Everyone will agree that Everton have had a poor season, but while some chalk their particularly bad showing in the Premier League down to the distraction of competing in Europe, perhaps the answer is actually much, much simpler.
Maybe Roberto Martinez just isn’t that good of a manager? The Spaniard joined from Wigan in 2013 when David Moyes ended 11 years of loyalty to the Toffees after securing the Manchester United job. Martinez strangely received the Everton gig after failing to save Wigan from relegation. He admitted to their chairman Dave Whelan that he didn’t feel he was the right man to bring the side back into the Premier League and yet Everton were happy to trust him with their climb up the table. Is it any wonder now that they sit in 11th?
Following their 3-0 destruction of Manchester United, the Toffees have failed to use that momentum to improve their end to the season as they have now lost their last two matches. Games against West Ham and then Tottenham will see out a disappointing campaign where they have recorded 14 defeats, the majority of which have come on their travels.
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At the start of March Everton were preciously close to the drop zone with only six points between them and the dreaded drop zone. While they don’t have to worry about being drawn into that fight now, the fact that they were only three defeats away from the drop surely can’t sit well with supporters who were expecting Everton to be right in the mix for Europa League qualification.
But perhaps they have been put off of playing in Europe’s second competition, as supposedly their participation this season has negatively affected their domestic campaign. Funnily enough, teams like Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea didn’t find themselves struggling to stay up when they added the Thursday fixtures to their timetable.
Actually, Chelsea not only won the competition in 2013 but also finished third, three points off of second and with Champions League qualification secured for the following campaign.
Everton supporters need to accept that Martinez is not the right manager to guide their club into Europa League contention season after season, and will definitely not help them crack the top four any time soon.
The current holders of those coveted Champions League places have the money and experience to maintain their choke-hold on those positions and the teams just below them have more convincing squads than the Toffees.
Just in case last season’s fifth place finish wasn’t just a fluke, Martinez deserves one more season to prove he is capable of helping a team thrive and not just stay afloat. But if he fails then the club need to replace him.
Everton don’t want to chop and change their manager like some other clubs do but if they want to realise their aim of consistently climbing the table, then they need to accept that Martinez is probably not and has never been the man to make that happen.
A change this summer might turn out to be the best choice to make before their best players completely lose faith in the club and flee like they should have done last summer.