Following a start to the season to mirror that at West Brom, some Everton supporters have expressed discontent at Ronald Koeman’s beginning to life on Merseyside. It has not been so much of a poor start by Everton, as a far better than expected one by the Baggies, which has not helped his cause.
Whilst there have been awful, disappointing performances – most notably against an exceptional Chelsea team – Koeman has only just arrived. There is still time to improve, but the nature of modern football is such that even the manager who took Leicester City to the title against all odds and followed it up by winning the Champions League group with a game to spare is under pressure from some quarters.
The main issue is that Everton often expect to achieve a lot more than is sometimes realistic. The resources they have available are bigger now than ever before, with Farhad Moshiri presiding over talk of a new stadium and increased investment in players, but Everton still cannot compete with rivals Liverpool – much to the frustration of fans – whilst there are several other teams up and down the country with much more quality.
Right now, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, both Manchester clubs and Tottenham are simply better than Everton. The reasons why vary, but the main reason running through all the teams is larger budgets to spend on players and wages. But regardless of these factors, Everton are the seventh-best team in the country at best. And that is when teams like Leicester do not have exceptional seasons and finish above them.
At the moment, Everton are eighth in the table, level on points with West Brom in seventh. How much better can it realistically get? One place, in all likelihood.
For Everton to finish in the top four, which Moshiri has already indicated in the immediate target, they would have to overthrow at least three of the aforementioned teams. As Leicester have proven, it is possible, but still unlikely. To overtake one would be difficult enough.
To move into the top four for the long-term, and maintain it, is not impossible, it’s just not something that can happen in such a short space of time. It is only made more difficult by the fact that every team in the league is now richer than ever before, too. When Chelsea, to pick on just one team, made significant progress, they did so because they had a huge advantage over everyone else. Everton do not have that luxury.
Everton fans might be frustrated at a perceived lack of progress, but really there is not much more that Koeman can do. Until something changes with finances, not just theirs but the other teams’ too, that will continue to be the case. Koeman is certainly doing a decent job so far and should not be under any pressure whatsoever.
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