Everton are back in action tomorrow with a home game against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. This is a replay following the Blues’ scoreless draw away at Selhurst Park in the Third Round tie which saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin wrongfully sent off. Luckily the Blues were able to hang on a man short, though they arguably also lost an opportunity to win a game they had mostly controlled until that point as well.
Manager Sean Dyche met with the media in his pre-match press conference earlier today with the winner of tomorrow’s game progressing to the Fourth Round and a home fixture against either Luton Town or Bolton Wanderers, who play their replay later tonight at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.
This was the first opportunity for Dyche to comment on the second profit and sustainability rules (PSR) charge against the club which was announced just yesterday. His comments were very practical but did focus on how player retention and player sales have impacted the squad.
“I knew before the news broke, not too far before. They fill me in on a need-to-know basis. A big picture view, I’ve been here nearly a year and by my timeline, we are in the bottom three or four net spend.
“We let players go out of contract, some we would have kept but couldn’t do that. We have sold three young players in the timelines we were given to make sure the money was in. We wouldn’t normally have sold those players, quite obviously.
“The new stadium speaks for itself and the effect it’ll have on the city and the old stadium being developed for good causes. Alongside that, still trying to put a team out that can be competitive and work within the numbers, signing players who we don’t even do deals for a year’s time and be competitive.”
Dyche expounded on why he thought the points deduction was unfair.
“Then you sort of end up with an on-pitch sanction. We’re trying to do everything we can to solve all the conundrums. Were there mistakes made? I’m sure there have been but that’s the natural part of football, particularly with player trading, there’s not an exact science and you come away with it and we get the initial spell which is the appeal and you lose 10 points.
“It’s an on-pitch sanction but we’ve been cutting being the idea on-pitch powerful by resources, by trying to do the right things. It’s bit of tough one in my timeline of a year to take.
“We still haven’t found out about the appeal yet, we’re still awaiting on that and news on that. I think that’s a broad view that there’s a lot going on at this football club we’re trying to do right and in among that – or shortly before I got here – or relatively shortly, a war, and you’ve got sanctions over ownership and all that.
He did try to remain politically correct as a spokesman for the club, but also expressed incredulity about the strange decisions being made and even threw in a jab about it not making too much sense.
“It’s a strange situation to get an on-pitch sanction of 10 points – which we’re still waiting on the appeal quite obviously – who knows what comes next, so we’ve got to watch this space. So really I suppose that encapsulates a year’s view of what’s been going on, I try and give you a feel of it.
“I must make it clear, that’s my common sense feel view as a football person. I haven’t got the minutiae of the rules and the regulations, that’s for the powers that be and the lawyers, stuff like that.
“I think sometimes you put all that in the melting pot and you go, ‘there’s no on-pitch advantage there’, yet we get an on-pitch sanction. So that is a tough one, without a shadow of a doubt. We hope there is better news that comes out of the appeal, then the next bit comes along and some of that is encapsulated in all of that. Who knows what comes next?
“I think we’re all wondering, we’re all scratching our heads and we’re hopeful a change in what’s going on occurs and we get some points back and it’s looked at a bit differently.”
The manager provided a squad update as well, starting with the early return of Dwight McNeil as a substitute on the weekend but there remain some worries ahead of the Palace match.
“Youngy is back on the grass with us but it’s too quick for him. Seamus maybe, Doucs maybe, they’ve got a couple of knocks. Doucs is more fatigue, Seamus has got a tightness in his hamstring so we’ll have to make a decision on that.”
So it does look like there will be some game day decisions for Dyche, especially given we will be taking on a Palace side that is well-rested coming off their Premier League break over the last weekend. Dyche did however reaffirm his commitment to the FA Cup:
“We always have respect for the cups, it’s not the same as the Premier League, but it’s where it lives. We put out competitive sides in the cups.”