Our review of the just-ended Everton season continues with a review of current boss Sean Dyche.
Feels like we said this last season. A chaotic first half of the season - whereby a boss gets sacked after Everton play poorly for an extended stretch - followed by a second half which, while stressful all the same, did have brilliant moments that in the end proved to be enough to keep the Toffees in the Premier League for another year.
Sean Dyche should be getting a massive part of the credit for this. He instilled something that Big Duncan Ferguson would’ve recognized had he still been present on the sidelines. Organization, toughness, some “Dogs of War” mentality, and a fight that had all but disappeared under his predecessor.
While both Frank Lampard and Sean Dyche suffered from an injured and often diminished squad, it was only the latter that was able to make the improvements to the team that would prove vital to their final league-table position. Frank Lampard, meanwhile, floundered as badly on his return to Chelsea and their loaded side as he had on Merseyside; on Merseyside this season, the proper boss was both fired and hired.
21 points out of 18 matches. That is how many points Sean Dyche helped Everton earn from the time he was appointed to the end of the campaign just before June began. That is relatively impressive - to be frank - as Frank, his predecessor, only managed 15 points out of 20 matches and embarrassed himself upon returning to Chelsea to finish out the Premier League season.
Sean Dyche is one of the better coaches in the Premier League. This was said during his time at Burnley where they spent no money and stayed up for years and years, and with a team like the Blues - even in their current financial and practical positions - he might create a team out of the players - on Finch Farm and, those still yet to be signed - which could really highlight this fact for the common fan.
It was not always pretty, and the shape changed to accommodate the squad and the opposition. Wingbacks and a back three were witnessed on some occasions - such as on the final week of the season - but there were other matches - like against Brighton on 8 May - where, instead of a 3-4-2-1 or 3-4-3, a 4-2-3-1 was utilized to brilliant effect. 4-4-2s and 4-3-3s were not unheard of either, as the boss was molding a team that could mutate in any way and at any time against anything an opposition might try to throw at them.
This was an innovation that proved successful and will most certainly be useful for the side even as they shape up more in the way Sean Dyche would like best, and with players that suit his style and ambition.
The side most often compressed in super tight manners, only to spring-action back up the pitch when the opportunity presented itself. This worked when employed against teams that couldn’t keep composure or possession well enough, but against those juggernauts like Manchester City and Newcastle, it proved too tall a task to bear.
No matter how the side looks to play moving forward, more quality will be needed. The tactics work, but they are only as good as the players executing them, and that remained wanting on Merseyside this campaign.
But, with some useful moves, Everton won’t be in the basement this upcoming season. Sean Dyche is the best boss we’ve had since that Italian gentleman who walks around Madrid now; that might not be saying much right now, but give it time, and there might be something to it.
Dyche will be on the sideline to begin next season, and the side should be able to sign some players without - hopefully - having to give up too much useful, practical talent out the door. A creative midfielder, some backline help, and a proper centre-forward would all give Sean Dyche the best side for a Premier League season that he’ll ever have had. With what he was able to do with the injured, ragtag bunch that we had to play this season, a reasonably well-stocked and disciplined bunch of Toffees could actually be a scary sight once again in the top flight of English football.
Hard to give the boss worse than a B+, but also, he might deserve an A. This was a worse team than what Frank Lampard scraped by with last season, and yet, by the end of the year, Everton were certainly not one of the three worst sides in the Premier League; that could not have been said for long stretches of the year to be fair.
He was reported to have noted to a friend after the winter transfer window had closed, that he wasn’t worried about the lack of January business at all.
Following a barren January transfer window apparently Dyche said that he had kept “much worse squads” up.
It takes a brave and confident leader to make such a statement, but he was not, in the end, incorrect. Sean Dyche proved that he could do it with the injured and jumbled pieces that were available to him, and deserves a greater trust and endowment going through this summer than Frank Lampard enjoyed after last season; Dyche has no interest in being in this situation again with Everton, and seems determined to fix the issue for the seasons ahead. Blues across Merseyside and the world must simply trust him to do this.