Everton manager Roberto Martinez was a man all alone on the touchline as the chants rained down around him at Anfield on Wednesday evening.
Ironic singing from the Liverpool faithful of the Catalan’s name, coupled with a smattering of “You’re getting sacked in the morning”, ensured that he had nowhere to hide as his Everton side were thumped 4-0 in the 226th Merseyside derby.
It was a far cry from the adulation that swept down from the stands at Goodison Park throughout his debut season in charge of the Toffees, as Everton fans showered him with praise for seemingly taking the Blues to the next level.
Fast-forward to present day, and it seems the former Wigan Athletic gaffer is a dead man walking.
In the aftermath of another derby drubbing at the hands of the Reds, Martinez was quizzed about whether his position was under increased pressure following the loss.
“It’s not about my job,” he replied.
The Spaniard has come under greater scrutiny from the press in recent weeks due to a seven match winless run, his handling of Leighton Baines and the left back’s ‘lack of chemistry’ comments, and his unrelenting positivity in spite of facts and results pointing to the contrary.
It has become a welcome change for the vast majority of Evertonians, who have been crying out for the media to exert force on Martinez’s position and question his credibility following two seasons of exasperation.
And with good reason, too.
Regardless of whether the Toffees win their two remaining home league fixtures against Bournemouth and Norwich City, they will register their worst home league campaign in a single season in their 138-year history.
Only four home victories have been recorded from 17 home encounters in the Premier League – a statistic that is well documented by all Blues supporters.
The throwing away of leads, too, has become a source of immense frustration and anger, with no other side having thrown away more league points from winning positions in 2015/16.
And, as it stands, Everton are set to achieve back-to-back bottom half league finishes for the first time since the 2000/01 and 2001/02 seasons under then-manager Walter Smith.
That is all before you take into account some strange first team signings, the Toffees’ porous defence and Martinez’s allegedly questionable man-management skills concerning Samuel Eto’o, Sylvain Distin, Kevin Mirallas and Leighton Baines.
Of course, Martinez has done some good during three terms in charge at Goodison Park.
Everton secured their best ever Premier League points total of 72 in his first campaign as Blues boss, reached the last-16 of the Europa League in 2014/15 and the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and FA Cup during the current campaign, and he brought some of the brightest young talents through the Club’s academy and from other footballing outfits.
But such achievements mean little if the club is not progressing on the field.
Everton Football Club is not progressing – it has stagnated and gone backwards.
Vast swathes of Everton’s fanbase has been lost. The press has intensified the pressure on his position. And, judging by last night, some of the players have lost faith in his methods.
Make no mistake, Martinez’s tenure as Everton manager is under grave threat, if not already untenable.
Victory in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United may buy him time under the season’s end, but ultimately there is no hope of Martinez steering the ship back on course.
“It’s not about my job,” Martinez stated. It may not matter for much longer.
Featured image: Squawka