Roberto Martinez’s faith in Antolin Alcaraz has been touching.
But it is sadly misplaced.
There have been some catastrophic central defensive displays in Everton’s history.
Glenn Keeley and Per Kroldrup were so bad on their debuts, their performances so costly, they never started an Everton match again.
The erratic Paraguayan, however, has had a handful of defensive meltdowns in his Goodison career, not least seven days ago in the first leg against Dynamo Kiev.
But Martinez keeps selecting him.
He sees something that many of the rest of us can’t. And that is worrying for the future of Everton’s defending.
Everton weren’t undone by slick, clever, Dynamo attacking – regardless of the quality of Yarmolenko’s and Antunes’ strikes.
Kiev quickly realised that if they lumped the ball forward into the Everton penalty area the Blues – and Alcaraz especially – couldn’t handle it.
Twice he failed to get his head squarely onto balls into the penalty box. Twice Kiev scored.
The malaise appeared to spread. Runners weren’t tracked, players weren’t closed down – it was an exhibition of everything defensively dodgy you could have asked for.
And it was an exhibition which came with one defender, John Stones, left on the substitutes’ bench and another, Sylvain Distin, omitted from every senior squad since January 31.
It’s a problem which has beset Everton all season – and appears to be no closer to being solved.
Evertonians can be forgiven for wondering if it ever will be?
Roberto Martinez arrived at Goodison Park as a coach renowned for creating attractive teams who couldn’t defend their dinner.
Has he learned from his Latics’ mistakes?
Wigan shipped 73 goals in 2012/13, the Premier League’s leakiest defence. Worryingly Martinez blamed Alcaraz’s prolonged absence through injury for those figures.
The previous two campaigns the figure was a hardly watertight 62 and 61.
Everton’s impressive record of only 39 goals shipped last season looks like a blip rather than the norm, a legacy of the defence Martinez inherited from a predecessor accused of being overly cautious.
The Blues boss must prove that is not the case if his Goodison career is to recover from this chastening night in Ukraine.
Martinez still has credit in the bank from last season’s club record Premier League points haul. But it is being eroded by every dodgy defensive display.
This was only the latest.