Martin’s Musings on a comprehensive defeat: ‘Everton made us second best’

No excuses, no complaints. Martin O’Neill tells it straight: we got what we deserved from this game and so did Everton. If the nature of the defeat has left Sunderland fans feeling flat with only might-have-beens to dwell on, MON sees eight remaining league games as a chance to make his first season with us matter …

Dear Colin,

We were second best and Everton deserved to win the game – it’s really disappointing.

The second goal was cruel. Although we hadn’t played very well, we were still in the game at that time but even so, I’m not sure that we did enough to warrant that.

See also: the best match report you’re likely to find – click anywhere on this line


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We built ourselves up for the game, we did very well to force the replay but we came here tonight and didn’t perform well enough in the game.

The general performance was disappointing –basic things like being able to control the ball, pass it and hold it – those things were disappointing on a big night.

Everton deserved to win it.

They are very strong with a lot of experienced players and tonight they were better than us.

It was disappointing for the big turnout that we had and we should have done better.

There are eight more games to go this season. Unfortunately the cup run has gone, but there’s something to draw from it.

The atmosphere tonight was really fantastic – that’s what this football club should be about.

I know that cup competitions are a long, long way away right now but nights like tonight are the sort of nights we should have more of.

That should be our aim.

All the best,

Martin O’Neill

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22 thoughts on “Martin’s Musings on a comprehensive defeat: ‘Everton made us second best’”

  1. Agree with Plan B, Kyrgiakos is being scapegoated,Bardsley was equally at fault for the first.MON then lost the plot on the 1st substitution…..Taking the Greek off at 1-0 was not sensible,we were still in the game at that score,but risking it all with Bardsley at centre back when we had a central defender on the bench was a big mistake…….but we all learn as we go….who here never makes mistakes?

    Yes O Shea would have played had he been fit, but he wasnt, so no good berating the second fiddle,he did his best,which on the night was no where near enough I d accept.Other than that it was a strong team on paper so we need to look at the whole team and manager together here.

    Give credit to Everton who had a game plan and determination, and it worked traet.

  2. It was a hopeless display all round Plan B. The Greek lad did things that I would cringe about watching 10 year olds play. He ran away from Jelavic for the goal as someone has already pointed out, and was guilty of the sackable crime of letting the ball bounce when up against their forward from a long punt forward after that. Everton were hugely superior throughout and best of luck to them against Liverpool.

    • A big good luck to them from me too; I’d like to see a final between Spurs and Everton, the other two’s games tend to be boring. Plus they’ve won enough!

  3. “I think I’m alone here but I didn’t think the greek was too bad”

    Just what were you watching Plan B?

    • I saw a very disjointed midfield BB, and a lot of players made far more mistakes than him for me. I did note we missed O’Shea though, if only he and Brown were available we may not have been as nervous.

  4. Rico, O’Shea and Brown all ex Man U and all experienced players, they would have made a difference last night. I don’t think any of those lads would have bottled it.
    It’s a pity Colback had to cry off as the lad is coming on really well, he would have been a better bet than Gardiner although Gardiner is a better bet at RB than Bardo to me. Bardo give to many goals away though not reading the game, he made 2 errors in the build up to the first goal last night. His enthusiasm can no longer make up for his errors. If we are to progress he has to be replaced. in the summer.

    • I think he’s not the only JB, certain players signed by Bruce last summer were out of their depth last night. I think I’m alone here but I didn’t think the greek was too bad, just about everyone around him had poor games and sloppiness in midfield cost us big time; That said O’Shea is a big miss. Where was young Colback?

  5. The defence was down to the bare bones and we were totally outplayed by a tactically superior and technically better team on the night. Good luck to Everton. I hope they win it.

    We didn’t compete effectively in any area of play apart from Mignolet who kept the result respectable. Leaving out Colback was a mistake to my mind.

    As for Kyrgiakos, let’s just hope that’s the last we’ve seen of him.

    • Jeremy makes a good point here. How long is it since we played with a stable and fully fit back 4? (think McBardsley plus any 3 from O’Shea, Kilgallon, Brown, Richardson and Titus Groan). I’ve no doubt Everton deserved the win on the night but I think both recent and longstanding injuries (allied to the fact that Fellaini is turning into a footballer instead of a windmill – let’s not forget EFC do have some good players) contributed to the way they controlled the game and thus made us look second rate. Such is life, good luck to them.

      What pleases me, though, is that MON doesn’t use this as an excuse, unlike a previous manager might have done. I’ve no doubt he’s noted where we have deficiencies and, given that we’re not in a dogfight to avoid the drop, he’ll use the rest of the season well.

      I remain optimistic

  6. I was also surprised by MON’s initial substitution, but on reflection, he probably anticipated that Everton would start to close out the game, leaving us in need of more creation and less defence.

    There were clear lessons to draw from this comprehensive defeat, in particular, the inability of the defenders on show to use the ball effectively. Everton put pressure on our fullbacks who failed comprehensively to release the ball cleanly from the large amount of possession they had, as is part of our normal game. This, in turn, put pressure on our centre backs who then had no outlet as Everton pressed our central midfield.

    What we learn from this is that we need better quality in the fullback, central defence and central midfield i.e. players who can take the ball cleanly and beat at least one challenge before making an accurate pass ( as Sessegnon demonstrated when he came deep).

    I agree about the comments about O’Shea, he was a big miss. Central defenders must defend the area between the posts, and when Kyrgiakos got himself beyond the near post in no-man’s land, marking nobody, the first goal was a formality; I believe O’Shea would not have been in that position.

    There were some decent performances, so all is not lost, but we will need to build well in the summer if we are to maintain our mid-table position, let alone continue to progress.

  7. I wrote in an earlier piece and said at the time let the best team win as an everton fan we were the best team last night but i would like to say sunderland fans are like us from different mothers you where an absoute credit to football i feel your pain but we have unfinihed business with the neighbours and my feelings for them is none existant.
    Give o neil time and he will come up with a winning side i truly wish you the best of luck for the rest ofthe season and look forward to your visit in the league in a couple of weeks maybe you can get some rough justice then

    Graham L

  8. Martin got that tactical change badly wrong. At a time when one bit of good play could have dragged us back into the game, shifting the whole shape of the team was too erratic and far too premature in my opinion. That pales into insignificance though, when comparing this to all the correct decisions he has made in his time here.

    If ever there was an appropriate time for people to look at the big picture, it is now.

  9. I agree about Everton, Davey. They played very well last night and I hope they win the Cup. Moyes is a decent man and an excellent manager. Yes, and let them get into Europe, they are more deserving of doing so than some of the rivals that you mentioned.

  10. I agree Hilary , O’Shea was a big miss . The Greek set the tone for the night by needlesly giving a corner away in the first few minutes . After that we went from bad to worse , we looked a bag of nerves ; even the ever reliable Bardsley was resorting to misplaced passes and nerves in the 2nd half . Vaughan came on and , poor lad , within 3 minutes he had won the game for Everton . Best write it off as “one of those nights ” and carry our previous good work on , throughout the rest of the season . Let’s hope Everton win the cup now – as a club in a similar position to Sunderland (supposedly having more illustrious neighbours ) it would be great for them and Moyes to get some silverware this season – and qualify for Europe next season – at the expense of dare I say it – our illustrious neighbours

  11. Salut Everton, you got lucky with the help of a ref in the first game, but no mistakes this time you were outclassed and resoundly beaten. It could of been 5 or 6. You celebrated at Goodison as if you were malready through tut tut. Wembley here we come!

    • I don’t agree about being lucky in the first game I thought we were worth the draw. Outclassed and beaten this time -I can’t really argue, perhaps there’s a lesson for our manager and some of our players. But on the subject of help from referees, what’s your opinion of players who fall over and then claim penalties?

  12. Sitting in a hotel in Wallington, a pint of Young’s Bitter in my hand, I was anticipating a great night. So much for anticipation! It was just very disappointing, particularly after Saturday when we controlled the game and passed the ball to feet. I know Everton were much better than QPR but basics are still basics.
    Still on we go, perhaps it will spur us on to greater things at the Etihad on Saturday. Ha’way the Lads.

  13. I agree with all you say, Martin. I think O’Shea’s absense was also a factor. At Goodison he marshalled the defence and his experience of the’ big occasion’ showed in a cool head and a confidence, which was entirely missing last night. I think the ‘Greek fella’ is a loose cannon and is destabilising to the defence.

    Some of the squad have been playing beyond themselves in the past months and their work rate has been very high. Last night we looked played out. However, with some new players strenghtening the team in the Summer window, I have no doubt that we will do well next year. We are still doing well in the League and MON has given us an exciting, roller coaster ride since he came, in which the good massively outways our occasional slump.

  14. Well done Everton. They fully deserved the win. They out played us all over the pitch. Their players worked harder to close us down and gave us no space to play. Too many of our lads went missing. Passing and movement was awful. Felt for MON as he didn’t have much choice with his defensive selection. (The big greek fella is awful!)

    Anyway, as disappointing as it is, it’s not as devastating as it could be. For once I don’t feel like that was our only chance of success for the next 10 to 20 years. With MON at the helm i feel so much more confident that we can look forward to more of this- cup runs and challenging further up in the top half. With MON’s own players in over the summer we’ll have an even greater chance of success in the near future. While it hurts right now, you have to admit the future looks so much brighter than it did 4 or 5 months ago. Lets just rally together for the last 8 games and finish as high as we can. I for one cannot wait for next season.

  15. Well done to Everton , and their fantastic supporters too . Reminded me of our away support
    At 1 – 0 , we were always in with a chance , but the 2nd goal ended any hopes – that’s about the first time MON’s substitution hasn’t paid off . Let’s hope our season doesn’t go downhill now and we have a few more home wins to cheer us up

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