The reality of the situation
Everton have finally moved past the bump they received from the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti and have reverted to their true selves. No matter what manager is at the helm, this squad is flawed in just about every conceivable way. Credit to Ancelotti for improving this squad for even a brief period of time, but performances like this are more the norm than any of us would care to admit.
Years of poor recruitment and an endless managerial carousel have led to the situation Everton find themselves in. The constant tear downs and rebuilds of every preceding manager has left Ancelotti with few players that can fit his system. And no amount of formation changes can add a ball-winning midfielder, starting caliber winger or even overall depth to this side. So while it’s frustrating to watch this team get dominated by a side that was in the Championship a few years ago, it’s simply the reality of years of mismanagement.
However, having Ancelotti as manager does feel like an opportunity to finally break this years long cycle of mediocrity. No longer are Everton pulling managers from lower table sides and hoping they turn into the next great manager. They now have a proven manager that has coached the best in the world. Maybe they finally have the man that can instill a winning mentality and recruit the right players that can pull Everton out of their self-destructive ways.
It feels as though there has never been a time where Everton have not felt like they were mentally defeated in a match before it started. I know there was a time where that wasn’t the case, but it feels like ages ago. There was talk after the loss to Tottenham about Everton’s lack of mental fortitutude against top-six sides, but often times that mentality can rear it’s head against any team. Instead of responding in a positive way to their recent troubles, Everton instead opted to lose this match before it even started.
Ancelotti and Seamus Coleman rightfully ripped into this squad immediately following the match. It’s understandable and even acceptable to be defeated by a superior team. But it is not acceptable to play with so little spirit and effort. They don’t even seem to possess an underdog mentality where they want to overcome the odds and surprise the better teams. Instead the mentality seems to be roll over and accept the loss the moment things don’t go their way.
Ancelotti has a lot of work to do on the squad building side, but he may have even more work to do in getting Everton into a better place mentally. No amount of quality players will improve this team if they’ve lost a match before it’s even started.
Response against Aston Villa
Given Everton’s recent performances, no one would be faulted for not looking forward to Thursday’s match against Aston Villa. But it will be interesting to see how this team responds to being called out by their manager and captain after three consecutive poor performances.
As I’ve said, there’s not much Ancelotti can do to make this team work better than it is. The options on the bench don’t exactly jump out as obvious fixes and injuries have decimated what little depth this team had in midfield and defense. It’s going to come down to how this team responds mentally. Their opponent will be an Aston Villa side that is fighting their way out of the relegation zone. Everton have no trophies or spots in Europe to play for, but they do need to show their manager, each other and their supporters that they have some mental fortitude.