Wednesday night’s match against Everton at Goodison Park was played like, what should be, a resignation letter from Steve McClaren.
After the, seemingly unfounded, optimism provided by the transfer window, the manager got just about every single decision wrong that he possibly could have done.
Where to begin…let’s start with the obvious.
We bought a winger to provide crosses in to the strikers, so why on earth would we start out with our smallest and least suited attacking player in the lone striking role?
What exactly was the plan there?
Who was Townsend meant to aim for if he had the opportunity to deliver?
Perez is a very good footballer but a lone striker he is not.
Formation – what was it meant to be?
I saw some reporting it as a 4-4-2, some as a 4-3-2-1, so which was it? The players certainly didn’t seem to know as we had a guy hugging the touchline on the left and a midfield player coming in-field and trying to play in an over lapping full back on the other, neither with great success.
The team looked completely lopsided and confused, where was Wijnaldum meant to be playing? Was Shelvey supposed to sit or support the attack, because he didn’t seem to know either?
Attitude – again too many of our supposed ‘big guns’ were passengers; Sissoko, Coloccini and even Wijnaldum, were largely anonymous or just plain lazy and sloppy. The captain backed out of challenges, Sissoko strolled around like a day on the training ground and Wijnaldum must have found a trapdoor on the pitch, because I didn’t even see him for long periods in the match.
Shelvey looked confused by the whole thing, and by the second half seemed to have followed Gini into the tunnels below Goodison.
Approach – we desperately needed to put Everton under pressure from the first minute, the first kick, the first challenge, everything about how we began was incredibly important if we wanted to stamp authority on a fragile Everton side without a home win in three months.
Instead we gave them the ball, gave them all the space they wanted and let them settle and gain confidence in the early stages, we posed absolutely zero threat! I bet the Everton players couldn’t believe their luck!
The blame for that performance has to rest with the manager. He is clearly not only tactically incompetent, but also completely unable to motivate the players to do, well……anything. All his words about how magnificent we have been in defeat over recent weeks would be laughable if they weren’t so tragic, what games does he watch?
Make no mistake, if Steve McClaren stays in his current role we are going down, that is looking certain.
The owner and the board need to admit they made a mistake and actively recruit an experienced forward thinking manager now, today – not in a month, not in April, right bloody now if they are genuinely serious about being the Premier League next season.
This whole campaign has been an experiment gone wrong, organised like a shambles from day one with the ridiculous American pre-season tour and continuing to shuffle along from calamity to disaster.
A final and personal point from me.
When we signed Jamaal Lascelles, I said that I had seen him play often and he was a lower league clumsy ox, I take no pleasure in being right other than the two fingers that I now offer to those who told me he was ‘an England prospect’.
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