Marco Silva delivered a rebuttal to his predecessor which, had they heard it, might have been received by the Goodison crowd as enthusiastically as their team’s goals against Lincoln City.
Sam Allardyce used Everton’s recent defeat by Leicester as an opportunity to tell Silva where he has been going wrong since replacing him last summer. Having kept his counsel when Silva enjoyed an encouraging start to the season, the timing was suspiciously cynical.
“You can talk about playing it out from the back and attractive football, but you will never survive as Ronald Koeman and Roberto Martinez learnt,” said Allardyce. “They all played so-called better football than me, but they didn’t survive.”
Silva queried Allardyce’s motivation when informed of the digs at his style. “My style? How I dress? My hair? Ah, my style of football,” said the Everton manager. “I am not here to make comments about him. You have to look at whether these people love Everton, if they want Everton really winning, if they want some stability inside the club?
“If there are real Everton fans talking like that, then maybe we have to be aware and to look at it, but if some people don’t want good results, just instability within our club, they are not worth listening to. If it is David Moyes, maybe I would listen because he did something really important at this club.
“If somebody loves our club and they are not happy, OK. I see a person who loves our club and wants us to win. If not, I do not care. In this case, it is not important at all.”
Given Allardyce’s unpopularity on Merseyside, a sobering reminder of what the second half of last season had in store could be more a help than a hindrance for Silva as he plots a different course. Nobody wants to go back to that.
Recent results at Goodison have been a concern, which is why FA Cup progress secured by Ademola Lookman and Bernard was vital. Michael Bostwick replied for Lincoln. Equally, the problems are not new. Until Everton find a striker who can consistently hold up the ball and bring others into play, Silva’s wish to pin teams in their own half will be undermined.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin showed what he can do in the build-up to Bernard’s clever goal, but the consistency and power is not there.
The club knows the new manager needs time. “This club needs stability, our players need stability and confidence,” said Silva. “What is important for us as a club is what is happening inside. Don’t be aware of what people say if they have another agenda. We cannot live up and down all the time. Even if we have a fantastic run, then a run which is not so good, we have to think of the whole scenario, not just the last few weeks.”