Everton’s run of futility in the League Cup will continue for yet another year.
With a couple of top six sides already knocked out of the reckoning, the Blues had a good chance to make progress towards the only domestic trophy they are yet to win their storied history, but were foiled today by a combination of factors.
Marco Silva made seven changes to the side that won 3-0 over Fulham over the weekend, looking to give some youngsters quality playing minutes. On paper, his plan looked good and against the mediocre opposition, it should have worked.
However, once again execution on the pitch didn’t quite come up to standard, much like in the first half on Saturday. Kieran Dowell didn’t make his mark in the middle, but it wasn’t all bad though, with Bernard and Ademola Lookman looking incisive in their first full starts this season.
“We had two players who were playing their first match in the starting XI in Ademola Lookman and Bernard. They did well.
”They played with Kieran Dowell behind the striker and he had some good moments and some not so good. But that is normal. We always expect things from him with the quality he has in his left foot.”
Silva chose to rest his starting wingers, and wasn’t disappointed by what their replacements offered.
“We prepared for the match with the aim of winning and when I took the decision to start with Bernard and Lookman, it was because I believed they would perform in this way.
“They are different from Richarlison and Theo Walcott because those two are fast players and play more at the backs of our opponents.
“Lookman and Bernard like to play between the lines and keep possession. They performed well. They both needed minutes and it was a good moment to give them a chance to play.”
Southampton’s goal came from a mistake we’ve seen all too often in this Everton team, with Danny Ings taking advantage of the space offered him between the backline and the midfielders. Silva was markedly unhappy with how wide open he was.
“It is important for me that our defenders know our expectations. It is important for us to be compact and to not give easy chances for our opponents.
”To be clear with you, with their goal we have to be more aggressive because when they were starting the move, we were in a good shape.
”But we have to be more aggressive in that moment with two against one on that side. Even when Ings received the ball we have to be more aggressive. That was lacking in that defensive moment in the goal we conceded.”
Richarlison and Theo Walcott both failed in the penalty shootout, but the manager offered them words of solace despite the defeat.
“Richarlison and even Theo – and Ademola after he missed a chance as well – they will have all of our support to keep going and to look forward. It is not the first moment that one good player misses a penalty.
“We will give the support to them to look forward, play well in the next match and help the team achieve good results.”