Martinez’s Everton – So far so good

October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized by Jamie Levitt

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I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t enamoured with the appointment of Roberto Martinez as Everton manager. He may not have been my last choice, but he certainly wasn’t my first. His eloquence in press conferences and general likeablility are irrelevant if he can’t get the team playing. Fortunately, after a tame first few games, Everton are beginning to show what kind of the side they can be.


With the passing of the transfer window, the exit of Fellaini and the Baines situation finally resolved, Evertonians can finally begin to assess their team’s chances. The acquisitions of McCarthy, Barry and Lukaku have won Martinez much good will amongst the Everton faithful, epitomised by all three of the new signings exhibiting virtuoso performances in first half against Newcastle United. It was the perfect scenario for the team and Martinez, with Lukaku the catalyst for Everton’s performance. It was an excellent first half for Everton, greatly helped by an overwhelming lack of concentration from Newcastle throughout the team.

The second half against Newcastle also illustrated the work that still needs doing. Everton’s biggest problem, a problem that also existed under David Moyes, is an inability to sustain a performance over 90 minutes. It would be easy to simplify this idea as being on top and not taking your chances, but when that is happening consistently, it is rightly a cause for concern.


Even in games that we ‘should have won’, against the likes of Norwich, Cardiff and West Brom, we came close to losing. It’s true that this is part and parcel of what the Premier League is all about, but if Manchester United under Ferguson prove anything, it’s that mental strength and experience will always win the day. Many teams lack mental strength and it’s the chief reason why teams that are full of brilliant expensive players can underperform. Mental strength is about confidence.

In football we often hear the term ‘confidence player’, a player whose form is bound to their confidence. This is true of all players, but for ‘confidence’ players it is tight rope. All it takes is a succession of misplaced passes or a bad miss and that player will fall. This ‘confidence’ logic extends to teams in a very real way, you see it live every week, you might call it momentum or describe it as a pendulum that swings between sides, its force dictated by a mistimed tackle or contentious offside.


Martinez’s Everton can play good football and the squad has strength in depth for the first time since I can remember. Tactically, Martinez has managed astutely and, unlike Moyes, has managed proactively and not reactively. I don’t always agree with Martinez’s team selection and at times our build up play is laborious, but slowly, a new Everton is starting to form. Confidence is the key. Martinez can play the right team and the use the right tactics but he needs time to become Everton, not just part of Everton. These things take time, something not afforded in the Premier League but if Martinez truly wants to achieve greatness, in the form of Champions League and trophies, he needs to inspire. Manchester United under Ferguson showed that inferior players can outperform superior players through mental strength.

Martinez’s great challenge will be turning Everton from a confidence team to a confident team. But hey, we’re eight games into the season, so let’s just get through that maiden voyage of a season and I’ll try not to be a confidence supporter.