Things are certainly changing around Everton under the new regime. While seven of the starting lineup last weekend against Southampton were the same that took to the Goodison pitch in the final home game of the 2017-18 season, the overall play and demeanor of the team is vastly different in just a matter of months.
Listening to the players talk about new manager Marco Silva is quite enlightening too, as they all mention the high intensity of the training sessions, and how inventive the Portuguese manager is at Finch Farm. Another oft-mentioned topic is how the competition for places is tough and keeps the players on their toes, as this is the first time we’ve seen the Blues squad this well-balanced in years.
Tom Davies - (link)
“There’s big competition so for me when I get a chance I’ve got to take it so that’s what I tried to do [against Southampton].
“In training I’m always trying to be at my best and trying to show how good I am, as the other lads are. It’s always high-tempo training and everyone trying to get in the team, so it’s only going to benefit me.”
Mason Holgate - (link)
“Luckily for me, I have been kept in the loop on what the manager wants us to do and how he wants us to do it. Although I had not been out there myself I understand what he wants from us.
“There is competition in every position which is great. It keeps everybody on their toes and you know if you do not perform there is someone just as able ready to take your position. It keeps you on top of your game.”
Seamus Coleman - (link)
“He’s very dedicated to his job and you could see that after two or three days because of the work rate he puts in to every little detail.
“He’s very detailed and, as far as I’m concerned, he’s a great manager and those little details are the difference between us drawing that game or winning it.
“I think he might have seen a weakness or whatever in the opposition team to do it and we worked on it. It’s great for us players to see someone putting that effort in and then to see it come off.”
Gylfi Sigurdsson - (link)
“The first goal was really good. It was a fantastic goal and it’s nice to put the work in on the training ground and then see it come off.
“And it proved a vital goal, too.”
Morgan Schneiderlin - (link)
“He’s very attentive to details. He tries to make progress collectively and individually as well. He has shown me videos of my games and where I can improve. He’s shown videos to others, too.
“That’s very good for footballers as you need to see yourself after the game and understand what the manager wants from you. He is very good because he talks a lot and I can feel that I am making progress myself.
“You can see that the manager is implementing his ideas very well on the team. From day one in pre-season, you could see what he wants. He wants to keep possession, he wants pressing, he wants to play entertaining football which is demanding.
“That’s why we worked very hard in pre-season. The manager knows that game-by-game and week-by-week, by working, we will get better and improve. He’s someone that we all like working with.”
Michael Keane - (link)
“The manager is very hands-on. He does everything himself. He is tactically very good and I think he’s got us very fit over pre-season.
“I think our results weren’t the best over pre-season but the opening day was the one that mattered and our fitness levels were really good. I think that’s testament to him and the staff for the training we’ve done.
“I think all the lads are loving the training – it’s exciting, it’s fun but also it’s very tactical which is what you need.”
Leighton Baines - (link)
“The manager said that he wanted competition in every position and we have got that here. You can see that on a daily basis and what that brings to the intensity of training. It will serve us well throughout the course of the season.”
Marco Silva - (link)
“It’s really important and special when you work on something specific during the week and, after, the players can put it on to the pitch. It’s important for us as staff and important for the players as well.
“In football today the details make the difference. In every game, some moments are really balanced and you have to try to do something different to achieve what you want - to win.
“Everything is new now but we’re working hard to improve every day. We have a lot of things to improve on but I’m happy, and the players have to be happy as well.”
The manager appears to be a devotee of the oft-used military maxim “Train Hard, Fight Easy”, and so far he’s got the players excited and giving it their all, and the performances on the pitch show that too.