It is a phrase that Roberto Martinez has used with increasing regularity this season. A phrase which at face value says very little, but at the same time tells you plenty about Everton FC’s season.
It was used again here. Everton, according to their manager, were no worse than Arsenal at the Emirates, yet walk away with a two-goal defeat and the prospect of a midweek trip to Stoke that could plunge them further into a relegation dogfight.
Or, if you prefer the glass half-full approach, which could allow them to put daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
But if there is a degree of truth in Martinez’s words – it was only a moment’s hesitation from John Stones, for example, which gave Arsenal their first goal, and their second took a sizeable deflection off Phil Jagielka – it is also true to say that questions are mounting for the Blues boss.
How can this group of players, this team, be behind the likes of Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion in the league table? How can they be 11 points adrift of the top 10, with their manager talking, in March, about “getting to that 40-point mark”?
Fine margins? Maybe. But something needs fixing.
Martinez spoke here about how the concession of late goals in the first two games of the season had knocked his side’s confidence, and left them unable to find “enjoyment” in their football.
But that was in August. Everton did not lose either of the two games Martinez referred to. Can a pair of 2-2 draws really cast such a shadow over a team’s season? And if so, how can that be allowed to happen? How can a side be so fragile that a couple of late equalisers can effectively undo 12 months of genuinely impressive progress?
Everton FC v Arsenal FC Premier League match at Goodison Park Liverpool. Everton dejected after Arsenal equalise
And let’s not dodge another question here; how, in the six months and 25 league games which have followed, has Martinez not managed to arrest the slide?
Make no mistake, Everton should not be in the bottom half of the Premier League table. They should not be anxiously looking over their shoulder, hoping that the likes of Aston Villa and Hull City drop points on Tuesday night. They should not be even contemplating the R-word.
They are though, and it shows in their performances. They’re a neat side, but one which lacks punch, genuine conviction in itself. They played OK at Arsenal, and lost. It’s a common theme.
Police orders meant that the trains from Euston to Lime Street on Sunday night were declared “dry” – no alcohol allowed. They won’t have been happy places to be.
Because if Everton’s players can’t enjoy their football, and if their manager can’t find a way to make them, then spare a thought for their supporters.