Tempo is a word that seems to have been omitted from training at Everton this season.
Retaining possession is a good thing. However, throughout the Premier League season we have been so slow and methodical that more often than not we have been winning the passing rather than winning the game.
Everton have been a totally different team in the Europa League. Playing with pace and confidence they have shown that they are able to keep the ball but still create chances often steamrollering over opposition.
Last night for the first half an hour Everton reverted to type, passing was slow and as Kyiv started to press we started to make mistakes. However, as has often been the case this season a goal against us in Europe has allowed us to take the shackles off our play, we started to attack with intent and invention but more importantly through Lukaku, with pace power and strength. Much has been made of our lack of width but it was our strength through the centre of the team last night that told. Jagielka took the game by the scruff of the neck and carried us forward, Mc Carthy was relentless in midfield and Lukaku the perfect target man in attack.
The key to our victory was the speed in which we moved the ball from defence to attack and the movement showed by players like Osman when he was introduced, something which Martinez finally seemed to acknowledge post match. While there are times when keeping the ball is important there has to be a variation in tempo if not play and this is something we achieve in Europe.
If we can transfer our style in Europe to the Premier League our season may not end up being as tense a finish as we imagine, in the meantime we always have Thursdays!
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