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Everton at Huddersfield Town: Where do the Toffees go from here?

The players owe the fans a performance after the shambles at Millwall

Huddersfield Town v Everton - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

So, where do we go from here?

The result we all feared occurred on Saturday as Everton’s chronic inability to defend routine crosses into the box resulted in a humiliating defeat in the rain at The Den.

That makes it seven defeats in 12 games in all competitions, an alarming slide from a season that contained so much promise to yet another crisis.

Marco Silva can justifiably point to the handball - and lack of VAR - for Millwall’s second goal as reason to feel hard done by. But there is little excuse for their failure to deal with routine balls into the box for all three goals. I think we all called the winner when Everton conceded yet another sloppy free-kick in the final moments of stoppage-time.

Millwall v Everton - FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

But this isn’t the first example of poor defending, particularly from set pieces, this season. Silva’s inability to organise a defence is worrying and does little to beat down the argument that he is Martinez mk II.

The understandable anger and hysteria in wake of the result led to calls for Silva to be sacked, something the club simply cannot contemplate right now. Chopping and changing managers every six months or so is a dangerous habit to get into and is unlikely to help the club long term.

As painful as it feels now, we have to accept that to give Silva a fair chance he needs more than one season and two transfer windows to build the squad he wants. At present he is trying to play a system with players brought by three or four different managers. The squad is a mess and needs major surgery before we can really start pushing on.

That is difficult to accept I know, as it leaves nothing but a battle against mid-table mediocrity left between now and May - a familiar feeling for Toffees fans. But in Marcel Brands I’m confident we have a man at the top who knows what he is doing and can correct the mess left by his predecessors.

If, after rebuilding the squad, Silva continues to struggle then yes, we make a change. But he deserves to be given that chance.

The opposition

I don’t think any Evertonians are surprised that the fixture list has thrown in a trip to Huddersfield just after they appointed a new manager.

Jan Siewert succeeded David Wagner last week and took advantage of their break between matches to observe the squad and get his message across during a training camp in Portugal.

Wagner honourably took the decision to step aside after admitting he could do no more to try and keep the Terriers up. His fellow German Siewart has already hinted that he may employ a more attacking style of play, with the club suffering from a chronic lack of goals this season.

Huddersfield have scored just 13 times in the Premier League, six fewer than any other side.

Everton v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

One of those goals came at Goodison in September in a tedious 1-1 draw. Huddersfield came with a plan to frustrate Everton and look for set pieces to score. They did just that as the Toffees struggled to break them down in what was a hugely frustrating 90 minutes.

After what happened on Saturday I full expect more balls to be plunged into the box on Tuesday. And with a crowd buoyed by the arrival of a new manager, I also expect it to be a much more uncomfortable evening than it otherwise might have been.

Team news

Yerry Mina is a doubt with a foot injury that forced him off at half-time against Millwall on Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether Idrissa Gueye will feature after he handed in a transfer request on Monday.

Projected line-up

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Keane, Zouma, Coleman, Gomes, Gueye, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Lookman, Richarlison.

Final word

Hats off to the loyal Evertonians who will brave the snow, wind and rain at the John Smith’s Stadium tonight. The players don’t always deserve the support they get but, ironically, they probably need it more than ever as they desperately try and drag themselves out of the slump they currently find themselves in.

It isn’t going to be pretty, but any sort of performance that shows they care will at least give us some encouragement that this season may soon take a turn for the better.