You are viewing the content for Monday 26 August 2013

Fans not yet buying into Martinez style

Everton 0 West Brom 0
Roberto Martinez has won over the 20 most important people as he tries to re-invent Everton in his image, a process the Spanish manager insists is more about evolution than revolution.

Now he simply has to win over the 40,000 Goodison regulars who greeted his first home game in charge of their club with a mixture of enthusiasm, scepticism and, ultimately, impatience.

The slick, patient passing game that was Martinez’s trademark in his remarkable reign at Wigan is effective and pleasing on the eye at times but this is a Goodison clientele more discerning, perhaps, than the one the manager left behind a few miles across Lancashire.

It is also one brought up on the "dogs of war" philosophy of former boss Joe Royle and the uncompromising, sometimes physical, approach that Moyes used to turn Everton into the Premier League’s most consistent over-achievers. There were signs on Saturday, especially as the excellent Ben Foster kept the Toffees at bay, that Everton fans may need some convincing before completely buying into their new leader’s style.

As Martinez diplomatically described it himself: "In the second half we were too anxious in our attacking play and wanted to get into their box too quickly. We have got the quality to be more composed."

At least the Everton playing staff have taken little convincing in Martinez’s eight weeks in charge that the little touch of Barcelona that Martinez is trying to bring to Merseyside is a system worth buying into.

"There is a cultural change needed and it doesn’t happen overnight. It has to kind of slowly build its way," said goalkeeper Tim Howard. "The manager has come in and had to convince 20 players and now we have to convince 40,000 fans.

"It doesn’t just happen that easily. But it is a good style, we have all bought into it, we have a strong belief. It will inevitably take time. Out of possession he wants us to be up and against it and get the ball back quickly which seems to be the modern day way of thinking, thanks to Barcelona. But we have the type of guys who can do that. In all honesty, he is encouraging, when the ball turns over, to win it back and start from the front.

"Once we step across the line and the whistle blows we have the ability, once we are out of possession, to be in your face and up against opponents. That part is down to the players and for each of us to get the guy next to us going. I don’t think we can ever lose that rough and tumble type of mentality because that is always been a fear factor for teams going to Goodison."

Everton’s preparations for the early season have also not been aided by Manchester United’s highly-publicised twin bid for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines, a £23 million joint offer instantly rejected out of hand.

The future of the pair hangs in the balance, as Howard freely conceded, although the goalkeeper insisted his team-mates could not be accused of allowing speculation to affect their performance.

"With Felli and Baines, who knows? I honestly have no idea," said Howard. "My friends at home text me and say ‘what’s going on? You must know what is going on.’ To be fair to Felli and Baines, you look at some other clubs and they have got some idiots. A team becomes interested in them and they don’t turn up for training. That’s not these guys. They work every day as if their life depended on it. nothing really changes. It is what happens behind the scenes.

"I understand the business side of football and it is never as cut and dried as it looks. Players and some clubs have different desires, it is really hard to say."

EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard 7; Coleman 7, Jagileka 7, Distin 7, Baines 6; Osman 6, Fellaini 6; Mirallas 6 (Naismith 72, 5), Barkley 8, Pienaar 6; Jelavic 5 (Kone 72, 7).

WBA (4-4-2) : Foster 8 (Daniels 78, 6); Jones 7, McAuley 6, Olsson 7, Ridgewell 5; Rosenberg 4 (Vydra 66, 5), Mulumbu 7, Yacob 6, Dorrans 5; Morrison 7, Long 5 (Brunt 81).

Referee: R East 7.