Mental Meekness

Mentally meek.

That's what seems to afflict the Toffees these days. Gone are the days when the team collectively erected a mental fortress that could withstand the longest and most arduous of sieges from opponents. Disappeared has the fighting spirit that dogged many rivals into submission. What thrives now is a psyche so fragile that the merest of fingerpokes sends the entire Blue wall crumbling.

I will not bore you (and myself) with stats, but how many times have we conceded in the second half this season? That alone is an indication of where we stand in terms of mental fortitude. In comparison, Liverpool has come back from behind to win their four of their 8 matches, Chelsea has not conceded in the second 45 throughout this fledgling season. We cultivated a reputation of winning matches by a solitary goal some time back; we seem scared to hold a lead these days. It would seem we're at a loss for action after scoring first in matches.

Yes, there was no doubt Arsenal would throw wave after wave of surging runs after going into the tunnel a goal down; they always do. But we came out of the tunnel seemingly blissfully unaware that they would do so. So okay, we conceded; we're not the first, and we won't be the last to concede at the Emirates. But from then on, we were shell shocked, all due to allowing them to equalise. Not to take the lead, mind you, but to equalise. We lost all hope. Compare that with Hull's performance at the same venue and you'll get a crystal clear idea on where we lie in terms of tactical nous, mental strength and self belief.

But enough of hammering the team, heaven knows every other team in the EPL is doing that this season. What can be done, what ought to be done? When it comes to player psychology, the manager has to raise his hands and admit his shortcomings. Motivation, it boils down to that. Many of the players have been with the team for some time already; the fourth place finish years ago seems to be the highlight of theirs and Moyes' tenure. There is a lack of drive, a lack of ambition to take on the self-proclaimed Big Four. Getting knocked out at the first hurdle of the League Cup and UEFA Cup has hardly helped matters. Neither is the fact we're now one point ahead of the relegation spat.

I do not profess to know the solution; if i did, I'd lobby for Moyes' position. I don't think it's as simple as dropping so and so, and changing player positions. It's deeper than that, more far reaching than just a few changes in defence or midfield. We have been scoring regularly, we've been conceding even more regularly. That's a start. We can't hold on to a lead, yet another clue. We're making too many fundamental mistakes, and our play is more predictable than a Bollywood blockbuster.

And does it really matter who buys the team or where we call home?


Popular Posts