Everton slipped to yet another defeat, making it now one win in their last fourteen games as Aston Villa left Goodison Park with a 1-0 win thanks to Emi Buendia’s looping header at the end of the first half.
Interim manager Duncan Ferguson had promised changes but made some curious lineup choices, that did not pay off in the first half. The Toffees had started flat but slowly grew into the half even as Steven Gerrard’s side controlled possession and created the better chances.
“I think I got a reaction from the players, you saw that, particularly in the second half. We had a couple of half chances, one right good chance in the second half.
“There wasn’t a lot in the game, Villa didn’t have many chances either. We were much the better team in the second half.
“I am on the floor, gutted, I was kicking every ball, trying my very best to motivate the team and get them across the line.
“I am sick for the fans, that is the main thing, I was so desperate to get a result for them. I feel for them, I am one of them, I have been here a long time.
“It is a bad moment for me. But I am proud of the players, they stuck at it and kept going and gave me everything. I can’t fault one of the players for their effort, I am just gutted about the result.”
The Blues seemed a better side in the second half, especially after the introductions of Allan and Anthony Gordon, which begged the question why Big Dunc didn’t start the game with them. However, for the tenth straight game Everton fell behind first and rusty finishing ensured that there would be no joy at Goodison in Saturday’s early fixture.
“I tried my best and so did the players. We made quite a few changes, we had Allan who’s not trained for a week and put him in. You have to do the best you can.
“We were a bit off it in the first half and didn’t create many chances. The boys gave everything in the second half, we just needed that bit of quality in the final third to stick one in.
“I don’t know if you just change [form and mood] with a win, you need a number of wins. But I don’t think the fans will be complaining about the team’s effort today, in the second half, particularly, they had a right good go.”
A number of banners were raised during the game asking for better accountability from the Board, including a plane that flew by trailing a banner with a special message for the club chairman Bill Kenwright.
Dozens of Evertonians remained behind after the game holding up those banners asking for the Board to take responsibility for the decision-making that has led us here, and also insisting that the club be run in a more transparent manner.
Club captain Seamus Coleman was booed for refusing to come over from the family enclosure to address the fans, with only Jonjoe Kenny speaking with the frustrated supporters. When asked what he thought about the protests, Ferguson was clear -
“The fans, for me, can protest and they can say what they want because it’s their club at the end of the day and they have the right to support in any way shape or form they want.
“I know how sick they are, believe me, I’m as gutted as much as them.”
We saw some better workrate from the players yesterday, but effort alone will not win you games at this level. Ferguson and his coaching staff have a lot to work on during the international break, starting with getting his finally-fit-again stars back into form.