Whenever a team struggles to score at one end but can’t stop conceding at the other, you know they are in trouble. And that’s exactly where Everton are right now.
The Toffees’ miserable 1-0 loss at Watford on Saturday made it three defeats in a week, ratcheting up the pressure on beleaguered boss Marco Silva.
The Portuguese has a heap of problems to deal with now, with no-one in the side performing even close to their ability or potential.
One of the many accusations aimed in his direction is that his side have no real identity or plan.
Silva was brought in to employ a high-pressing, attacking style of football. We saw that in the first few months of the season, to the extent where even narrow defeats were excused as you felt the team were heading in some sort of direction.
But the team just seems rudderless right now, and with the players sapped of all confidence, their dynamism going forward has also dried up.
After scoring five goals against Burnley on Boxing Day, Everton have scored just five times in eight league games since, averaging just three shots on target in their last three matches against Wolves, Man City and Watford.
When asked whether that loss of attacking spark was a concern, Silva, unsurprisingly, was in agreement.
“Yes it’s a concern to me as a manager even if at Watford I felt we created the chances to score.
“But of course, it’s a concern to me when we are talking about two home games and one away game.
“It’s something we need to work on that was different at the start of the season.
“I knew before I came in that this team has problems creating chances.
“We changed it in the first months of the season but now we are having problems to create again and it is up to us to find ways to change.”
When asked for reasons behind his players recent shot-shyness, Silva insisted it was down to a lack of confidence rather than a lack of quality or an issue with tactics and selection.
“It is not good to see and we created enough chances to achieve a different result.
“Some were in the six-yard box and we didn’t score. It was lack of confidence in some moments but if we put the ball in the net we can achieve the results and the confidence will change in the team.”
With 17 days until their next game against Cardiff, Silva at least has some time to clear his head and work with his players on the training ground to try and rouse themselves for the final third of the season.
When asked whether he could arrest the slide and get the team winning again, Silva added:
“Of course, we have the quality.”