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Sacking Marco Silva won’t solve all of Everton’s problems

The manager probably had to go, but more changes are needed to turn the Toffees’ troubled season around


We all know the look.

The hunched shoulders, furrowed brow, weathered cheeks and weary eyes, staring tortuously into the distance.

Marco Silva was a beaten man on Wednesday evening. He has been for some time.

It is the same haunted expression carried by Roberto Martinez in the dying embers of his Everton reign, and Ronald Koeman as Arsenal tore through the Blues defence to end his Goodison tenure 18 months later.

Everton is officially bad for your health.

So as the Toffees begin the hunt for their fourth permanent manager in as many years it’s increasingly clear that the man in the dugout isn’t the only problem.

Indecision at boardroom level has also contributed to this mess, resulting in a muddled recruitment policy that leaves an unbalanced squad overloaded in some areas and chronically short in others.

That doesn’t mean Silva is absolved of any blame. His commitment to the job is without question and by all accounts he has worked incredibly hard to get this right. But his failure to learn from his mistakes - a common theme among recent Everton managers - means he was destined to fail.

No team has conceded more goals from set pieces during his time in charge while they famously failed to win a single Premier League game after conceding the first goal. His points-per-game record is the worst of any Everton manager since Walter Smith and their current points tally is the worst after 15 games since 2003-04, when they finished 17th.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

There have been several occasions when you felt his time was up. The shambolic FA Cup defeat at Millwall in January was a turning point for many, but the board were reluctant to make yet another change.

Stability was the byword, even if that was not being demonstrated on the pitch.

A spring revival suggested things had begun to click and yet another summer spending spree meant expectations were high going into the new campaign.

But the same issues began to re-emerge; the chronic weakness at set pieces, the failure to breakdown the low block, hesitant and ineffective substitutions.

There are mitigating circumstances. Silva has been desperately unlucky during his time at the club, be it injuries to key players, questionable refereeing decisions or freak last-minute goals. He has every reason to be bitter at his misfortune, though he never used it as an excuse.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton - Premier League - AMEX Stadium Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

He just about managed to keep his head above water with wins over West Ham United and Southampton, and the compact nature of the league table meant a few victories could go a long way. The season was still salvageable.

But the turning point was the Norwich City defeat. A truly desperate 90 minutes against a side Everton should be beating comfortably.

Silva should have gone then, but further board indecision combined with a horrific fixture list meant he was hung out to dry.

He was trapped in the job by a board wary of repeating their previous mistakes. However, it would be unfair to put him through another 90 minutes at Goodison where, rightly or wrongly, the atmosphere could turn toxic.

A change was inevitable.

Which once again turns the focus back to the board. Preaching stability is all well and good, but if the wrong man is in place then you are doomed to failure.

Everton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It is clear Silva is not the coach Everton thought he was, even if his patchy track record at Hull City and Watford FC was fair warning. It makes their (and by their I mean Farhad Moshiri’s) dogged and ultimately expensive pursuit of the 42-year-old even more questionable.

Silva comes across as a decent man who worked extremely hard to try and get things right. But ultimately the doubts over his ability proved correct.

Yet replacing him is no silver bullet to solve Everton’s problems. The confused decision-making at the top also needs to end. And with Everton heading into the festive period in the bottom three, they simply cannot afford to get this next appointment wrong.

Otherwise the consequences could be disastrous.