Everton slipped to yet another defeat yesterday, this time at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The newly-promoted side reinforced their ‘best-outside-the-top-six’ credentials in a strong performance that left the Blues reeling from an early goal, and never really in it after that.
After the game, manager Marco Silva acknowledged that his side deserved the loud booing that accompanied the final whistle.
“I understand why they are like they are, of course they expect a good afternoon again after our last good win at Goodison, they expect to come here and we win again and achieve the position we want in the table.
”It was an important game for us, and of course when they saw our performance, they were not happy. I am here to say that as I and the players are clearly not happy and I can imagine how our fans are.
”But it is up to us to keep fighting and improve, as we must improve, and stop giving things away to easily to our opponents.”
Nothing new there, empty platitudes we’ve been hearing from the club all season long. What makes things worse is that the goals the Blues conceded were all from problems they have struggled with all season long - poor tackling, silly giveaways, needless fouls, setpiece marking at and losing opponents in the box.
“I am 100 per cent sure, if you do the things normal and the things we plan and work on, of course the things will be different.
”At that moment it was clear what we had to do, we knew, we worked on it and analysed, and in that moment we have to be aggressive and do what we planned and nothing more.
”And if you do, I am 100 per cent sure that those things do not happen again.”
That is as clearly as we’ll ever hear a manager saying that the players are just not getting the job done on gameday. But Silva wasn’t done, and accused his side of gifting the game to the visitors.
“When you lose a game like we lost this afternoon, playing at home and giving some easy things for our opponent, of course it’s tough.
“You know I’m the first one to say if our opponents do something really special and are playing better than us, I’m the first one to be fair with them and give them congratulations.
“But I see us giving everything too easily. From the first moment they could score coming from nowhere. It’s really tough for me.
“They scored a penalty and we must do something completely different in that moment. I do not know if it was a penalty or not.”
The Blues somehow grabbed an equalizer out of nowhere with an Andre Gomes thunderbolt, but were unable to sustain that scoreline even until halftime, capitulating to yet another stupid foul conceded followed by a man getting away from the zonal marking system from the subsequent freekick.
“We had a chance after we scored a good goal with Andre. But, again, after 44, 45 minutes of the first half, something we planned for with Jimenez attacking the ball, we didn’t even put even 50 per cent into that moment.
“I can see Jimenez challenge for that ball and he was completely alone in that moment. It’s something that’s not part of our plan and not like we wanted to do.
“More or less the same second half. We knew we would have to be patient and balanced because they are good on the counter-attack. It’s something they prepared to do.
“Again, with the ball in our possession we gave it away and they scored the third goal. This is something we are doing many, many times and something we have to realise.”
On one hand you want to sympathize with Silva that he might need more time with his squad to work out and eliminate these issues, but on the other hand when you look at the lack of on-pitch leadership and resilience in this side, it’s hard to have any confidence that this team can turn it around and finally learn from their multitude of mistakes.
The manager was also asked about his decision to start the previously-injured Leighton Baines, who then proceeded to give away an early penalty and continued to be a liability on the left until he was replaced just before the break.
“After the injury he had in the last game we managed his week and when I took the decision to start with him.
”Leighton made a test [in the] morning and the feedback was good and he told me he was in the condition to start the match.
”Of course, I took that decision. You know if I didn’t have Leighton I would start with Jonjoe Kenny but in that moment the feedback was good and I took that decision.”
Of the many mistakes the whole team have made recently, it’s hard to fault Silva for going with what the player and the physio told him about Baines’ condition.