Marco Silva needs time and patience despite Watford repeat at Everton
Background photo: Biloblue, CC BY-SA 4.0
While the rest of us may look back on December 2018 fondly, Marco Silva will do the opposite. For a month synonymous with giving and happy memories, the Everton boss has been handed nothing but nightmares.
For a second successive year, the winter period has not been kind to the Portuguese manager. This time a year ago it was his Watford side that slumped as Christmas approached.
Heading into December the Hornets were in fine fettle. A defeat to Manchester United at the end of November was disappointing but inconsequential. They sat 8h in the table with 21 points, two short of Liverpool in sixth and four short of a top-four spot. All was well at Vicarage Road.
By the start of the New Year, the storm clouds were gathering. In seven games across December Watford managed one win. The rest were all defeats. Not only that, they were bad ones. Losses to the likes of Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Swansea were unforgivable in the eyes of fans.
A further two defeats in three league games to start 2018 made Watford’s owners feel the same. By 21st January, Silva once again found himself out of a job. They blamed interest from Everton for the results but a deeper, concerning malaise had taken over the Hornets and needed to be addressed.
Fast-forward a year and the situation is shockingly similar. Silva now finds himself in charge of the Toffees but history has repeated itself. Heading into December the Blues were in good form. They had enjoyed four wins in seven and picked up a credible point at Stamford Bridge. Silva was being widely praised.
In fact, such was their confidence they headed to Anfield to take on Liverpool believing their bad luck at their former home could be about to change. Instead, it struck them as hard as it always has. Jordan Pickford’s moment of madness handed victory to Liverpool and since then it has all been downhill.
Everton has lost four of their seven games since then. Their only win was a 5-1 defeat of Burnley on Boxing Day, just like Watford last season. While defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham were somewhat expected, and an indicator of the gap they have to close defeats to Brighton and Leicester City were not. Nor were home draws with Watford and Newcastle.
Those latter four games were nothing but concerning. Not only were they bad results they were also bad performances. Only the draw with Newcastle could be described as unfortunate. Everton deserved to lose the rest, including the result against the Hornets.
As a result, Marco Silva once again finds himself under pressure. Impatient Everton fans are questioning whether he is the man to lead them forward.
Fortunately for the Portuguese boss that is unlikely to resonate upwards to those in charge. While the Everton hierarchy will be concerned with recent results they are almost certain to stick by their man. Primarily its because they know another manager change would only set the club back further. Everton cannot afford to keep swapping managers at the first hint of discomfort.
More than that, though, it is down to them knowing it is a process. The Blues need to play the long game with Silva before they see the benefits. He inherited a bad squad suffering from Sam Allardyce and Ronald Koeman’s reigns. They were also a squad ill-fitted to theirs or Silva’s ambitions. It was always going to take time for the wrongs to be rectified.
They need only look at the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham as proof of the point. Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino were given time and patience and now they are reaping the rewards. Their first seasons were hardly inspiring either. Klopp finished 8th in his first year, Pochettino fifth. Several years and transfer windows later and they’re both considered title challengers.
Silva needs similar time and patience. Everton have to clear the deadwood. He has shown in flashes this season that his style is one that can take the club forward. He has also demonstrated he gets what Everton is about and where they should be aiming to be. That is more than both of his predecessors have conjured up and should earn him faith.
If not, Everton fans would do well to remember how well their side has performed against the top. The humiliation against Spurs is the only one of such games they’ve been unfortunate not to get more from. That is a huge leap forward in itself.
The players are also important. They are nothing but supportive of the manager. They like his style and enjoy playing under him. That is another huge plus point in Silva’s favour.
Everton may be bearing a striking resemblance to Watford last season but Silva deserves time to prove that was a one-off. Rome was not built in a day and he should be given the opportunity to prove he can turn the Blues around.