Farhad Moshiri has publicly backed Ronald Koeman and has no plans to sack him despite Everton’s poor start to the season.
Sunday’s dreadful performance against Burnley was merely the latest in a succession of below-par displays by the team this season, despite extensive investment in the playing squad over the summer.
That has put the spotlight firmly on Koeman, with several supporters questioning whether he is good enough to guide Everton out of this slump.
Former Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti has quickly been installed as the bookies’ early favourite to take over should Koeman depart.
The two week international break is a popular time for chairman and owners to sack managers as it gives them time to bring in a replacement.
That led to speculation Everton could do the same, with 13 days until their next league game against Brighton.
However, Moshiri has moved quickly to dispel such rumours and publicly backed his manager.
Speaking, yet again, through his media mouthpiece Jim White, Moshiri said:
“We are in a bad moment but we have played the four title contenders, three away.
Today was the only unexpected loss. The four pre-qualifying UEFA games and two group games on Thursdays haven’t helped. There is mental and physical fatigue and seven injuries haven’t helped.
These are early days and Koeman has my total support. We have great fans and they deserve better. We know the honest and objective expectations of our supporters and we will not let them down.”
On one hand, this is strong and decisive leadership from Moshiri. It puts to bed any speculation about Koeman’s future for now, allowing the Dutchman some breathing space in order to try and turn things around.
On the other, some of the excuses sound pretty thin. Europa League games can’t excuse the muddled tactics and formations employed by Koeman in recent weeks.
And while the injuries haven’t helped, there is still enough ability and depth in the squad to get results.
Everton have high ambitions and want to compete with the best teams in the division and in Europe. To do so they have to cope with playing three games in a week and the associated knocks and niggles that comes with it.
Then there’s the “only unexpected loss” line. That is not what you want to hear from an owner.
It screams of a lack of ambition and the kind of “plucky little Everton” image the fans have been desperate to get away from for years.
We should never go into a game expecting to lose. It’s just the sort of attitude that has held us back for far too long and explains why the supporters, who have seen the club lift one major trophy in 29 years, are sick of it.
Moshiri’s tenure at the club has been a breath of fresh air after years of stagnation and we have plenty to be thankful to him for.
He has generally let his actions speak louder than words and has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time.
So while these comments are worrying, he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now, especially as words can so often be twisted when they are churned through the media.
Lets hope this is just a minor blip on the long and treacherous road back to the top.