At several turns now, I’ve insisted that everybody calm down. I said it when Everton were facing the toughest opening stretch of games in the Premier League, I said it when our offence seemed anaemic beyond belief, I insisted that we not rashly call for Ronald Koeman to be fired because, frankly, there are not a whole lot of better options.
After this draw against a team from the Cypriot league, a team that only spent £23k this past summer - yes, that’s a k - where do we turn? I guess we could point out that we’re only one point out of qualification for the knockout stages of the UEL, that Atalanta is probably going to beat Apollon and that a win against Lyon would move us into qualification position, but what reason do we really have to think that will actually occur?
We face Burnley this weekend, a team that is better at getting results than they are at playing football, I guess Oumar Niasse will be back on the field, but the fact that is considered a good thing is a commentary in itself. (Don’t get me wrong, I started the “let’s start Oumar” train and I’m still on it, but he’s not a season-saving player.)
The manager refuses to pick starting lineups intelligently, belligerently insisting that his ideas will work despite ample evidence that they do not, yet it remains true that if we fire him it’s highly unlikely that we’ll find actual quality to replace him. Any pipe dream managers we had in mind will certainly be swallowed up by interest in the Bayern vacancy, and there just isn’t much else.
Panic probably still isn’t the right word, but unfortunately, the right word is probably resignation. Finishing 7th while doing very well in Cup competitions could be a good year, finishing 7th and flaming out in all the cups - which is what we look like we are headed toward - is just a serious failure of ambition. Therefore, we are resigned to the idea that for all the money that changed hands last summer we are for the moment no better off than we were at the end of the last campaign.
It shouldn’t be this way. We bought quality players. I still believe in Sandro Ramirez and Davy Klaassen despite the fact that I know much of the fanbase is ready to ship them off to Siberia. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane continue to prove their worth. Nikola Vlasic has been a revelation. But the manager just will not array these pieces in a way that has any serious hope of being consistently successful.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: either Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Niasse need to start every single game. Sandro and Wayne Rooney do not combine well because both want to drift out wide. I’ll say this again also, for as long as Seamus Coleman is out we simply cannot rely on our fullbacks to be the only real width on the field. My colleagues here at RBM have pointed out that we have real wingers, we just refuse to use them.
These are not hard concepts. This is not some dark magic secret of the universe. This is basic football and right now Ronald Koeman just doesn’t get it. He not only doesn’t get it, but he’s blaming his players for his own mistakes. That’s a man who has lost control. That’s a man who no longer needs to be in charge of this operation.
Koeman: "They are fighting. I cannot say they are not running, fighting but they are afraid."— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) September 28, 2017
We still don’t really have a better option out there than Koeman, but frankly a person doesn’t need to be even a good manager to be able to learn from basic mistakes and not blame players for them. We have quality, we just need someone in the dugout who is more concerned with the results of Everton football club than he is with proving his own philosophy to the football world.