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Neville Southall: Sorry Roberto, Everton’s woes aren’t down to luck, you have no Plan B

The Goodison Park great says the manager has been getting on fans' tits...

by Neville Southall | January 26, 2016

There’s a strange mood around Goodison Park these days to go along with some strange results.

The fans are really up for being positive they’re just not sure what the hell is going on. And they’re really angry about it. They don’t believe the manager has a plan B. Whether they go one goal or up or one goal down Everton still keep attacking. They can’t seem to see a game out, they can’t seem to defend basic stuff at corners.

Roberto Martinez has been very nice to his players and it gets on the fans’ tits because he’s coming out and saying they played well but that they were unlucky. Well, our record suggests that we’re not unlucky, we’re making mistakes and that’s what needs to change.

With all the shocks further up the league. a Champions League place should have been on the cards this season. Most fans are sitting there thinking it’s going to click anytime now. There have been glimpses of it this season but then we go backwards for a couple of games and then we go forward. That’s what the results are showing is that we haven’t quite clicked but when we do we’re a match for any side in the Premier League.

Moving on Cup

Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg is vital for a number of reasons. It’s vital to keep the fans believing in the manager because there are a lot of disgruntled fans at the moment. Getting through to a final would also be one step towards steadying the ship. It’d cheer a lot of people up and would paper over a lot of the cracks.

To win a trophy would be magnificent and Everton are capable of doing it. Twenty years is a long time and people do lose faith. Robert’s first season was magnificent, last season wasn’t too clever and this season has been littered with individual mistakes and he’s getting stick for it.


You’ve got a choice with players like John Stones, who cost the team a goal against Swansea – you either accept that he’s going to make mistakes as part of his learning process and live with them or you take him out of the team. I would just keep playing him.

Scruff justice

We’re not far off being a decent team, we probably lack somebody who can provide a bit of inspiration in the middle of the park or someone who can take a game by the scruff of the neck and show a bit of passion and pride. At the moment most Evertonians are fed up because the games we should, win we don’t win. There have been too many draws. The way the fans are at the moment,  some of them would prefer to see the defenders boot the ball in to the stands and this is where we’ve got to decide whether the manager’s attacking philosophy is the best one for the club. I believe it is.

Looking at Wednesday’s game, the fans walking towards the Etihad Stadium won’t have a clue which Everton team’s going to turn up. Is it the one which beat City in the first leg or the one which lost to Swansea on Sunday? We’re too nice a side to play against. We’re not particularly nasty. We’re nice and open, we’re scoring goals but we’re conceding a lot of goals.

Will the Toffees need to stick a trip to Wembley in their diaries?

If we don’t win on Wednesday it won’t surprise a lot of Evertonians. They’d be upset but they wouldn’t be surprised. More of them would be surprised if we go through to the final because they don’t know what Everton team is going to show up.

When it clicks with this team they’re bloody good to watch but when it doesn’t it looks bloody awful. What happened on Sunday is they pass it about slowly, they were too predictable and they get caught. The second half they come out and Gerard Deulofeu was a different class. The amount of quality crosses he put in to the box was impressive. He could be a key player against City.


If we make it through to the final that’ll give the whole place a lift, if we can get some players back fit then we have a decent squad. We’re short of a striker, we’re short of general pace and we’re short of someone in midfield who can show that leadership. When I look at most of the other teams in the Premier League United they also lack a leader. City lack a leader. Yes they have Yaya Toure but he covers hardly any ground and seems to want to just walk about for much of the game.

The Capital One Cup often gets derided and overlooked, but the Everton players have to want go in to the game on Wednesday and make themselves heroes. It may not be the biggest prize they win in their professional careers, but it’s an important stepping stone. They can turn this season round in 90 minutes, or whatever it takes to get through. Go get a result there and get the fans back onside with a trip to Wembley.

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