Sean Dyche’s ‘greatest achievement’ has won over Everton fans

Sean Dyche – Sean Dyche's 'greatest achievement' finally earns Everton fans' respect
Sean Dyche saw his side secure Premier League survival against Brentford - PA/Peter Byrne

He has been at Goodison Park for more than a year, but Sean Dyche may finally feel fully appreciated as Everton’s manager. This has been Dyche’s best week on Merseyside.

Three wins, nine points and the certainty of Premier League football next season will enchant more hearts and minds, and empower him to lay foundations for a less fraught future.

As escape missions go, this was not even dramatic by Everton standards; no last-day dramas, inspirational reminders of previous getaways or 25-yard screamers from unlikely heroes will be required after the 1-0 win over Brentford guaranteed safety. Under the unprecedented ­circumstances of an eight-point deduction, to erase jeopardy with three games left makes this a greater accomplishment than the past two seasons.

Dyche has succeeded where many would have wilted amid the numerous external distractions and punishments. “It is my biggest [achievement] to lead a group from where it was to where it is,” said Dyche. “Last year was tough, but this was particularly tough. It feels very good coming off all the knocks we’ve had. I am super proud of everyone involved. “This job was not how it was pitched to me.

Early season I said if we kept consistent behaviours it would pay us back, and it has.” Dyche’s style is not to all tastes, and there have been occasions over the past 15 months when Evertonians have debated if an overreliance on organisation, defensive structure and set-pieces is to theirs.

Often whenever Everton have won, their performances have been appreciated more than loved, fans craving a return to an era of enjoying their football, not stomaching it. Three games ago, the side were hammered 6-0 at Chelsea and, for the first time, those with reservations about Dyche’s formula became more vocal.

Dyche and the players’ response to an emergency deserves credit. They have never looked more like a team than in their past three home games, and the manager has often had to scrape the bottom of the barrel of a squad built by many failed architects.

A year ago, Dyche welcomed safety with a stark reminder of how much work was still needed behind the scenes to ensure the future will not be more of the same grind.

He effectively repeated it after Idrissa Gueye’s winner. For too long, catastrophe and fatalism have been unwanted bedfellows to the fans, poor signings, Premier League commission and ownership wrangles snuffing out the wax whenever the candle flickered with a flame of hope. Until prospective owner 777 proves its worthiness – either to the Premier League before taking over or to the fans – familiar anxieties will bubble away.

Ask Dyche what he would like Everton to become in the next stage of the evolution, and chances are he would namecheck yesterday’s opponents Brentford; a well-run, financially stable club, well stocked in most positions and with a coveted striker in Ivan Toney. Thomas Frank has not built a flashy side.

Like Everton, they might occasionally make a purist’s eyes bleed rather than glisten. “It was quite boring,” Frank admitted. “We played an average game. It irritates me because it is a 0-0 game.” Given their relative resources, Brentford are a model institution. Only when or if Frank and Dyche possess the players to make these attritional games less frequent can judgment on their style carry weight.

On the field, at least, Everton look as though they have the platform upon which to turn the corner. Their latest win owed much to their set-piece menace, Brentford’s inability to deal with the aftershocks of a Dwight McNeil corner enabling Gueye to score for a ­second successive weekend. McNeil was outstanding. He seems to come to life when the pressure is at its most intense.

Dyche should hypnotise his winger into believing every month is April and May, McNeil denied one of the goals of the season when he smashed the crossbar just before Gueye’s winner. The job was done. “You can stick your points deduction up your a---” was the most vocal Gwladys Street chant. They have never sung Dyche’s name. But, whatever the future holds, Everton history will commend the work of the ideal manager for a perilous situation.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.