What a massively important three points that was for Everton FC at Crystal Palace.
You cannot underestimate just what a big result that was for the Blues and hopefully that will now be the start of a significant upturn in fortunes for us.
It was crucial to begin brightly against a Palace side that have been buoyant since Alan Pardew returned to the club but the early goal settled everybody down and helped calm the nerves.
Palace are a well-organised outfit and they’re always a major threat with the way they get the ball and bodies into the box, putting a lot of pressure on your defenders and goalkeeper.
But our lads coped well with everything that was thrown at them and while there were a few scrambles at times, they generally looked fairly comfortable when dealing with things and they all kept their heads.
There was increased pressure on the team given that they’d just come back from that trip to the Middle East – look what happened to Manchester City in the FA Cup – but several of them looked like they’d benefited from their time away.
Gareth Barry in particular looked like a bit of a break had done him good.
Playing in my old position I know what it’s like for him at this stage of his career. Maybe he can’t play as effectively as he would like to week-in, week-out, but he showed that he’s still one of the best in the business in that role he knows so well.
I always thought he looked better when he’s got James McCarthy beside him – and vice versa to be fair – but he appears to have recharged his batteries after the time out since the last game.
At the other end of the scale there’s Romelu Lukaku who at 21 is still learning the game.
Ultimately as a striker with a big price tag he’s always going to be judged by his goals and he’s now into double figures.
Even when he’s not playing great, he knows where the back of the net is and he’s helped a lot by having Steven Naismith alongside him to shoulder a lot of the workload.
I’m just hoping that this crucial win can prove a springboard for Everton to start climbing the table now.
Of course next up is the Merseyside Derby and it should be a great game.
Given that we’ve got this result behind us there’s no reason why we can’t go into that match thinking we can win it.
Lack of impact rather than minutes was the key for Eto’o
I was really excited when Samuel Eto’o came to the club and was looking forward to seeing the impact that his arrival might have on the younger players at the club.
For whatever reason it didn’t work out right.
Roberto knows the state of the squad at the minute and probably feels it’s in good shape in terms of the bodies that he’s got there.
Given that one player has gone out it would be nice to see another striker come in.
Samuel Eto’o applauds the Everton fans
I don’t think so much the problem was the game-time that Samuel was having rather the impact he was having on games.
He scored four goals in 20 games so that’s probably not as great as he’d have wanted it.
Physically he’s probably not the player that he was a few years ago but in the games that I saw him I always thought he was okay.
But when you’re seeing someone first hand close up each day and the sort of influence he had in the changing room maybe he’s better off moving on if he wasn’t happy.
It’s a bit of a slower tempo over there and the lifestyle is probably better for him in terms that he might get to spend more time with his family.
I wouldn’t like to dwell on it though. It’s the ones coming in rather than going out that I’m concerned with.
There are still plenty of options there.
It’s just important that the ones who get moved up the pecking order have a go now and try and force their way into the team in the coming months.
Blues fans will only boo you if it’s merited by displays
I’m not too sure about all this talk of a need for a united front at Everton.
Ultimately when you’re paying money to watch a game you’re more than welcome to have your opinion whether good or bad.
One thing Everton fans do is stick by their team but they let you know when they’re not happy just as they do when they are happy so you know where you stand with them.
You’ve got to listen to what the fans want because they put the players and the manager on such a pedestal last year they couldn’t do anything wrong.
Now they’re being questioned a bit.
I’d say everyone is still 100% behind the manager and the support never wavers but they’ve still got an opinion.
If you’re not happy with stuff you’ve got every right to be frustrated and there’s not a right way to show your frustration.
If you’re not happy, you’re not happy and it’s as simple as that.
When things are going well you know about it. It’s always been the same.
I had loads of good times at Everton but I had some bad ones too.
You have to take the rough with the smooth like getting beat 7-0 at Arsenal and 5-1 at Manchester City in the last game of the season.
When we were booed it’s because we deserved it. It’s frustration and there’s nobody more frustrated than the players because it’s only them who can do anything about it and you have to give the fans something to cheer about with that energy and commitment and they’ll respond to that.
January never a great month to add to squad
January is always a tough period to try and buy a player to strengthen the squad. There are more panic buys than at other times of the season.
You have to be careful who you bring in and how it affects the dynamic of the squad.
Most of the players we brought in at Everton in January were bit-part players apart from Mikel (Arteta) who was more or less a straight swap for Tommy (Gravesen, who had gone to Real Madrid) and had a real impact.
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