By Elliott Bretland
Football clubs with the wrong mentality will not be successful. All title winners have an air of confidence, belief, courage.
These three qualities, and they are important qualities, are completely devoid among the Everton hierarchy. Blues boss Ronald Koeman and owner Farhad Moshiri have been pessimistic, defeatist and weak in their rhetoric this season, strangling and harnessing the warranted hope after a summer of spending and apparent ambition.
Instead, those in charge at Goodison Park should exert ‘Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’ in everything they do, everything they say. It is the Everton way to expect the very best. It’s our motto and what we stand for. But powers that be are not sticking to our values. For too long we have accepted we are not the top dogs and allowed other clubs to grow well above us.
Romelu Lukaku summed up the warped, negative mentality of Everton compared to the positive, expectant and demanding outlook of Manchester United after visiting Anfield with his new club this weekend.
‘Every time I played for Everton we had a different mindset coming into the game,’ he said.
‘But now I am in a team where we want to win against the big teams and we want to win every game.’
This is Everton’s problem, those in control do not expect or truly ‘want’ to win it seems. There is an acceptance of our place – we are kept in a little box, full of limitations. We can’t progress because other teams are already better than us, that seems to be the continued message. Excuse after excuse. Whether a win is likely or not, to be successful you have to in the very least strive to win, believe you can get a victory, even when the odds are stacked against you.
There is too much of an acceptance when it comes to the Blues currently. It seems only the Evertonians at the club truly set the right tone and know what is expected from this fanbase. David Unsworth said last week: ‘We expect to win every game. We’re Everton Football Club.
We’ll never ever get carried away with any run that we’re on but at the same time, we demand wins and we expect wins.’
Jonjoe Kenny, meanwhile, shared the sentiment when asked how he felt about Chelsea in the League Cup. ‘We’re Everton, we shouldn’t be fearing anyone.’
Whether victories are likely on paper, that is how leaders are meant to speak. You need a manager to rally, to increase confidence and unity. Koeman, though, has talked of difficulties and struggles; things not being easy and generally making excuses for the shocking start to the season. It does not help.
It creates a complex where players know defeats are tolerated. Much of the talk from Koeman allows beatings, there are no consequences to poor displays, as we are ‘only’ Everton, ‘trying’ to compete, but not really.
Going forward, the board and manager must use the Everton motto to improve their performance. They must demand and expect the very best from themselves and everyone connected with the football club or else success will continue to evade us.