame, characterless performance, with Andre Gomes’s goal somewhat glossing over the fact that Everton were second best from the first minute to the last.

I am a big believer that footballers are not held accountable enough for inadequate displays. For me, they are both paid and protected to an excessive degree, leaving their manager always to take the brunt of the criticism. However, I believe that in this instance, the majority of questions regarding our failings must be laid at the manager’s door. Although certain players in the team are undoubtedly underperforming, I believe that tactically, we are a weak team both offensively and defensively. This may sound rather simplistic, however I do not see a clear, conducive attacking methodology, nor a solid, functional defensive one being implemented by this manager.

Personally, I genuinely believe that we have good players in this team. While they may lack the heart and mental resilience that unfortunately is commonplace in the modern-day footballer, I can confidently say that they possess talent. However, we are now beginning to witness reoccurring issues on a weekly basis from this side:

  • An isolated striker
  • A lack of midfield support offensively
  • Slow, ponderous built up play
  • A lack of character and leaders on the pitch (communication and accountability)
  • Players looking confused and out of ideas
  • A weak mentality – players looking anxious after any moment of adversity
  • An inability to defend set plays!
  • Careless errors
  • A lack of creativity

It is always all too easy to put the blame all on one or two individuals. The reality is that the mismanagement we have witnessed at this football club shall take years to truly amend. However, such is the magnitude facing anyone in the manager’s chair at Finch Farm, it is his job to get to the bottom of why this team is consistently underperforming, and quickly. While accountability always must be a collective, the manager has to show his leadership qualities in this moment. Although time is needed for any manager, there is no reason at all as to why some of the issues I have listed above should not be addressed right now. Not in one year, not after a couple of transfer windows, but now. It is time for the manager to show us his true credentials.

Marco Silva’s side’s inability to defend set pieces of seemingly any nature,  has resulted in 16 conceded goals this season. I do not believe it is inconceivable that a failure to address this problem rapidly could cost him his Everton future.  The manager must learn from the mistakes of his predecessors to avoid a premature ending to his reign. The partisan nature of Roberto Martinez baffled, and eventually, enraged supporters given his unwavering insistence that practicing defensive set plays in training was not required. This, coupled with his desire to promote an evidently failing football ideology of playing out from the back, despite not appearing to have the support of his players as well as the fans, ultimately lead to the downfall of a previously popular Everton manager.

As a set of supporters, I fervently believe that we have a strong understanding of football and what we want to see from our Everton team. As proven with Martinez, we don’t take kindly to ‘bullshiters’ – we know a problem when we see one. The fact that this manager and his coaching staff are seemingly unable to set up a side that can defend crosses into the box, sets off major alarm bells in regard to their capabilities to send out a team to win trophies and compete with Europe’s elite. If these are indeed the lofty ambitions at this sleeping giant of a football club, then the manager and his staff need to come up with some solutions to our problems ASAP.

 James Pirie

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