Ian Holloway talks Everton: Marco Silva’s set-piece struggles, the Sam Allardyce myth, and a David Moyes return?

Ian Holloway by Ian Holloway / 08 October 2019, 12:24

As the Premier League takes a brief respite for the International Break, it’s Marco Silva’s Everton who occupy one of the three relegation places.

In his latest column for The Sack Race, Ian Holloway looks at Everton’s expectation levels, why Silva could be ignoring set pieces, the myth surrounding Sam Allardyce’s style of play at the Toffees, and why he wouldn’t rule out a familiar face returning to Goodison Park...

There’s an expectation at Everton that they want to try and make that step up and bridge the gap between themselves and the top clubs in the Premier League, but it takes years to reach that level.

It’s a very tough task for Silva to suddenly make Everton into a top-6 club. It would be difficult for any manager. Silva does have the quality but it’s an altogether different challenge for him, as in his first job in England he was tasked with keeping Hull City in the league - which he didn’t actually achieve - then he was sacked by Watford when they were 10th.

I do feel for Silva at the moment. I don’t think Everton are bad but at the minute they can’t buy a win anywhere. The fans are very restless, especially because their local rivals, Liverpool, are on the verge of breaking all sorts of records. Does this put pressure on Everton? I think it does.

Everton have some great players in their ranks but after spending £100m in the summer the new faces haven’t immediately been able to make a difference.

They are lacking goals, which is a big concern. It’s a big shout for Moise Kean to come over and hit the ground running straight away, I’m sure Silva would have wanted him to have scored a few goals by now, but it hasn't worked, so that’s put more and more pressure on the manager.

It’s been well publicised that Marco Silva’s sides have struggled when defending set-pieces. So much so that Hull, Watford and now Everton have conceded 45 goals from set-pieces under Silva, including six this season...

As a manager, if you see something wrong during a match you need to review it, then you need to allocate part of a training session to work as a group to solve that problem.

I don’t know how much priority Silva puts on set-pieces in training - you’ve only got so many hours in the day to help the lads out on the grass - but obviously Silva hasn’t prioritised set-pieces at the moment. He better do soon though as the statistics are terrible.

To me, it looks like he’s instead focused on using training sessions to practice the patterns of play he wants to create, as at the moment Everton are not functioning properly, and are struggling to play in the style Silva demands.

It’s always a big ask when a club attempts to change their style. Silva tries to play the ‘modern way’ so to speak, and at the moment Everton - especially away from home - are having a torrid time. It’s very worrying.

The back to basics approach, and Sam Allardyce...

Everton have been up and down since the start of last season. They were buzzing after the appointment of Silva and the football they were playing, then half-way through the campaign many voiced their disapproval after a poor run of form, only for the club to have a great run and finish strongly.

Silva wants to take Everton up to the next level but he’s currently having problems with the more simple aspects of the game. You need the right sort of mental attitude around the place, and if your team isn’t winning, the silly little basics can go wrong.

Sam Allardyce would have always stuck to the basics, whereas I believe some of the modern foreign coaches don’t always do that. Sam would prioritise set-plays, and spend hours and hours perfecting routines, as he knows that this aspect can help win games and also stop a team from losing.

I personally thought that Allardyce did a good job at Everton. There’s a myth about his style and how he plays the game. Sam can play any style, and over the years he’s proven that.

He knows how to win games, and who is to say that with the money that Everton are now spending he wouldn’t have been able to spend that better than Silva has.

Silva is trying to please the fans with his passing style of play, but that apparently wasn’t good enough under Allardyce. Under Allardyce, Everton weren’t suffering the sort of defeats that they are now through all these set-plays.

These days you can’t win as a manager, you can only lose!

I do this column to support managers. From experience, I know how difficult it is to try and implement a different way of playing.

When you’re losing you’ve got to learn from your mistakes, and iron them out on the training pitch. You need to get the lads into the habit of doing that, particularly the new players.

Could we soon see the return of David Moyes...

Silva knows that if he doesn’t get results very soon he’ll be out of a job. He needs more time but unfortunately, that’s the one thing managers don’t get these days - they don’t get long enough to build what they want to build.

And it might well be someone like David Moyes who comes back because he was popular at Everton, and that could appease some of the fans. He hasn’t got a job at the moment, you can never say never in football.

Anything can happen, so watch this space...

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