Martinez says rectifying defensive woes is a team responsibility

by | 02/01/2016  103 Comments  [Jump to last]
Roberto Martinez has refused to single out individuals like under-fire goalkeeper Tim Howard for criticism for his team's problems at the back and insists that Everton need to defend better as a group.

Howard's position as the Toffees' seemingly unmovable first-team goalkeeper has come under fresh scrutiny as the side continues to concede important goals and pass up points from winning positions, a situation that means they kick off 2016 in the bottom half of the table.

Martinez has again stressed the American's importance to his young defence, while also admitting that every player's position is open to examination while Everton aren't winning matches.

"Every player's position is always under scrutiny; I think we are what we are because of the competition for places that we have," Martinez said.

"But, in the same manner, I don't think it's a situation down to one individual. It would be very stupid from us just to think the solution is to blame someone. Tim Howard had an incredible moment against Newcastle, he had a great save in a key moment of the game.

"Clearly defensively we haven't been good enough of late at home and I don't think it's down to one player. But, in the same way, nobody has guaranteed their starting place just because of your name or your past.

"At the moment, we are realising that the importance of Tim Howard is to help a young team like ours to reach the best level and be as good as we can," Martinez continued.

"Everyone will be needed and we can't wait to get rid of the horrible feeling we left ourselves against Stoke at Goodison."  

Reader Comments (103)

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Ian Hollingworth
2 Posted 02/01/2016 at 14:59:01
Deluded fool. I don't expect him to publicly blame Tim Howard but as manager I do expect him to recognise he is performing well below the level expected and for him to do something about it.

If RM feels that he is performing well and is important to our young defence then so be it... but, for me, it just fuels the feeling that I have always had that the manager is not the man for Everton FC.

Ian McDowell
3 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:00:27
Yes it is and its also the responsibility of the management & coaching team. I expect to see a lot better vs Spurs then.
Kunal Desai
4 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:02:38
He just talks continous waffle. I switch off from whatever he has to say.
Jay Harris
5 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:12:42
The one person who shouldn't be guaranteed their place is he who has a long record of conceding goals. ......that would be you and your championship back up team Mr Martinez.
Kim Vivian
6 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:17:15
Ummm...So what is this saying exactly?

1 - Apparently there is competition for places. So who are Kone, Howard, playing better than which earns them a start?

2 - If we are blaming an individual, Roberto, how about whoever it is who is telling the defenders what to do? Howard may put in some decent saves but is clearly over the hill, and collectively I think, we cannot be blaming him for that. He doesn't pick himself, mate.

3 - Seems to be acknowledging there is a problem...Repeat as above.

Last two sentences just using up words. Say nothing. What is Howard doing to help our young team then. Experienced for sure but must be making them nervous during games.

This month will kill or cure us this season. It's an absolute 'mare. 9 difficult matches between now and 6th Feb - 5 weeks (I am sure we will make D&R difficult somehow).

Peter Gorman
7 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:17:30
What Kunal said
Clive Rogers
8 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:24:37
Defending is a team effort, but goalkeeper is very much down to the individual, and there have been too many free headers going in from inside the 6-yard box, and too many crosses flapped at.
Paul Hughes
9 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:24:44
You don't half talk shit, Roberto.

After the Newcastle game, you said we have learnt our lessons... the next game, we concede 4 goals!
Pete North
10 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:24:47
Penny for the thoughts of the players on the quality and amount of defensive coaching they get. Is this a moment leading towards RM 'losing the dressing room' ?
Paul Kelly
11 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:30:33
"... nobody has guaranteed their starting place just because of your name or your past."

What a complete load of cack; practise what you preach, you idiot.

I've had enough of this second rate buffoon. The sooner he's hounded out of the club, the better.

Barry McNally
12 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:31:25
Our defence don't even seem to know the basics so maybe it's something more than coaching that's the issue.
Alexander O'Brien
13 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:33:55
Completely agree with Martinez speaking a lot of sense there. How about putting into practise you're own words, being it a collective responsibly by doing your own job by dropping him. You'd probably get supported instead or ridiculed.
Barry Pearce
14 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:34:01
Ditto, Paul (#8).
Susong Hermawan
15 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:34:16
Yah Roberto... Whatever eh!
David Barks
16 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:34:25
Yet he plays the exact same players every match, regardless of how bad a string of results and performances are.

How does he not get asked a follow-up question to provide an example of when he last dropped an Everton player due to the performance? The only time I can think of a player being dropped was Robles and that was after a run of clean sheets.
Andy Peers
17 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:41:00
So no chance of dropping Howard for tomorrow's game then?
Tony Twist
18 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:46:03
Well done Slaven Bilic today. Should have been Everton manager instead of this idiot. Bilic may not be perfect but he knows how to set a group of players up to beat teams unlike this full time Charlie.
Brian Porter
19 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:49:31
Well said, David (#14).

Great point, mate.
Bill Gall
20 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:54:59
Hope with this comment he realizes he is the leader if the team, as the only responsibility he seems to take is to shift the blame elsewhere.
Jamie Crowley
21 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:55:03
As soon as I read this I was like... ichhhh!

This is exactly why Martinez's detractors get so pissed.

Just drop Howard, send a message that no-one is untouchable and if you cost us points you're getting splinters in your ass for a few games.

Martinez is still my man, but Jesus please Roberto just make a couple of obvious changes.

Dennis Ng
22 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:58:55
LOL Jamie, if anything, this shows us that he remains defiant that his methods are right and his belief of form being temporary (like 57 games temporary). Unfortunately, his class is not eternal either.
Gerard Carey
23 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:59:01
"An incredible moment"!!!!!, and lots of horrible moments too Roberto. If Robles doesn't start Sunday then RM is not doing his job either.

A manager's job is first and foremost to put out his best team always, make necessary changes when players are injured or out of form, impact subs to change the course of the game at a time when the player coming on can have a positive effect etc.

Oh, and your favourites should be droppable too, Roberto, if they continue to make mistakes.
Peter Cummings
24 Posted 02/01/2016 at 15:59:28
When is Martinez going to stop stating the 'bleeding obvious' about us losing games we should have won or at least drawn, to say ''Howard is needed to teach our young team reach the best level they can'', is just another of his meaningless and idiotic quotes.

It goes without saying that Howard has made many great stops in his career and he deserves credit for them, but he has made several juvenile blunders costing games and points, so deserves an equal amount of flak from those who pay his wages.

No one disputes that our problems are 'collective' but they too are largely caused by the inability of the manager to depart from a mentality of dictatorship of 'What I say and do goes'.

After today's result at West Ham, we must get a positive result against Spurs to to at least keep us in touch with our beloved neighbours and a possible return to Euro competition. COYB.

Mark Tanton
25 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:03:50
I don't think Howard will be dropped, although I do think the pressure to do so will become ever more intense.

What I do think will happen is that the club and Howard will draw up between them a face saving departure in the summer. Either some coaching role, or off to back to the States. In my opinion, Martinez has done massive damage with his perverse and stubborn misplaced loyalty to Howard. Same as Moyes and Osman.

Jamie Crowley
26 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:06:40

It really, really is similar to the Moyes-Osman lovefest.

Anyone else notice that our shit run / lack of points Chrimbo coincided with the return of one Leighton Baines?

I said all along Galloway shouldn't have been dropped... just saying.

Tough decisions are what a manager gets paid to do. Keep the "England international" left back on the bench while Galloway is producing. Drop Howard when he's playing shite. Simple!

Someone hire me!

William Cartwright
27 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:09:30
By far the most important man in any football club is the man at the helm; the manager. That's why we will continue to struggle until he has gone. Shame really, because he seems such a good guy (if you believe the charm school exchanges).

However, we know Tim will be playing again today and will possibly / probably be responsible for conceding a goal or two. Lukaku will score one, possibly two and we might catch a draw. However, I don't think I will be watching the game.

I have caught a bad dose of "Toffeewiganitis" and although it's not terminal a complete change of diet and a long period of recuperation is called for.
Brian Porter
28 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:13:06

Baines played in the win against Newcastle – clean sheet.

Galloway played in defeat to Stoke, Baines didn't – four conceded... just saying.

Mark Tanton
29 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:16:29
Agreed on Baines, no way should be have walked back in. This time last year Robles kept something like two or three clean sheets in four, and was then dropped. That stinks.

Truthfully, Baines is slower than Galloway and his body is not as sprightly and forgiving as it once was. He's also been out for months too.

John Aldridge
30 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:16:43
As others have said, Bobby is talking bollocks as usual.

If nobody is guaranteed their place, why did Baines walk straight back into the team when Galloway was playing so well? Why was Cleverley dropped in favour of McCarthy who hasn't played for a while? Why persist with Kone when Mirallas is chomping at the bit (wasn't even on the bench!)?

Then we come to the elephant in the room – Howard. He's finished and should have been dropped long ago. Robles may not be the answer, but give the lad a chance to prove his worth then decide.

Bobby, either practice what you preach or stop spouting shite that just infuriates the devoted blues.
Chris Corn
31 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:16:47
Is he talking about the save where it was headed straight at him?! I would have been annoyed if he hadn't kept that out. Howard is a mess.

I watched him from the Lower Street End against Leicester close up. He visibly does not want the ball coming into his box. He turns his head and just flaps. His error for the Stoke third magnifies that. He needs to be dropped and now!!
Jay Harris
32 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:23:18
I don't blame Howard.

This manager has had Distin, Alcaraz, Jags, Stones etc and the goals against keep mounting – just like they did at Wigan.

Yes Howard needs replacing but this manager has not got a clue about how to set up a team or in game management. He has been sussed out big time by any half decent manager.

Jamie, Galloway was looking jaded before Baines came back and it was he not Baines who failed to shackle Shaqiri.

William Cartwright
33 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:23:26
It has just occurred to me that Robles is Everton's first choice goalkeeper. The weekly league fayre is all a series of practice sessions for the short cut to glory route of the League Cup and FA Cup.

Well done, Roberto, we have finally got a right-thinking strategist at the helm. I will sleep soundly in anticipation of a drubbing by Spurs.

Who cares? We are too good to go down, thanks to Villa, Sunderland and AN Other, and we will look good at Wembley, soon to become our second home.
Steve Guy
34 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:32:32
To have any chance v Citeh in mid week, Robles needs to play v Spurs. Throwing him straight in is unfair to both Robles and the fans. Martinez needs to take off his Tim Howard tinted specs and see what the rest of us have known for some time....

Howard is well past his sell-by date and his poor form is affecting the whole defence.

David Connor
35 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:40:48
What a top bullshitter Roberto is. He would make a bloody good double-glazing salesman.

Show some fuckin backbone man and tell things as they are! We are woefully inept in defence and the buck stops with your defensive coaches. They need to be replaced ASAP...
John Jones
36 Posted 02/01/2016 at 16:57:11
Martinez needs to go asap.

We have won just 10 Home games in the Premier League since the start of last season. 10 Home games in 18 months!

This season, we are conceding 1.9 goals at home per match.

Martinez is an idiot; we look okay going forward but this has got to be the worst defending I have seen in 35 years of supporting Everton.

78 goals we have shipped in the last 18 months.

I cannot believe people still blindly defend this clown.

Brian Porter
39 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:18:19
Stoke just lost to West Brom after hitting four past our phenomenal keeper. Bournemouth held mighty Leicester to a goalless draw with ten men, after we gave the Foxes three at home... Just when is Martinez going to wise up?

It's all well and good him going on about collective responsibility but the defence gains immeasurable confidence if the have absolute faith in the man between the sticks. Unless Martinez himself takes his share of the 'collective responsibility ' by dropping the failing goalkeeper, he is letting himself, the team, the fans, the board who appointed him, and poor old Robles down.

It would serve Martinez right if Robles put in a transfer request based on the lack of first team opportunities but he won't of course, as long as we remain in the League Cup and he stands a chance of playing at Wembley.

But, what's the chances, if we somehow beat Man City, that Martinez puts Howard in for the final to give his favourite the chance of a winner's medal? I wouldn't put anything past this Charlatan.
Alan Peake
40 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:26:35
I think Martinez needs to remember that goalkeepers are mainly judged for the mistakes they make, not the saves they make, which after all is what they are there for. Put any level of keeper in goal and at some stage they will make an outstanding save; this doesn't mean they are good enough to play at the top level.

Tim Howard is a conceited bighead, who won't hold up his hands when he makes yet another cock-up, who thinks he is world class, when he is only an average keeper at best.
John Suckley
41 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:39:20
Let's look further than our out-of-form keeper, who I think we all agree needs to be replaced. How about addressing the basics of allowing too many crosses, failure to challenge for headers, small defenders marking tall strikers or leaving men free, our lack of strong mentality to close a game down etc.

I hate to be negative as there is so much positive about the quality of this side, but if we don't sort this quickly, this team will fall apart in the summer. How 'Everton' would that be? The current frustration in the ground is tangible and it's not a pleasant place to be right now.

Onwards and upwards, eh?
Barry Pearce
43 Posted 02/01/2016 at 17:57:48
Kenwright must take some blame for not getting rid of this clown. I know he has not been too well, but he must have been watching the games in some capacity. Surely he can see what most fans see.
Andrew Laird
44 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:01:22
Tim Howard performs like he has won a competition to play for Everton.
Dean Adams
45 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:29:22
John Suckley,

Cutting out crosses is part of the remit of your wide midfielders. This becomes rather confusing when we only play with one wide man. Teams see this weakness and overload the weak flank.

Even when Baines can get back into position, the opposition have a spare man unmarked, who would normally be picked up by the left midfielder. In past years that was Pienaar who did offer cover and of course MIrallas does his best to cover; however, when he gets back and makes a challenge, he is victimized for 12 months for kicking a player with his follow-through.

Tough job playing as a left midfielder unless you are Kone and you just don't ever make a challenge or close your man down; neither does he get defensive headers in... but Bobby just ignores it.

Tony Cheek
46 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:30:54
"I don't think it's a situation down to one individual." In other words, Howard plays!
Andy Crooks
47 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:32:28
It is really sad that, with such a promising squad, we have such a talentless, inept fool as a manager.

With almost any other manager in the football league, this could have been our season, but we have Roberto, who will satisfy our utterly shit board by, merely, not getting relegated. That, it seems, is all that is required of this bumbling ninny. What a shame.
Jim Hardin
48 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:36:53
Odd how you lot see what you want and read into words what you want. Did it ever occur to you Howard bashers that perhaps Martinez is talking about the collective to avoid singling out John Stones, Funes Mori and Galloway?

Stones has been soft and cowardly as a central defender. Even the announcers on our games over here continue to comment on his lack of true defending skills and even wonder why he continues to back off of players, conceding space and the ball in the box.

I wonder if you all would complain if Stones was properly sent to the bench on Jagielka's return. He seems to be undroppable to most of you which I believe is what you criticize the manager for... right?

BTW, Kevin Ratcliffe blames the defense, not Howard, but his opinion is useless too?

John Crawley
49 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:46:18
The fact that we have a young defender is the very reason why Howard should be dropped. His communication with his defenders is woeful and the uncertainty he is causing with crosses is plain for everyone to see.

I lost it with Martinez last season when he dropped Stones for Alcaraz and Robles for Howard. Nothing since then has made me change my mind.
John Suckley
50 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:46:58
Dean, I totally agree. I watch Kone and often try to figure out exactly where he is meant to be playing. Having played left back myself for years, even at my low level, I wonder what Baines and/or Galloway are thinking when they are being overrun due to our team being sent out lacking any sensible shape.

Inexcusable at this level, which is why we're being ruthlessly exposed. Also, relying so heavily on one man to put the ball in the net is criminal; imagine Lukaku playing next to a Jermaine Defoe type!
Andy Crooks
51 Posted 02/01/2016 at 18:52:41
Jim, to call John Stones soft and cowardly is an appalling comment. He is a talented young player who has played much of the season with an inexperienced defender by his side. He is an immense talent, who, when Jagielka comes back, will continue his development.

Tim Howard was an okay goalkeeper who is well past his best, whose remonstrations with his defenders following yet another howler are just embarrassing.

Doug Harris
53 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:08:16
I have said this before so I'll say it again: it is a team game and I don't like picking on any team member and singling them out on personal performances. There have been times this and last season that the manager /coaching staff cannot have missed what we all see.

However, if (as our manager says) Tim Howard is good in the dressing room... then FFS leave him in there!
Lyndon Lloyd
54 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:21:36
Doug (46), I think Martinez's quote on that has been misconstrued. He said that, when he sees Howard in the dressing room, it makes him confident... because of what it means he will supposedly bring to the team on the pitch.

He can be a great influence in the dressing room whether he plays or not, just as I assume players like Ossie and Hibbo are these days. It's Martinez's assertion that he "controls" the defenders in front of him, one that rings hollow to me, particularly when you see a 21-year-old John Stones admonishing him for putting him in trouble with ill-advised balls to him in dangerous areas.

Andy Peers
55 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:26:28

Is that tongue-in-cheek? Do you mean leave him in the dressing room when the game is being played?

Andrew Laird
56 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:36:09
Jim Hardin says "Stones has been soft and cowardly as a central defender".

Presumably you are completely ignoring the biggest coward in the team who cannot wait to jump out of the way or backwards out of any impending danger, or staying on his line to let inexperienced defenders deal with any crossed balls in "his six" in case he gets clattered, even though he can use his hands or diving at an attacker's feet with his hands and chest instead of using his feet..... Now I wonder if you can guess who I am talking about, Jim?

Stones has made mistakes but will get to a level that other players could only ever dream about because he is still learning to be a centre-back with a mute liability behind him. What is your hero Tim Howard's excuse?

Christy Ring
57 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:45:01
Dean (#38), I agree completely.

I'm fed up with Bob picking out individual saves that Howard made, or referring to his experience, to try and justify his selection in the team. He won't mention the mistakes he makes, and he thinks that Kone is the reason Lukaku is scoring. Total arrogance.

He won't accept criticism, and at no stage does he believe the reason we are conceding so many goals is because he's picking a team with no shape whatsoever.

Helen Mallon
58 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:45:56
I watched our last game and remember very well kone making an excellent challenge after running back 30/40 yards. I would also like to point out that BARKLEY is getting off very lightly for not doing his left midfield duty because I believe Kone is a second striker not a left midfielder but is having to do Ross job because he goes missing. Really what does he do.
Helen Mallon
59 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:46:54
I also think the manger should go.
Jay Harris
60 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:51:58
I think it is very unfair to blame Howard for all our woes.

We have an international back 5 that since the man with the historic record of managing clubs that ship goals like a sieve joined us has looked a shambles.

People always look for scapegoats.

Distin and Alcaraz were the last ones please don't let this joker turn all the fans against Tim Howard.

I agree and have said since before THAT World Cup that we needed a better keeper but he is not responsible for the defensive shambles we now have.

Look off the pitch for that one.

Joe Clitherow
61 Posted 02/01/2016 at 19:57:31

If you can't see that Barkley has been getting steadily better and better this season, making better decisions and eliminating mistakes, then I really don't know what to say. Especially when you seem to imply the woeful Kone is somehow carrying him.

Ross is finally developing despite a second-rate manager.

Chris Gould
62 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:00:13
We have been defending collectively poorly. Howard hasn't regressed that much since Moyes left and nobody was slating him then. The defending as a unit has disappeared. Our current centre backs are constantly being pulled out of position. We miss the kind of player Distin once was.

Howard is being made a scapegoat when in reality the mistakes are being made long before the ball has found the back of his net.

Mike Hayes
63 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:01:56
Would not surprise me one bit if Howard or Kone start tomorrow but it will cement the fans belief that he (Martinez) is as stubborn as a mule.
Chris Gould
64 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:12:43
In my opinion, put Distin of a few years ago in the team along with Fellaini and Hibbert, and we wouldn't be conceding from crosses and corners. Nobody would have an issue with Tim. He hasn't suddenly become a poor keeper. The personnel in front of him has changed... and they are piss poor at defending.

Coleman and Stones, for example, are far better players than Hibbert and Distin BUT they would be killed by those two in a heading, tackling and defending contest. Unfortunately defending is their primary role.

That's the fundamental problem. We have defenders that aren't great at defending. Even Baines is better going forwards than back.

Andy Crooks
65 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:50:49

Tim hasn't "suddenly" become a poor keeper; in my opinion, he has been poor for some time. Look at the effect that a top goalkeeper can have on an inexperienced defence and then consider flapping, panicking, remonstrating, star-jumping, hands-avoiding Tim. Imagine being our young defenders with that behind them.

Confident, reassuring, inspiring, ferocious, calm, courageous. It would be good to have a goalkeeper with even two of those attributes.

Christy Ring
66 Posted 02/01/2016 at 21:52:42
Chris (#57)

Does that not tell you that Tim was always piss poor at crosses, and Fellaini and Distin saved his bacon?
James Stewart
67 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:05:53
For once, I agree with him it is a collective failing. Sadly it is a malaise of every team he has managed so that speaks more of his own tactical inadequacy than that of the players.

I see the mighty Stoke didn't look so good today against an average defence. Puts into perspective just how terrible ours is.
Ross Edwards
68 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:16:12
When Roberto starts practicing what he preaches and stops spouting delusional waffle, I'll pay attention to what he has to say.
Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:42:52
It's true you shouldn't blame individuals, but sometimes it's hard not too. Martinez picks the team, and Martinez, is responsible for tactics.

I think he is failing us on both counts at the minute, and this is just not good enough for the most important member of staff, on the football side of our club.

Some of the attacking football that we play is excellent, but we let ourselves down badly when it comes to defending. It's criminal that we don't defend as a team, but the fact that it's obvious, the back four are not being schooled to defend as a unit, really is incredible.

One of the first things, you should be taught in any school of life, is to help your fucking mate out, but our back five play like it's every man for himself.

So I think you're correct in not blaming any individuals, Roberto, but if you don't look in the mirror soon, it will surely cost you your job.

Chris Gould
70 Posted 02/01/2016 at 22:54:03
Christy, the point is that it isn't Tim that has suddenly become worse, it's the players in front of him (as a collective defensive unit).

Many on here seem to be blaming Tim for us conceding all of these goals. I think he's as good as he's always been. Whether that is/was good enough in the first place is down to the manager.

I think Moyes was aware of his weaknesses and ensured that he had the protection that he needed in front of him.
Martinez appreciates his strengths, but doesn't account for his weaknesses.

If you play Tim then you play defenders that defend and head (plus a Fellaini type player who comes back for set pieces). Tim can take care of the shot stopping very adequately.

Of course it would be nice to have a world class keeper, but you don't buy one to solve defensive deficiencies. You sort out the defence.

John Daley
71 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:01:50
"Tim can take care of the shot stopping very adequately."

His shots-to-saves ratio seem to suggest otherwise...

Winston Williamson
72 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:05:41
Our defense is terrible, utterly terrible! Quite possibily the worst defense I've ever seen at EFC... including during the '90s!

Attacking? Very good, with very good players.

Blame Howard solely? Well, I know he's past his best and does need replacing, but if you have to play him, set the defense up to minimise his weaknesses...

We've seen Howard play as part of a solid defensive unit.

Question: Has anyone ever seen Martinez build a consistently solid defensive unit? If the answer is no (like me), then the problem is Martinez. And only Martinez...

Martinez out ASAP!

Andrew Laird
73 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:30:24
Chris Gould says "Christy, the point is that it isn't Tim that has suddenly become worse, it's the players in front of him (as a collective defensive unit)." – This has been done to death.

He is bang out of form and has been horrible for over a year. Statistically he was the worst goalkeeper in the league last season, with Everton ranking top for blocking shots which blows your nonsense out of the water.

Chris Gould
74 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:35:45
John (#65),

Only Jack Butland and Pantilimon have made more saves in the premier league this season than Tim. If his shots-to-save ratio is as poor as you suggest, then that means our defenders are allowing a disproportionate amount of shots at our goal.

Regardless of what many think about Tim, the defence is terrible at defending. Baines, Coleman and Stones are fantastic footballers, but not great defenders.

Jim Jennings
75 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:36:19
Andy Crooks,

Calling John Stones "soft and cowardly" is no more appalling than calling Martinez a "talentless, inept, fool". You're no stranger to hyperbole yourself so lay off the righteous indignation please.

Stones does let himself get bullied at times and does turn his back on shots rather than throwing his body in the way so I can understand why he used those words, even if I wouldn't have used them myself.

Tom Vivian
76 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:52:42
I've not read the previous 69 comments so apologies if I'm repeating what has already been said, but my concerns are that RM doesn't give the players responsibility.

If he did, the boys we've got on the pitch would now how to see games out and take maximum points from winning positions. We've got experienced, international level pros who know how to play the game.

I like Martinez and his philosophy. I feel he just needs to let the lads do what they know how to do a bit more. The sooner we have Jags back, the better. When he's back in the side, all these draws will start turning into wins.

Chris Gould
77 Posted 02/01/2016 at 23:58:07
Andrew Laird, calm down. You are talking about last season's stats which are irrelevant. The season before that, his stats made him the 3rd best keeper in the league. Also irrelevant.

Nobody is denying he had a terrible season last season, but the stats this season suggest that the defence is at fault. Too many shots are being allowed at goal. So it doesn't really blow my nonsense out of the water. Perhaps you should consider focusing on this season's stats?

For what it's worth, I'm not saying he's a great keeper. It would be great to buy a world-class keeper, but I believe he's not the main problem.

Roman Sidey
78 Posted 03/01/2016 at 00:23:37
Jim Hardin, while I agree with you, RM did specifically mention Howard in his comments.

It's all been said, but if he says every spot is up for competition, then drops three players after a win, then he is a fucking idiot. This is the same as when Moyes used to say he was looking forward to a certain player playing and then never using him, which happened a lot.

Nobody should expect the manager to blame individuals in a presser but his true intentions should show in his team selections.

It has also been said in the past that Howard is important from a US market standpoint. I live in Canada (pretty much the same sport market) and I can tell you more people know who Lukaku is than Tim Howard, and that is because big Rom is producing.

Howard will play tomorrow. Of that, I have no doubt. I also have no doubt, injuries aside, that he will play against Man City in the league 10 days later, and that is just the saddest thing.

John Daley
79 Posted 03/01/2016 at 00:26:23
Why are last seasons stats suddenly rendered "irrelevant"? He's been in piss poor form for the last two seasons and always had a hare brained moment ready to leap from his locker at any given moment throughout the entirety of his Everton career.

The fact team shape, system and defensive organisation has been bordering on the shambolic at times doesn't mean the keeper should get of free. If anything, it's at such times that you need your keeper to be stepping up to the plate, proving his worth and helping to stem the tide, not suffering multiple Stan Laurel moments and scratching his head afterwords like he's trying to fathom what the fucks just happened.

So far this season, whenever Everton have been leading a game by one goal, Howard has failed to save even a single shot on target.

Brian Wilkinson
80 Posted 03/01/2016 at 02:14:06
So Tim Howard is good for the dressing room, comic Lee Evans would also be good for our dressing room, but I wouldn't want either between our sticks.

I agree our defence is not up to scratch, but any manager who can keep selecting a keeper that is shipping in goals, week-in & week-out, is sending out the wrong message.

Any player that knows, barring suspension or the injury, he will not be dropped is not motivating them. Drop the guy, make them fight for their place, that's what Martinez needs to do, but he won't.

Phil Sammon
81 Posted 03/01/2016 at 03:16:56
I can't believe Martinez is choosing to highlight THAT save against Newcastle. The ball was straight at him!

I do worry about Martinez's sanity at times. The things he highlights, the decisions he makes, even just the way he constructs a sentence... He just baffles me at every turn.

James Marshall
83 Posted 03/01/2016 at 03:46:41
I must be the only person who completely agrees with Martinez. I also hold him fully responsible given that he's the one who chooses our ridiculous tactics in playing our defence up on the halfway line.

Our shabby defending has nothing to do with Tim Howard, and everything to do with our idiotic ploy of attacking like maniacs without doing anything about defending first.

Almost every goal we concede is with our defenders chasing back towards our goal, with the opposition bearing down on Howard at pace, yet people blame the keeper all the time!

I would suggest people look at the bigger picture before they lay all the blame with the last line of defence – especially as our first line of defence consists of two central defenders on the halfway line, and our fullbacks up near the opposition's 18-yard line!

Mike Corcoran
84 Posted 03/01/2016 at 07:21:23
Exactly James. Both full backs are too far up and we don't gather back quickly like every other team.

Yeah TH is past it but ruthlessly exposed. Mind you, I'd love to see us back to the Moyes use of attacking set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.
Chris Gould
85 Posted 03/01/2016 at 08:56:48
John Daley, they are irrelevant because if we go by last season's stats then Lukaku is an average striker and Barkley is simply poor.

The fact is Howard has made more saves this season than every Premier League keeper apart from 2.

I'm not defending his mistakes or saying that he's a great keeper. I'm simply saying that he is being exposed by poor defending.
Paul Mackie
86 Posted 03/01/2016 at 09:39:34
Tim Howard isn't as good as he once was, but you people are deluded if you think that a straight swap for Robles would suddenly have us competing for the top 4.
Eddie Dunn
87 Posted 03/01/2016 at 09:53:54
The defensive problems persist whatever the line-up. It is obviously down to the coaching mantra. The team look more secure when playing away from home on the counter attack. When we try to force the play (usually at home against a team who want to hit us on the break, we get caught out.

Howard had been exposed by our lack of nous all over the park. His mistakes have been fewer that those of say Galloway and Stones, who have erred regularly, with both positional mistakes and poor passes or botched tackles.

Funes Mori has also coughed up the ball to the opposition on occasion, and even Seamus, who has been good getting forward, has been caught out a few times.

The Goalkeeper's mistakes stay in the memory, and because Howard's reflexes are on the wane, and the fact that he has had a pair of inexperienced centre-backs in front of him, we have seen him exposed more than in the past.

Martinez may not want to drop him due to the effect it could have on the atmosphere at the training ground. Howard is a senior pro, in a relatively young team. He may well be an important supporter of the manager.

Also Robles, seems such a happy-go-lucky personality, and is young, so there is no pressure on Roberto to make a difficult decision.

Maybe Martinez thinks that with another inexperienced player in that defence, that more things will go wrong.

I think that Martinez will keep faith with Howard until the summer, when he will be offered the chance to leave, perhaps to the States or a coaching job (US National side?).

It could be in the minds of those that run our club, that with the interest from this American consortium, that it would be politic to keep our US hero involved for the time being, at least!

John Crawley
88 Posted 03/01/2016 at 09:57:01
Chris, you need to have a look at other stats rather than shot stopping! How about headed goals conceded in the 6 yard box, coming for a cross and not dealing with it.

There aren't any stats for goalies organising the defence in front of them but I sit in the Gladwys street and can tell you he doesn't communicate with his defenders.

If you think he's still as good as he was then I would question your judgement, because it seems at odds with the vast majority of supporters.
Chris Gould
89 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:15:39
John Crawley, I'm not saying that he's as good as he once was, but I don't think he's regressed as much as some are suggesting. I don't think he was ever particularly commanding in the box or was he any good at dealing with crosses.

The fact is that he has never been as exposed as he is right now. We miss a commanding centre back. The shots saved stat gives us an indication of how many shots our defence is allowing.

If you have a keeper who isn't comfortable with crosses then you need defenders that are. At the moment Tim's weaknesses are being exposed by a poor defence.

Of course I'd like to see us buy a top class keeper, but in reality it's papering over huge cracks.

I would question anyone's judgement who believes changing keeper is the answer to us conceding so many goals. This season Tim has been better than last season (admittedly not much of an accomplishment), but he is being blamed for goals that are coming from defensive errors and poor positioning.

As Martinez says, it's a collective responsibility. Himself, Tim, and all of the players included.

Joe Clitherow
90 Posted 03/01/2016 at 10:32:31
I understand your point, Chris, that there is a collective responsibility rather than a silver bullet, and of course the defensive organisation is shocking (and sadly not at all unexpected, as I and several others stated clearly when Martinez was appointed - he has neither learned nor changed anything from his Wigan. This whole package is what you get with him).

However, the goalkeeper is the most important position in the team bar none. No team (possibly outside of the Brazil national team) wins anything with a suspect keeper.

And whether it was then or now is irrelevant as Tim is definitely suspect now. If you see something that absolutely needs addressing then FFS address it straight away. Then move on to the next thing that needs assessing. Don't just ignore it and say there are other problems and do nothing as that doesn't help.

I don't by the way think you are arguing this, but this is clearly how you are coming over to other posters.

Gary Edwards
91 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:08:48
Chris (#83),

He's regressed to the point where he is certifiable liability. Every informed / neutral observer that likes footie recognise that Howard is culpable for a large proportion of our current failings. Newspaper articles, TV pundits... the Echo even chose Robles as goalkeeper for their 2015 Everpool team.

I don't know if you attend the games and, if so, where you sit... but Howard has (rightfully) been receiving a lot of 'advice' from the crowd for the best part of two seasons. Last Monday's exchange with the Gwladys Street was the latest of many.

Dennis Lawrence, supposedly the defensive coach, must also be held responsible; his failings are glaringly obvious but then his credentials were questionable to begin with.

Howard to be replaced by Robles, Lawrence to be replaced by a recognised defensive coach, and / or Martinez out ... that would signal intent and the first steps in getting this season back on track.

Tony Abrahams
92 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:36:27
Football is not easy sometimes, well not to have it both ways anyway. Earlier in the season, I thought our play was too conservative, but we looked stronger defensively. Maybe it's because we're missing Jagielka, but although our attacking play has improved massively, our defending has regressed at a similar rate.

The only time Wigan ever improved defensively was when Martinez switched to 3 centre backs, and even then I'm not sure how long this improvement lasted, although it did keep them in the premier league for a bit longer!

This system is strange, for two reasons. Firstly it really exposes our left side, and secondly it really exposes the two centre-backs. It's alright having a midfielder cover a fullback, but often a fast counter attack, will find a covering midfielder on the wrong side defensively. They might be able to see the danger, but they can do absolutely nothing to stop it.

It's defensive suicide really, and if he doesn't change it things will only get worse. Go back to two natural wide men (like your first season) or play 3 Central defenders.

Play Lennon and Miralles out wide, drop Barkley alongside Barry, and play Deulofeu central behind Lukaku. Make the back 4 play conservatively, and as a fucking unit, and get at Spurs today!!

Chris Gould
93 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:49:17
Joe and Gary, I agree that we would be a better team if Tim were replaced with a top class keeper. I'm not denying his mistakes. My point is that he is being blamed for far too much. He is part of our defensive problem and removing him alone won't solve it.
Andy Crooks
94 Posted 03/01/2016 at 11:56:36
Jim (#70), I am indeed no stranger to hyperbole. However, in my opinion, calling a young player 'cowardly' seems worse than calling the coach 'inept'.
Simon Hermansen
95 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:20:55
"I think we are what we are because of the competition for places that we have," Martinez said.

What we are, at the moment, is a disjointed, leaderless team that couldn't defend a bouncy castle. So if that's down to competition to places then god help us.

Also, the Tim Howard save against the Magpies was right at him and suited his star-jumping technique.

John Daley
96 Posted 03/01/2016 at 12:27:02
"John Daley, they are irrelevant because if we go by last season's stats then Lukaku is an average striker and Barkley is simply poor"

Only if you want to be blinkered and take the evidence of last season in total isolation.

If you're talking about a players progression, regression or plateauing, then you obviously need to take into consideration what came before and compare then to the here and now. Lukaku and Barkley have both shown clear improvement this season compared to last. Tim Howard may have made marginal improvements in some areas compared to last year but he's tumbled even further toward clown school in others.

If even the local and national rags have finally twigged and are now pointing the finger at the player over his poor performances then, obviously, the problem persists.

For the past three summers I've stated Everton's top transfer priority should be recruiting a new number 1 and I'll be beating that exact same drum again this close season, irrespective of whether it's Howard or Robles who ends the season in possession of the shirt.

So, that means I don't think Robles is the long term answer, but for the time being he could provide an immediate boost and take some pressure off. Let's face it, the manager isn't suddenly going to start altering shape, strategy or formation in an effort to achieve greater solidity and he doesn't have any real options to switch up defensive personnel.

(Any potential Damascus moment is like to be misconstrued by Martinez as 'a fantastic opportunity to prove the team have entered a momentous period that will enable them to emerge from a chrysalis shell and enjoy the magnificence of their own mutated beauty in the bathroom mirror'....or something).

For one thing, Robles will at least have the crowd right behind him from the off, rather than sarcastically taking the piss or getting involved in slanging matches like they were with Howard last time out. He might not try to save every shot with a splayed foot or freak out every time an opposing forward has the cheek to stand too close to him from a corner. He might actually communicate with his defenders and dish out a bollocking when due. He might actually make a save from an opposition shot after Everton have gone in front and thereby prevent the back four panicking like fuck that the first sight of goal granted at such a pivotal point in the game is tantamount to a guaranteed goal.

Chris Gould
97 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:15:41
John, I'm not disagreeing that he needs replacing. I'm simply of the opinion that he is only one part of the defensive problem. His weaknesses are being woefully exposed by terrible defending. I think he is being made to look worse than he actually is. Many keepers would look poor behind our defence.

Martinez is right in his assertions that it is a collective responsibility. If John Stones didn't have unbelievable potential and great ball skills then he would be getting slated for his performances. Defensively he is a liability. However, he will learn from these experiences and mature into a class act.

Fraser Auld
98 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:20:31
James Marshall (#77) – no, you are not the only one.

Excellent post, hits the nail on the head and I entirely agree.

Ray Robinson
99 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:26:43
Spurs have only been beaten twice in the league this season and yet I think we might still sneak it this afternoon.

Slightly off topic, Everton have sold the full 7,000 plus allocation for the Capital One Cup away second leg with Man City but appear to be struggling to sell out the home first leg next Wednesday... Someone please explain the logic of that to me?

Ray Robinson
100 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:30:10
James (#77) and Fraser (#92), there is merit in your argument but it doesn't explain the many goals conceded in the six-yard box, does it?
Tony Abrahams
101 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:48:42
Ray (#93), because our away support is fucking brilliant.
Fraser Auld
102 Posted 03/01/2016 at 13:52:32
Ray, are you suggesting that getting a goalkeeper who commands the 6-yard box is the answer to our defensive problems?

If you are, you're entitled to your opinion (a popular opinion at that) but I don't agree. It would help, of course, but it won't address the real problem, which James has outlined.

Roger Helm
103 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:01:14
As long as I can remember, successful teams have had two central defenders – one big hairy tough bastard to win headers and clear the lines... and one a bit smaller who can actually play a bit and pass the ball out.

Which is what we need, but of course Martinez knows better than Clough, Paisley, Revie, Kendall, Ferguson et al – he has never signed a tough guy and never will.

Martinez's sides are easy to work out and play against which is why, after his first promotion with Swansea, his teams have all got gradually worse results year on year till he left. Why should things be any different with us?

Jay Wood
104 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:04:46
RM is right to say that our defensive woes are the responsibility of the collective and it is wrong to single out one individual – namely, Tim Howard – for the alarming number of goals we are conceding, as many on here are inclined to do.

That said, it IS, of course, ultimately the responsibility of one man in particular to address an obvious failing. And that man is RM. However, his own numerous public statements this season alone suggests he neither sees it as a grave issue or something to prioritize.

I also sympathize with the opinion Chris Gould is offering in this thread, which some are mistaking for a blind defence of Howard (but I don't agree completely with his claim that previous season stats are an 'irrelevance').

After the Stoke game I read people directing the blame for all 4 goals – including the penalty winner – to Tim (the pen because 'if he hadn't dived to his right, he would have saved it'). The other 3 goals were brilliant in differing ways.

The first, I would have been overjoyed if Everton had scored it. Three very good players, opening up our back line with speed of thought, play and passing. I wouldn't even be over-critical of our defence over that one, particularly of Stones as again some have on here. At this level, sometimes just millimetres or just putting a player slightly off balance makes the difference and Bojan contrived that in the build-up. Howard had no chance with the opener. Sometimes you have to give credit to the brilliance of the opposition and that was such an occasion.

As for the second, whether it was a deliberate worldy or a mishit cross, again, zero blame of Howard for me. Even the third goal Tim got most stick for, again Coleman allowed his man too much room to get the cross in and the delivery was top quality, like a late outswinger in cricket that tempts the batsman to edge to slips. It came in hard and mid-height and kept swinging away from Howard who couldn't get enough purchase on the ball to clear it further out than he did. You still have to give credit to the finish also, top drawer.

Howard needs replacing – of that I have no doubt... and I don't believe Robles is the answer. But primarily blaming the keeper for all our defensive woes is to ignore the obvious.

How our team is set up is why we concede so many goals.

Ray Robinson
105 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:09:28
Tony (#95). I know – but does that then make our home support pathetic? I'll bet that some going to the away game aren't even going to the first leg!

Fraser (#96), I'm saying that while Howard isn't the sole cause of our defensive malaise, it certainly would help if our keeper was much braver and commanding in our 6-yard box. You can't blame the defence collectively for Howard dropping clangers in the 6-yard box.

So while saying that Howard is solely to blame is an exaggeration, the bigger picture that James talks about in #75, certainly does include him as a source of many opposition goals.

Fraser Auld
106 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:43:41
Just out of interest, Ray, do you think Howard has done anything different in his 6-yard area this season to the other 10+ he has been here?

I personally don't think he's changed a great deal but one thing he sure as hell has, namely, the personnel and organisation in front of him. It's a fucking shambles.

Your point also works both ways; results would improve considerably if we set up so that the transition between attack and defence were more balanced. It would also help if our centre-backs were more commanding, braver, attacked the ball, etc.

Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:44:59
When Goodison is up for it, I don't think there is any other place I would sooner be, Ray, especially under the floodlights. Let's hope it's like this both today and on Wednesday night!!!
Gary Carter
108 Posted 03/01/2016 at 14:53:40
So, from the last quarter of his first season, the whole of last season, all of this season, and his entire period at Wigan, his teams leak goals like a sieve yet this total and utter arrogant fool can't see that the way he wants to play football doesn't work.

Not closing down, not pressing, not being able to attack or defend set-pieces, and not defending as a team from the front does not work in the Premier League, no matter how many holding midfielders you use.

He needs to go, he's clueless, not good enough for the Premier League and certainly not good enough for Everton FC!!

Geoff Evans
109 Posted 03/01/2016 at 15:30:10
It's time for some of these boys with buckets full of potential we keep hearing about to stand up and show it.

Unfortunately I feel the defensive side of the team is just not up to it. COYB.

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