By Ian Mills
Q – If the international weekend previously came at a good time for Everton, could this one have come at a worse?
Absolutely not. The second half performance against Chelsea is the performance we have been waiting for all season, so to have that momentum halted is frustrating. You could argue there are positives in that Cenk Tosun scored as well as Michael Keane starting and scoring for England, both showing assured performances but of course you would have wanted the next domestic game to have come around much quicker than it has. I think, without steering away too much away from the question that the dates the national teams play has to be looked at going forward. Too many times the domestic season is interrupted at crucial times, such as this, and I can’t help but think there should be one period in the season or summer that these games are played.
Q – The last 2 performances (Newcastle & Chelsea) have seen contrasting performances in each half. How disappointing is it to you, despite the latter being a victory, that we can’t seem to perform well over 90 minutes?
In short, yes. I can’t count on both hands the times I’ve had a half time pint assessment only to say the complete opposite in the pub at full time! The Newcastle game is the more frustrating of the two as we were coasting and the game just needed to be managed. Team’s know we have a soft centre and a lot of times that has seen us give away leads and in turn points. Bournemouth away & Watford at home spring to mind. It is certainly something that needs to be addressed and I personally think it’s a mental thing opposed to anything else. Under Roberto Martinez we looked very unfit and lost points late on in games when it was blatant we had run out of steam. I can’t say the same for this side. We look as fit as I’ve seen us from a stamina and pressing point of view but until we address our lack of leaders and soft centre then this problem will be a persistent one.
Q – Moving onto the weekend, West Ham away. They’ve been almost as inconsistent as Everton this season. Is this a game you are confident of going to win, or is it a dangerous game for this Everton side?
I think it’s a dangerous one in relation to what I’ve said above. I don’t know what Everton to expect per half, never mind per game. I could see us going in 2-0 up or 2-0 down at HT in any game, not just this one that is a dangerous situation to be in. West Ham seem unlike us in that I wouldn’t say they have a soft side, but that they have a tendency to switch off and teams (including Huddersfield and Cardiff) have hurt them because of it. If we can somehow seem to put a game plan together for 90 minutes then this is a game we should be winning. ‘Should’ however is a word that doesn’t seem to go in hand in hand with Everton! I can’t see many punters sticking this on their coupon.
Q – Finally, Tim Cahill has this week announced his retirement at the end of his domestic season. Favourite Tim Cahill memories?
First of all, what a career. Age 39, played in 3 world cups, a legend at most clubs he has played for and someone who can look back and say they could not have done more for any club they played for. Some of my favourite Cahill memories come in the Merseyside derbies. In an era where Duncan Ferguson needed replacing, he stepped up and has not been replaced since. Punching the corner flag with goals in 2 derby wins in 2006 and 2010, late goal at the Anfield road in a dent to their 2009 title challenge but for me, the ultimate was sending the ground absolutely wild in the clinching goal at home to Newcastle in 2005, sealing our 4th place finish ahead of the reds and into the Champions league. Good luck Tim!