The long-term tenure of David Moyes at Goodison Park was brought to an untimely end when he was plundered by Manchester United to fill the void left by a departing Sir Alex Ferguson. Change for a club precipitates new ideas, new strategies and often a total different approach to the task at hand.
The appointment of Roberto Martinez at the Everton helm ushered in a new era for the Premier League club as they continue their push for European football. The diminutive Spaniard has already set about carving out his new reign, but after the success of Moyes is he trying to change too much too soon?
During his unveiling he made it clear that his goal was to build upon what Moyes had achieved rather than seek to totally revolutionise the club.
“What has been produced has given an incredible platform for the next manager to continue,” Martinez said.
“What he has done is given Everton a clear identity and incredible standards. All I want to do is be humble and hardworking enough to take that magnificent job to the next level.”
While Martinez clearly has an admiration for his predecessor, his comments imply a genuine desire to take the club to the next level in the near future. His following remarks regarding Champions League football emphasised this point a little further:
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“It [the Champions League] has to be the dream. At a club you have to be moved by an ambition. If you don’t think high, you’ll never achieve. It’s not going to be easy but we need to have those dreams.”
I think Everton are extremely lucky to have such an ambitious manager who genuinely believes that he can take them back to the promised land of European football. My fear is that he thinks such a goal can be achieved in the near future. As a new manager taking over after a long previous reign his first goal should be stability for the club, becoming familiar with its day-to-day workings among other things. His dealings so far this summer would suggest that the Spaniard might well be trying to achieve too much from the very start at Everton.
The Toffees have been previously criticised for a lack of attacking flair, with Moyes’ onus largely being on a solid defensive base upon which to build. In stark contrast Martinez has been known for an expansive style of attractive football, often to the detriment of his sides’ defensive capabilities. Martinez has already made it clear that he wishes not to lose the club’s fabled tenacity but instead complement it with a new brand of attacking might. Is this all a bit unrealistic?
Martinez clearly doesn’t think so.
“It is not changing everything in the way we play. We are not losing anything, but trying to add. I don’t want to be a team that can only play in one way and to do that you need to experiment and try things in pre-season.
“This is about making ourselves a bit more expansive in terms of how we play and that is going to be a real strength for us.”
Martinez now has the defensive capabilities that he was never afforded at Wigan, and he has reason to be optimistic in this respect. The likes of Jagielka and Distin provide the Spaniard with a basis to deliver his Utopian blueprint. The perfect marrying of attack and defence has been the great problem of managers up and down the years, who is to say Martinez can get it right?
The problem for Everton fans is that they have for too long been subjected to the dour negativity of David Moyes. Martinez has arrived like a breath of fresh air and it is all too easy to be swept up in the euphoria and start dreaming about the possibilities.
Love him or hate him, David Moyes provided the club with an era of stability, able to compete with clubs well out of their financial reach. I hope I am proven wrong, but I fear that an instant desire to suddenly play an attacking brand of football may just sabotage the previous years of hard work.
Despite my cynicism the signs do look relatively promising for the Spaniard thus far, although pre-season is hardly a fair barometer. Everton have never been short on attacking potential, the presence of Mirallas and Pienaar supports this, but the need was always there for someone to really cultivate it. By bolstering the attacking line with incisive forward Arouna Kone and promising young Spanish starlet Gerard Deulofeu on loan, I can see Everton becoming an ever more entertaining outfit next term.
The key for Martinez is to maintain the defensive steel of his predecessor. If he can succeed in this, all his ambitious rhetoric may be fulfilled.
Is Martinez trying to change too much too soon?
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