Conor Coady has something to look forward to for the next few weeks as he goes off to Qatar with the England national team along with his teammate Jordan Pickford, but for the rest of Everton football club, the spectre of a relegation dogfight seems to be looming once again even before the halfway point of the season.
The Toffees slumped to their second limp showing away at Bournemouth in five days, this time succumbing to a 3-0 league defeat which was a combination of fatal errors, poor defending, abject refereeing and just about everything that could go wrong for Frank Lampard’s side doing exactly that.
Speaking after the final whistle, veteran defender Conor Coady did not mince his words.
“You can say what you want about the second goal but it’s nowhere near good enough from our point of view. I don’t want to speak about the referee not doing his job or whatever, we speak about referees after every game so I’m not going to do that when we’ve just put out a performance like that against Bournemouth.
“I won’t speak about the second goal but I will speak about the performance. Nowhere near good enough. It was nothing that represents an Everton team, Everton football club, represents our supporters, nothing. So one hard look in the mirror for every single one of us that plays for this football club.”
Asked what he thought was the reason behind the recent slump, Coady was pretty adamant that the players weren’t doing enough.
“Personal pride, standards that we set every single game in training. We have to set standards every day in training, it can’t be anything to do with the manager, his staff; it’s nothing to do with that. It’s up to us as players to set standards and have personal pride in everything we do every day and we don’t have that at the minute.
“So we have to make sure we have that because things like that are going to happen. So we need to look at ourselves long and hard in the mirror because we’re going into a break on the back of a performance that shocking and nowhere near good enough.
“We’ve got to look at it because we’ve got a second half of the season where we have to be better. No matter what, we can’t go into the second half of the season like that.”
The 29-year-old went on to reveal that there had been an inquisition of sorts in the dressing room after the game among the players.
“We’ve had a long talk in the dressing room in terms of what’s going on and what needs to be done and we need to look at ourselves. It’s nothing to do with the manager or staff, it’s up to us as players to look at ourselves in the mirror and give our best every single day.”
The game once again hinged on a crucial error to open the scoring, this time it was Three Lions #1 Pickford who spilled a shot right in the path of Marcus Tavernier.
“Pickford came over and apologized, it’s something he doesn’t have to do, he’s saved us on numerous occasion this season. He’s an incredible goalkeeper, an incredible person, a fantastic keeper for this football club so not to do with him. He drops it, but we don’t react as a team, so nothing to do with Picks.
“Again, I go back to goals conceded, they wanted it more than us. It’s about every single day in training making sure we give the best of ourselves. Are we doing that right now, can’t say we are, but do we have to start doing that? Of course we do, and quickly.”
How about the third goal, which came from a setpiece header, the first of its kind the Blues have conceded this season?
“We’ve been good at setpieces this year. It’s been something we really pride ourselves on. Ashley [Cole] spends a lot of time with us, working with us every single day on them and gives us all the instructions we need, so again, it’s not on him, it’s us who have to deal with it on the pitch.
“We’ve been good at them and need to look at where we went wrong.”
Another relegation battle looms for the Blues with Everton sitting in 17th going into the winter break.
“We’re massively short of where we need to be because this is Everton, at the minute it is too easy to play for Everton Football Club who over the years have fought for Europe and been in Cups. This is everyone and at the minute were not representing that as a team, as a club, for the supporters, were not representing that.
“We need to look at ourselves and quickly because the only good thing to come out of this is the second half of the season, because we need to make sure we’re not back in a relegation fight come March for those supporters who are travelling down every single game to watch us play in Bournemouth or Newcastle or wherever it may be. We’ve got a lot of learning to do and we’ve got to do it quickly.”
There were ugly scenes late on with some fans in the away end confronting a couple of players, what did Coady have to say about that?
“Today, for me, will take a lot of time to get over, if I’m being honest, because that feeling out there on the pitch at the end was absolutely horrendous. To see lads going over to supporters… it’s horrendous, you don’t want to feel that as a team. We need the supporters behind us, but how can we expect them to be when we play like that?”