Marco Silva has spoken publicly for the first time since his sacking by Everton in December, saying frustration in the transfer market and plain old bad luck contributed to his dismissal.
Silva was dismissed 24 hours after a 5-2 thrashing at Anfield left the club in the relegation zone. It was a third successive defeat and eighth loss in 12, a run that included home defeats by Sheffield United and Norwich without scoring.
Speaking to Sky Sports about his Goodison exit, Silva said:
“I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on everything. When I left it was a tough decision for everyone. I had the confidence with my staff and the players that we will get things again for us. But I have to respect it was made. The position in the table was not good.”
That miserable winter form was in sharp contrast to the end of the previous season when things had appeared to click under the Portuguese. The Toffees lost just one of their final 10 games, including wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, to finish eighth.
That optimism slowly evaporated as entered the new season, with miserable early defeats at Aston Villa and Bournemouth a sign of things to come.
Silva appeared to concede that he did make mistakes during his tenure, saying:
“In football, many of the decisions we have to make in the moment, and then you can look to analyse the game and if you had to do something different. But football is in the moment and you have to prepare your team for the next game.”
Silva also grumbled about the failings in the transfer market, which puts the heat on director of football Marcel Brands.
The summer of 2018 was deemed a successful window, though the likes of Yerry Mina, Bernard and Lucas Digne did arrive very late, which likely impacted on team preparation and could partly explain away the team’s slow start.
He has more of a case to complain about last summer, which saw Everton fail to sign a centre-back to replace Phil Jagielka. Kurt Zouma was their number one target, but once Chelsea decided to keep the Frenchman, the Toffees failed to recruit an alternative.
Silva also suffered some cruel misfortune during the autumn. The Brighton game, which saw a penalty wrongly awarded via VAR and a stoppage-time own goal, was particularly tough to take, as was another last-gasp defeat at Leicester. Silva also cited the Tottenham game, which saw Andre Gomes suffer that horrific ankle injury.
“The market was difficult for us because we had a tough market the season before. We did fantastic, the way we finish, and I said it would be key for us to get stronger this season and the season after. It was a key situation but it was a difficult market for us. We signed young players again, and most of them came in the last week of the market. It’s always difficult It’s not to find excuses but we have to be open.
“We had tough moments in which we were not lucky at all. We scored three own goals in that period. I believe myself and the staff worked really hard and gave our maximum but sometimes things don’t go the way we wanted. The Brighton and the Tottenham games especially was very strange what happened on the pitch.
“But after we had moments we didn’t play the way we wanted and as manager I have to take responsibility.”
Silva is justified in rueing his misfortune and has a cause to grumble about (yet another) muddled transfer policy. But it is a Premier League manager’s job to deal with such issues and he failed to do so.
He was on the brink of the sack on more than one occasion during his tenure but the board, quite rightly, were reluctant to sack yet another manager. Ultimately, though, the results and performances were not good enough throughout his time at Goodison, bar that late spring surge in 2019.
I think the overwhelming majority of fans will agree the club is better off with Carlo Ancelotti in charge, with many questioning why Silva, with his moderate track record, was given the job in the first place.
That said, there was no questioning his work ethic or commitment to the job. By all accounts he was one of the first to arrive at Finch Farm and one of the last to leave. He has also remained respectful about the club despite his premature departure. It just didn’t work.
Silva will likely become a better manager for the experience and has already spoken of his desire to manage in the Premier League again.
And if he does return to Goodison in the visitor’s dugout he is likely to be warmly greeted by the Toffees fans. A reflection of his honest endeavour, even though his tenure fell well short of expectations.