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Staying the course with Marco Silva

Realism in the face of bad results.

Burnley FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Four losses in a row. After a win against Wolves where it seemed like things were going in the right direction the wheels have absolutely come off. People are calling for Marco Silva’s head and they want to pin it primarily on the manager for the way things are. Such a perspective can be short-sighted and foolish, and while burning another manager may be cathartic it will ultimately do nothing whatsoever to right the ship at Everton.

We finally saw Andre Gomes back on the pitch for Everton against Burnley, after weeks of him being gone and after Seamus Coleman had already reduced us to ten men and we trailed in the match. I have talked at some considerable length about how the options available to Silva with two of the preseason projected starters hurt are absolutely dire. You can read that here. Running Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson together in a counter-attacking scheme has some potential- just go rewatch the Manchester City match- but doing it against mid to low block teams like Burnley and Sheffield United and AFC Bournemouth is simply going to produce a lot of empty possession and not a lot of results. The alternatives would be playing the highly turnover prone Tom Davies or the somewhat untested at Everton Alex Iwobi. I don’t particularly blame the manager for not taking either option.

After this two week break, we should have Gomes back in the lineup. Assuming the knock Fabian Delph picked up in England camp isn’t serious, that is a decently viable midfield pair. Jean-Philippe Gbamin is back in training, and if he can get truly fit then before long we can have the actual midfield this team was intended to have as its first choice within a month.

Firing a manager who hasn’t had his starting midfield when your team has no meaningful midfield depth and whose biggest attacking signing (Kean) is a highly talented teenager still figuring things out would be incredibly unfair. It would perpetuate a cycle that has caused the exact squad fit problems that are currently plaguing us. Consider a few names here. Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott. What manager signed them? What style of play is that manager known for? Well those were Sam Allardyce signings and is Marco Silva even remotely known for playing the same style? No.

Morgan Schneiderlin was a Ronald Koeman signing, one of his pet players from back in his Southampton days. He fits a particular style of midfield that Marco Silva prefers not to run, and yet he’s still on the books because moving players you spent a lot of money on is difficult. Even Gylfi Sigurdsson is part of his problem, being too talented to feasibly drop but not really a player who we could recoup or investment for and who doesn’t really fit Silva’s tactical philosophy.

What about players who have come and now left with these managers, clogging books and time in our transfer markets along the way? Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez, Ashley Williams, Wayne Rooney, Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman, all brought in under the ideas of managers that are no longer here.

Now let’s see how this problem would be compounded with a new manager. Richarlison, Kean, Bernard, Gomes, Gbamin, and Iwobi were all brought in not simply because they were good players but because they fit a certain tactical profile that Marco Silva wanted. Richarlison is probably the most talented of the group and he’s a winger who can’t pass, what happens if the next manager in wants chance creation from the wings? Suddenly we have another 40m bad tactical fit. What if the new manager wants to forgo the traditional ten type midfielder (thus making Gylfi very superfluous) and instead wants chance creation from a two man pair in midfield (similar to what Manchester City does with De Bruyne and Silva) well suddenly Gomes doesn’t fit either.

As we’ve seen in the last few years, simply moving out players that fit departed managers ideas is not simple. It can’t be done overnight, replacements are not easily found. I’m not saying Silva should stay because despite the results he’s done an excellent job, that’s very clearly not the case. I’m saying that right now we’re invested in this Silva project in a big, big way. to the tune of 11 significant additions in the last two years. If we abandon Silva know, the roster direction created with those additions immediately becomes a complicating factor for whoever the next manager is.

At some point, the only answer is stability, and if that means riding through a rough storm through the first half of the season so be it. Any Everton fan talking about a missed opportunity to reach the Champions League or similar was simply unrealistic in the extreme in their expectations to begin with. Stop looking for instant gratification, show some patience and maturity as a fanbase. Off the international break our next six matches include tough matchups against a surging West Ham and a struggling Tottenham, and very winnable matches against Watford, Brighton, Southampton, and Norwich. Don’t just be thinking about where the club will rest at the end of this season, think of the direction the club is taking for the next several years and stop this process where no one has lasted more than three seasons since David Moyes left.