Everton must stop copying Bruno Fernande’s and Manchester United’s example after asking for trouble – Michael Ball

Some Everton players got a stick from visiting fans as they walked over to them after the defeat to Brentford, but under those circumstances I would have just run down the tunnel.

I half feel the players go over to the fans to thank them at the end of the Brentford match, but I would not.

You’re embarrassed. You’ve just been beaten by Brentford. Get off the field.

Talk to each other in the locker rooms and make sure you do not repeat that performance again.

You can take it both ways. Sometimes when players run down the tunnel, the fans are not happy and think they are not grateful.

But all the players are grateful that the fans are there. The new boys who have come to the football club have been amazed at the support away from home.

They could not believe it was the Everton fans when it was hit at places like Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton Wanderers on the weekdays, they are amazed at it and grumble that they are part of the club.

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You’re asking for trouble.

When you go out before the match for your warm-up, you give the fans a pat.

That was my thing. Thank you for coming before the match.

Then you have your head on the football.

After scoring a goal, football players throw jerseys into the crowd and love all the attention, so now they go back to apologize.

We’ve seen it with Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United and with other players going over to the fans to apologize for their performance.

They do not want to hear apologies or rallies. We’ve been here before.

Just get yourself off the field and make sure it does not happen again.

I understand that you’re damn if you do, and damn if you do not, and no matter what, you’ll get backchat, but for me, you’ve thanked the fans beforehand, now you have to play a performance.

It shows you how bad a situation we are in that when we traveled down to Brentford – and I made the journey myself – we said, ‘Let’s at least get a point.’

We’re Everton Football Club.

It shows how much mess we are right now.

We started pretty well and I thought “well, the boys are ready for it”, but our lack of will to win football matches is shocking.

I went into the match and thought Brentford were a good team that played decent football but they were bad.

They were there to take, but we could not smell blood.

In the past, we’ve seen Everton play horribly at times, but still win matches.

Brentford’s first-choice goalkeeper and main defender were both out.

It should have been an opportunity to put pressure on them and test the keeper.

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We do not seem to get that from this group of players.

As I played, I thought about my opponents and wondered ‘where is the weak link?’ and trying to put pressure on them.

Instead, we just seem to try to play the same way, but expect different results.

We have been here before as Evertonians, where coaches have played the same way every week and expected different results.

The fans start to turn. They get really anxious.

They were there in numbers again, supporting the team and singing their songs, getting behind the team because we know they are going through a difficult period, but we keep seeing the lack of quality and poor decision making.

As for the two penalty kick incidents at each end of the pitch, I can have no complaints.

Andros Townsend tried to clear the ball and he was just hit by it.

Again, this is an example that we are not on our toes for set pieces.

If you’re on your heels, you react more slowly, and that’s what happened.

He came a little too late and he got in touch with the head with the foot so it is unfortunately a punishment and then it set them up.

I did not think there was anything in the Salomon Rondon incident at the time and one looks at the reaction from the other players and they did not seem to see it either.

The fact that the players did not surround the referee suggests to me that the players did not think it was a penalty kick.

We should put teams like Brentford away every week, no matter sticking to VAR decisions.

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Fear of young players sounds nonsense to me as the replacement decision was confusing

Only Rafa Benitez wants to know why he only made one substitution at Brentford.

It confuses me.

You are 1-0 down to Brentford and the manager only makes one substitution when there were strikers on the bench.

We do not care if it ends with two or three zero, if we already lose, you have to go for it.

I think he has said that he does not think the young players are ready and he will not hurt them, either mentally or physically in their development.

To me, that’s nonsense.

Was Danny Cadamarteri ready? No. Was I ready? None.

You’re just thrown into the lion’s den. It does not hurt you.

You thrive on that as a young person. You think ‘these boys need me’.

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Think back to when Danny first got his chance.

What a nightmare he was in five or six games against some top teams.

He was unknown. No one knew how to play against him. No one knew what he was doing.

What he had was energy, commitment and bravery.

He would run in behind and run with the football.

What we have right now is a statue that does nothing.

He got a few opportunities and he flopped them.

A youngster will come in and create some surprises to test the resistance. They have bundles of energy.

Throw the kids on so they can prove a point. They will think ‘You do not think I’m ready? I want to show you.’

Our quality in the last third is sad.

The crosses came into the field but we had attackers pulling off.

It’s not your job. Your job is to break your neck to get in front of the two midfielders and try to get a look at it.

Do not hold back and pull out for the midfield runners.

There also seems to be no connection. Sometimes the ball goes wide and we do not cross it in, while other times we do.

Rondon has to make the runs, scream and demand of his teammates to get the ball into the area.

When Demarai Gray came on, he put two wonderful balls in, but no one was near them – that was where the striker should be.

We were just so toothless.

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It’s so heartbreaking to watch other teams in the Premier League make big decisions and put the ball in the right areas of the field.

We make liquid balls. What will it do?

Then we lay balls on the floor. There is no coherence in our game, we seem to be out of the script. There is no understanding. No rhythm.

Yes, we were without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, but there has to be an understanding when you get into the last third of what they’re trying to do.

Look at Manchester City on Sunday, they had five players in the field when one cross was delivered and one of them gets a tap-in.

Our central midfielders would be on the halfway line somewhere.

I fear fans can get toxic because Benitez is not getting the best out of these players

I do not think Rafa Benitez’s comments after the match helped him. Yes, he was certainly pleased with the players’ commitment and desire, but in the end, you have to win football matches.

I would rather win ugly, have a day off but get points and then you can go back to the training ground and work on the performance.

Maybe the manager is trying to get a bit of confidence into the players ahead of the big matches to come, but our fans are spending big money on going to these matches.

We will not start pointing fingers again and go back to the starting point.

None of us want that. We all wish the best for Everton Football Club.

There are already banners out there.

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For a long time, we as a club have always had excuses for not having enough money.

We were supposed to be together, fight and fight and had some good years here and there.

Now we’ve got money, there’s a lot of accountability all over the club.

As far as I can see, there is not one big problem that seems to be a whole lot of problems that need to be solved.

The fans can become toxic. No one wants it, but if it continues as it goes, then it is fear.

As Rafa himself said: ‘It is my job to get the best out of this group of players.’

You have to find solutions to win football matches.

We know there are excuses and he has had accidents with injuries but he does not get the best out of this group of players.

Results are what matter.

Work and commitment are just a standard level. We want more.


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