By Gary Judge
Starting with the last game at Newcastle, what was the root cause of throwing a 2-0 lead away to be on the losing side for you?
The substitution of Richarlison for Mina was a bad one, Pickford’s ego got the better of him and again our defenders couldn’t win their battles when it mattered! I think the substitution was certainly the start of it if I’m completely honest. Ok, they scored the first 10 minutes before then but in the 10 minutes that followed their first goal, the game was still firmly under our control. Everyone who listens to our podcast knows I’m an advocate of giving Silva time but decisions like that don’t help. I understand the rationale behind it and I get that it could easily have come off but for me it just put us on the back foot and definitely allowed them to gain more possession of the ball in the middle of the pitch. With our 3 forwards on we had managed to pin them back and their full backs were reluctant to push on too much. As soon as Richarlison was removed and we switched to 5 at the back that gave them license to push up the pitch. All that being said, its once again our lack of leadership on the pitch and lack of fight in the area which ultimately killed us in terms of giving the goals away!
Dominic Calvert Lewin has now scored 2 in 3 since his recall to the side, is it fair to now call him Everton’s number 9?
Yes it is. The goals have definitely been a bonus but the forward line of him, Richarlison and Bernard looks our most potent for a long. it’s great to see a more natural centre forward make that position his own which had in turn, allowed Richarlison to get back to his more favoured left wing position. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think that DCL is the long term answer but he’s certainly warmed to the task in recent weeks and as always, it’s good to see a home-grown talent developing.
Patience seems to be wearing thin with a lot of blues at the minute, what do you put that down to? This current side? Years of lack of success? A combination?
I think its the revision of the expectations of the fans. We’ve spent a lot of money over the last 3 years and with that, you’d have expected us to have had more success during that time. For a number of reasons that hasn’t happened and we’re now looking at a young team and coach that are still trying to discover their identity and develop a backbone! Personally, all I would like to see between now and the end of the season is for us to produce some more 90 minute performances! We’ve only really put together maybe 3 good performances all season where we have combined quality with doggedness. 30 games in, that’s mad!! That is what is frustrating me at the moment!
Finally, Chelsea (including Ross Barkley) are up next on Sunday, do you sense this is a bit of a knife edge for Marco Silva and his current side? A win could make the Newcastle result the exception in a good run of form, but a loss see’s us only win 1 in 4?
I’m not sure I’d say it’s a knife edge. We’re talking about a Chelsea team with the likes of Hazard, Higuan, Kante….. Its a lot to ask to expect us to turn them over! I see it as another opportunity if I’m honest. If we beat them on Sunday then it’s a massive boost for the squad and above all else, as sign that we are progressing. It’s been well documented that we’ve got one of the worst records against the top 6 but we’re playing 4 of them over the coming weeks so we’ve got a great chance to improve that record. If we record victories against one or more of the bigger sides then suddenly there’s a much brighter horizon for Silva and I think you’d see some of the doubters quickly become optimists!