At the end of the draw with Crystal Palace on Friday night there was more than a smattering of boos coming from the Everton fans who had stayed to the final whistle, but they need more patience.
There were groans aplenty throughout the game too, as frustration at poor officiating spilled over into frustration with Everton’s lack of a decisive final ball but we need to remember that this was always going to be a season of transition.
Ronald Koeman took charge of Everton Football Club just over 100 days before the Palace game and inherited a side bereft of any defensive nouse and with one recognised striker, a striker Koeman looked destined to lose in the summer transfer window.
In those 100 or so days (108 to be precise) Koeman has instilled a new defensive know-how into his Everton side, adding experience in Ashley Williams, and capability in the form of Maarten Stekelenberg. Everton have conceded just five goals in the opening seven games of this season – it was 7 in 7 last season. He’s also lost just one game in the league as Everton manager.
But it’s the goals scored column that remains the disappointment to many. 11 goals this season matches last season’s tally after seven games and Koeman still has just one recognised striker of any note in the squad.
Koeman isn’t in charge of signing players though, Steve Walsh is. Walsh worked miracles at Leicester City and is credited with helping them do the unthinkable and win the Premier League last season, but he was given just 42 days to work his magic in his first window at Everton. We all know things can change quickly in football, but 42 days to improve an entire team? Priorities were set, and signings like Idrissa Gueye are proving worth adding another zero to their transfer fees.
Koeman has done a huge amount to stop Everton’s leaky defence but there will be times in his first season when things don’t go to plan. We have to accept that.
He has asked his team to play higher up the pitch and his midfielders to press more aggressively, and for the most part it is working. We have to have patience with them and appreciate that although it looks like he is at times, Idrissa Gueye can’t physically be everywhere at the same time.
The signings that were brought in during the summer have improved the first team no end, but giving someone 42 days in which to improve all areas of the squad is asking too much. Even of Steve Walsh.
Koeman and Walsh will continue to improve Everton both on and off the pitch but it will take time to achieve consistency and we need to afford them that time. Save your boos for when Belgium are on the TV.