Everton looked lethargic and flat yesterday at home against Leicester City, slumping to their fourth loss in five games and ending the holiday schedule as one of the most out of form teams in the Premier League.
After the game manager Marco Silva was unimpressed by his charges, and minced no words about his expectations of his squad.
“It’s a disappointing result for us and a poor performance also. It wasn’t a good game to watch.
“We missed some of the most important things in football, to pass the normal pass and to do the easy things. We missed many, many times.
“The first half, even when we were in control of the game, when we won some balls, afterwards our decision wasn’t the best. I felt our team was too nervous and anxious, without reason.
“When you play in this way with easy mistakes, the bad things come to you and that is what happened with the goal we conceded.
“After that, if you were nervous and anxious, you will be more, for sure. After, we didn’t play with enough quality to create the chance to change the score.
“I told them what I am telling you. When you didn’t achieve, you have to react and we have the quality to react and play better than what we did this afternoon.”
The players looked visibly tired, a product of the limited rotation that Silva has been able to do with the squad he has.
“We played four games in 10 days, it is really tough, even if you change players. It is not easy to see the players fresh with high mobility every time.
“And when you play against these type of teams, that come here and are waiting for your mistake, you have to put high intensity and mobility in your game.
“But it is not reason to (play as they did). We are playing at home, our fans were, until a certain moment, behind us, pushing our team to win, and I cannot find - but I will find, for sure - the reasons to (play like) that.”
More than once this season the Everton players’ mental strength has been questioned, and when Silva was asked about it, he commented -
“I understand your question, but you are working in Everton, it is a big club and there is pressure to win matches, to react.
“To be here, play at this level, work at this club, you have to show the capacity to handle this type of normal pressure.”