Roberto Martinez’s departure from Everton was almost inevitable from the moment he lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United.
The Spaniard has endured a difficult 18 months and we look at some of the things he failed to get to grips with.
Everton ended the season with their worst home league record in their history in terms of points accrued (since three points for a win was introduced). Martinez oversaw just five home wins in the Premier League this season – only bottom club Aston Villa won fewer. Goodison Park was just not a challenge for visiting teams, which was not helped by a pervading negative atmosphere.
One of the main criticisms of Martinez which stretches back to his time as Wigan manager. It was not necessarily the 55 league goals conceded over the season but the manner in which they conceded them to throw away vital points. In the 3-3 draws at newly-promoted Bournemouth and Chelsea they let in added-time equalisers having scored in the 90th minute themselves while at home to West Ham they were coasting at 2-0 with 12 minutes to go only to lose.
Having fought so hard to keep John Stones out of Chelsea’s clutches at the start of the season, Martinez probably needed to make the 21-year-old something of a special case in terms of the attention he gave him. A number of high-profile errors followed but on the pitch mistakes continued to be repeated. Injury was followed by the loss of his place to Ramiro Funes Mori, which would have been a significant confidence blow. Midfielder James McCarthy had an ordinary season, as did Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines among others, while Ross Barkley faded as the season went on.
For Everton fans who experienced over a decade of David Moyes’ more pragmatic football, Martinez’s free-flowing style was a breath of fresh air but it eventually came back to haunt him when things started to go wrong on the pitch. Game management was questioned as leads were thrown away but Martinez stuck to his principles and refused to consider taking a more safety-first option at times.
Martinez is a likeable and open man who is overtly positive about everything but when things started to go wrong he continued to make comments in press conferences which just did not add up for fans, who accused him of being in denial. In trying to remain positive and upbeat at all times, the Spaniard often came across as stubborn.