Everton lacking balance under Marco Silva, says Charlie Nicholas
Sheffield United managed just one shot on target but came away with a 2-0 victory at Everton
Last Updated: 22/09/19 11:54am
Everton are showing a lack of balance and are not making progress under Marco Silva, according to Charlie Nicholas.
Sheffield United claimed a 2-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday to heap the pressure on Silva ahead of the side's Premier League fixture against Manchester City next weekend, live on Sky Sports.
Everton spent over £100million in the summer transfer window, but the result leaves the Merseysiders 14th in the table and their hopes of breaking into the top six looking no closer to being realised.
"I can't work out what Everton's balance is," Charlie Nicholas said on Soccer Saturday. "Fabian Delph was the holding one, Morgan Schneiderlin played slightly further forward, then Gylfi Sigurdsson's in a more advanced role.
"The balance isn't right. It's like one's deep, one's on the left and there's the front three which I'm still trying to work out.
"Their best attacker for me was Bernard and they took him off. To be fair, Silva tried everything at the end with Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun and Alex Iwobi coming on.
"I think this sums up where the manager is going. They spent £125m in the summer, they've given him the funds.
"If you remember at the tail end of last season, I said he was fighting for his job, and I think he was at that time.
"This team is no further forward. They miss Idrissa Gueye, that's obvious. At the back I honestly don't know what Yerry Mina has added."
What's happened to Pickford?
Jordan Pickford appealed for a foul in the build-up to Sheffield United's opener, as Mina inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net, but Nicholas had little sympathy for the England goalkeeper.
"Pickford is all over the place, every time I see him he wants to fight people," he added. "He was totally at fault for the first goal. A simple corner comes in, he tries to come across the big defender and it ends up hitting Mina and going in.
"They might think it's bad luck, but it wasn't. It was bad defending. The second one sums it up. That's why I really do feel that this manager is under serious scrutiny.
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"I've been speaking to David Moyes and a couple of Everton fans and they were saying they always feel they're two or three bad results away from this manager being strangled out of this club.
"But he has to be very careful now. What he's got coming up is dangerous. Everton are away to Sheffield Wednesday in the cup midweek, then Manchester City at home, then Burnley away,
"This is a tough time for Silva to get through this period. The crowd left with about 10 minutes to go, they emptied the place.
"I honestly don't know what they're trying to achieve. I've said that since day one. You have to identify what you're buying. It still looks like the set up when Wayne Rooney was there.
"Everything doesn't seem to fit in right. The balance is wrong."
Silva's side were unbeaten at home since February, but having failed to press home a first-half advantage, the Portuguese's second-half strategy bordered on the chaotic in a hastily thrown-together formation in a bid to salvage something after last week's 3-1 loss at Bournemouth.
Silva: We were nervous and lacked personality
Dominance of the ball resulted in few clear-cut chances and for seasoned supporters at Goodison Park, what came in the 40th minute was all too familiar.
Pickford came to claim Oliver Norwood's inswinging corner, United's first of the match, and although there was shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Callum Robinson, there was not enough contact to warrant a foul.
"Their first goal came from our two centre backs going for the same ball and conceding the corner," Silva said afterwards.
"It was a bad result and in the second half it was a bad performance. Today again the mistakes we made had a real impact on the result.
"They were winning without a single shot when they made it 2-0. At that moment, we were in the game and commanding it."
Chasing the game with 20 minutes remaining, Silva took a gamble, taking off right-back Seamus Coleman with substitute Theo Walcott given instructions to hug the right touchline from an advanced position.
However, Everton's haphazard 3-1-3-3 set-up only seemed to produce confusion and not penetration with the visitors' tried-and-tested organisation allowing them to profit.
John Lundstram rolled a pass down the side and with Lucas Digne not tracking substitute Mousset and Pickford reluctant to come for the ball, the forward rolled a shot into an empty net.
"I didn't like the second half at all, and when you make mistakes at this level it's difficult to turn the result," he added. "We were too nervous and didn't make the right decisions.
"We tried everything from the bench and had the solutions there for that, we tried first with the strikers and then to be more offensive down the right, but our decisions were not the best so we have to keep working hard. We need to show more personality on the pitch.
"We've had a chat inside the dressing room and we're all frustrated. We understand the reaction of the fans as they come here to support, but we didn't play well enough for them to be happy with us."
Wilder: 'It was our poorest performance of the season'
Tuesday's Carabao Cup third-round tie against Sheffield Wednesday now takes on greater significance for Silva, but for Sheffield United, they remain unbeaten away from home since mid-January and this performance demonstrated why that was the case.
Organised, disciplined, decisive and committed to a game plan - almost everything their hosts were not having gone behind vastly against the run of play.
The Blades have gone to both Bournemouth and Chelsea and taken a point, but manager Chris Wilder believes their latest fruitful away outing was their least impressive performance of the campaign.
"It's was just a crackers game that we're involved in. I was delighted with my team last week, and we got beat, while I'm not so sure I'm delighted with the performance today but the result is an outstanding one.
"I don't think you get a result like at Everton away that if you haven't got a committed group of players. We rode our luck as we weren't great today, but thankfully we got a result and we'll gladly take the three points.
"We made too many individual errors, gave the ball away cheaply, which isn't like us. Last week, was a really good game where I felt we deserved to win."
"I feel for Marco today but it's the Premier League, and you have to hang in there. We've got plenty of desire and the second goal gave us the breather. We can't walk away from here thinking we've played well and the players are an honest group.
"Everton have got a fantastic home record and we've nicked a win. It's possibly our poorest performance of the season so far."
But Charlie Nicholas added: "There was no fluke about it. This is a team with total commitment, nice organisation and shape. We all know they like their wing-backs high up to press. But when they don't have the ball, there's a lot of energy in this team.
"John Fleck always looked like he wanted the ball, he's fitting into the system and is a team player. They didn't pepper the Everton goal, but set pieces are important and they're a real unit. I was really impressed with them."
Everton travel to face Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday before hosting Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, live on Sky Sports - kick-off at 5.30pm.
Sheffield United host Sunderland on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup before Liverpool visit Bramall Lane on Saturday - kick-off at 12.30pm.