Sean Dyche says the Premier League charge hanging over Everton for breaching financial rules will not impact on his side’s preparations for the season run-in, as he praised the fans for their backing of the team despite their unhappiness with the board.
The Toffees were charged last week for breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules during the 2021-22 season - a charge the club strongly denies.
Dyche was asked about it during his news conference previewing Monday’s game against Tottenham. The former Burnley boss understandably would not be drawn on the details while insisting it would not impact his summer transfer plans.
“Things before my time, they’ve covered it in the club statement so I’m happy to go along with that and I’m more focused on what happens on the pitch obviously.
“The club have assured me their statement is correct and the rest will go down to the powers-that-be to do what they have to do.”
On whether the charge would impact his summer transfer plans:
“Not that I know of, at the minute we are really focussing on what’s going on now. Of course there’s background views of the future but working with the squad now, working to get more points obviously and working to get what we all want which is to be in the Premier League.”
Dyche has not hidden from the fact the fans are not happy with the board during his brief time at the club, indeed he would be mad not to. In his first news conference as Toffees boss he said he hoped the supporters could continue to back the team while also expressing their dissatisfaction with the way the hierarchy are running the club.
The fans have certainly done that, with pre-match protests at Goodison swapped for fervent backing of the team when the match kicks off, something Dyche acknowledges.
“I think, from a distance, it was apparent that fans weren’t happy about certain things at the club. Since I’ve been here, I must say they’ve been terrific with us and the team and that’s all I can ask for.
“It’s before my time all the noise from fans and how they felt they wanted to put across their reasons, but I can only ask them to back the team and they have. They’ve been magnificent in doing so and the team have responded.
“We want the connection, we want to align with the fans and it starts on the pitch and that’s what we are trying to do.”
Back to matters on the pitch and Everton take on Spurs looking to maintain some momentum after snatching an impressive draw at Chelsea last time out, making it three games unbeaten.
The Toffees have taken 11 points from Dyche’s eight games in charge, having taken just five from their previous 12 under Frank Lampard.
As well as picking up more points, Dyche says the underlying performances have also improved, giving him cause for optimism in the future.
“The stats have improved since I’ve been here, on some of the markers you want, getting bodies in the box, getting better quality going into the box, better quality of chances and, of course, different scorers.
“It’s always been my mentality if players go out the side it’s a good opportunity for somebody else and it is the responsibility of the whole team to score goals and I think we are showing goods signs of that, being productive from different areas of the pitch in different formats and different ways, and trying to affect games.”
Next up, the usual ‘Dominic Calvert-Lewin is not fit yet’ update.
The England striker was forced off during the second half of Dyche’s first game against Arsenal at the start of February with a hamstring injury. Nearly eight weeks later and he is still not yet ready to return, with Dyche suggesting he had picked up another minor injury during his recovery.
This latest update was just as vague as the others, suggesting the fans should not be counting on Calvert-Lewin returning to the side any time soon as they continue to be ultra cautious with his comeback.
“He hasn’t trained with the group but he’s back on the grass so he’s making progress, which is good.
“He did have that tiny niggle in a slightly different area but he’s making very good progress so we are happy with that at the moment.
“No timescale and I don’t do that anyway, certainly when we are trying to get him back to full fitness, or as close to.”
One player who could benefit from DCL’s absence is Ellis Simms, who scored his first senior goal for the club to earn a point at Chelsea last time out.
Dyche is understandably keen not to put too much pressure on his young shoulders but is pleased with his progress, adding that developing young players is something he enjoys as a manager.
“We’ve just been reaffirming some stuff with him, some clips and some information shared. He’s still relatively young and he’s still adapting to what it is to be in the Premier League and I think the way we work on a daily basis will affect him anyway.
“A player doesn’t just become a good player overnight – he scored a very good goal, a goal we think he can score with his power and his pace and now learning about his body and using his body, that’s going to be an effective part of his game.
“And some of the details of being a striker, getting across the right side of the pitch, the importance of hold-up play, defending from the front – these are all areas of his game that we are trying to slowly but surely rub off on.
“He’s going about his business quite nicely and he’s beginning to get what we’re talking about because some players pick it up very quickly and for some it takes a bit of time, but he’s working at his game which is good.
“It [developing young players] is my background. People forget I went into an under-18s group at Watford. It is something I have always believed in. I felt I could give something back I was missing in my career. I enjoy that side of being a manager.”