Dec 232014

Roberto Martinez has got a job to do – and so do his players.

After the bitter disappointment of losing to Southampton the challenge now is to go out there and win the next three games.

Everton need to battle their way through this and if that means three scrappy 1-0 wins then so be it.

Every Blues fan wants to see free-flowing football and 3-0 wins, like we know they are capable of, but 90% of the supporters would take a hat-trick of gritty victories this festive period, I am sure.

At the moment, that is the most important thing: winning.

I imagine the defeat at St Mary’s will have spoiled Christmas for some Everton supporters.

The Blues are everything to them and after many of fans made that long old trip to the south coast, they will have expected better than what they saw.

There are now three vitally important games coming up in the space of a week for Everton.

Stoke City are the visitors on Boxing Day, the side then go to Newcastle United on December 28 before the New Year’s Day trip to Hull City.

And from the three games, Everton need to target three wins.

Winning all three could be a different matter but a return of five or six points has to be the very least the Blues emerge with.

It was, to say the least, disappointing on Saturday against Southampton.

I assume I wasn’t alone in believing that we were going to win that game.

Southampton hadn’t been on a good run and we had picked up a much needed win on the Monday night which will have given the lads a confidence boost.

As (Free £25 bet offer) Kick-off neared, I was quite optimistic about picking up three points.

But, as we all know, it just didn’t happen for us – all over the pitch.

There were some average performances individually and collectively as well it wasn’t up to scratch.

I’m sure the lads and manager are honest enough to admit that.

They were three poor goals to concede and sides are finding it a little bit easier to score against us than last season, especially from set-plays.

So there was massive disappointment with the three goals and as a team they have got to defend better.

I had thought Roberto would have made changes in the second-half at St Mary’s.

When you have Aiden McGeady and Steven Pienaar on the bench, I definitely thought the manager would have brought somebody on.

But the manager obviously still felt that the 11 players who started the game could still turn it around and come back from 2-0 down.

Obviously they didn’t and it has led to supporters complaining about the lack of changes.

It was just a really, really disappointing day for everyone associated with the football club.

It wasn’t even like we were playing a top team, such as Chelsea or Manchester City, and Southampton were in a poor run of form.

And on the day, they weren’t even that great.

Everton supporters wearing blue Santa hats VIEW GALLERY

We will have to earn the right to win on Boxing Day

Stoke City are doing very well this season and they have some decent players.

They picked up a really good win over Arsenal recently and I’m sure many of you saw them last night against Chelsea.

We have seen what they are all about and we know what to expect from this Stoke City side on Boxing Day: they will be hard to beat.

I’m sure Mark Hughes will have Stoke fired up so Everton have got to match them in that department first because we have got to earn the right to win the game.

Only then, can the Blues start to play as we know they can.

Hopefully the lads don’t have too many sherries on Christmas Day!

Barry needs to get back to his dominating best

One of the other issues to emerge from the defeat to Southampton was the position Ross Barkley played in.

The Academy graduate had performed really well alongside Muhammed Besic in central midfield in the win over QPR but was played in a wide left role against the Saints.

Ross was terrific that night as he scored the goal that got Everton on their way.

But it is difficult because for all of last season – and for some of this – Gareth Barry has been outstanding.

He returned to the starting line-up for Saturday after his one-match ban and wasn’t at his best.

Barry is not dominating games like we know he can and spraying passes around like he usually does. But I don’t care how old you are or how much experience you have, every player goes through a spell every now and again when they are maybe lacking a bit of confidence.

But it is only yourself that can pull you out of it.

Besic the only positive on bleak day for Blues

There was barely anything to be positive about on Saturday afternoon.

A game we all expected to win ended up being a humbling 3-0 defeat.

It was a bitterly disappointing day and one quickly to try and forget about.

But if there was anything to be encouraged by – and there wasn’t much – then it was the display of Muhammed Besic.

I quite like what I’m seeing of the Serbian midfielder and I think he has a bright future at Everton.

The more games he plays for the club and the older he gets, then the better he will become.

Festive period massive for Blues

Everton are without European football until the middle of February.

And I’ve seen it suggested that because the Blues are free of it for the next six weeks or so then they can focus purely on the Premier League and string together some form.

But I am certain that the players will have used their Europa League commitments as an excuse this season.

And, anyway, Everton still have a busy period to deal with in the next few weeks.

It is a massive, massive period for Everton Football Club.


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