Contradictions and Excuses

By Graeme Harper 28/01/2016  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

The managerial PR spiel is a common occurrence in modern day football, and no manager is quite as adept as Everton's Roberto Martinez.

A happy-go-lucky character with a hypnotic voice who sees no evil and speaks no evil. Promises and proclamations that Champions League football were abound, all the while returning Everton to the School of Science - and that was just in his first press conference. A perfect mouthpiece for any club when faced with national and local press and all delivered with a wry smile upon his face.

However, the Spaniards silky tones have ever so slowly turned to the gentle hiss of the snake oil salesmen to the Goodison faithful over the past 18 months.

One win in ten, three wins since September - all coming against the current bottom three and just 18 league wins since the beginning of the 2014/15 season and you can see why frustration has begun to boil over. Yet Martinez has remained relatively untouched by the media and it's seemingly down to his charm offensive.

After a horrific capitulation at home against Stoke in December, Martinez said: "At the moment there is a bigger picture, nobody has got their position safe."

"Everyone is fighting for their starting spot, and it's no different for anyone."

Nice words for a team that had just thrown away a 3-2 lead - not for the first time this season and it wouldn't be the last - yet the error-riddled Tim Howard is immune from his own words.

"Tim Howard has always been so important...but his role on the pitch is more important than individual performance.”

How can a single player be an exception to your own rallying cry? 12 months earlier the goalkeeper position had been the managers key target and within months with no upheaval in form, all had been forgotten.

These contradictions aren't Martinez's only grievance in the press room however.

Constant talk of external factors being at fault for performances have been a reoccurring theme for the Catalonian in recent weeks.

"I don’t think we got any luck," after the most recent Premier League loss to Swansea where only two shots on target were made.

"The referee wasn’t up to the required level today," after dropping two separate leads in the away performance at Chelsea.

"I think the fans have got a big role to play in helping our young players," after a dreadful 1-1 draw away at Norwich and describing Everton's fifth consecutive home game without a win as a "negative outcome of a fearful attitude,” Sunday night.

It's a blame game where there is no self reflection on an underachieving season and no one within is culpable for any poor performance.

And now, his excuses have transferred into Everton's safe space in the Capital One Cup.

"It’s so clear, and so big in the way the game was developing. It’s heartbreaking. I don’t think anyone would disagree that that goal was the major change in the tie," speaking about Manchester City's second goal of the night where Raheem Sterling ran the ball out of play before providing an all important assist.

While there is a truthful and a major gripe to be had with the failure to spot the infringement by Martin Aktinson, the idea that the game was "developing" in any way not towards a second Manchester City goal is laughable.

Poor substitutions and adopting a backs to the wall defensive shape had invited the home team on and allowed Martinez's Everton to concede three times in a game, where in similar fashion to Dynamo Kiev last season, a 0-0 would have put Everton one step closer to a trophy.

It may well be a different story behind closed doors but the fans appreciate honesty and it's something that hasn't been present in Martinez's tenure.

Now admittedly, Evertonians have been a cautious bunch for quite some while. A sell to buy system that ensures its best aren't on the Toffee's books for long and the much publicised 21 year wait for silverware have helped forge a pessimistic cloud above the blue half of L4.

However, throwing excuse after excuse at the wall in the hope they'll stick with continued pleas for patience just aren't going to cut it this time around.

The famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein about insanity is evidently applicable to Roberto Martinez but it's just as pertinent to the media who refuse to question just what the charismatic managers P.R really stands for - as at the moment it's pestilent rhetoric.

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