Apr 9, 2014
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Liverpool Is Blue
The Rise (hopefully) Of Everton

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So with Sam Allardyces rein as Everton manager over thoughts turn to who will take over at Goodison Park and lead Everton into the 2018/19 Season. Here at Sky Sports HQ we will look at the contenders and with the help of former Everton Favourite Leon Osman access each canidate and try to predict who will get the job.

Marco Silva

The bookies favourite for the role having been linked last season, What are your thoughts on Silvas chances Leon?

Osman: He has been relatively successful in his previous jobs wining trophies in Portugal and Greece and when he initially took over at Watford he had them playing some really good football and getting results too. My main worry with Marco is that Everton need stability after 3 managers in 1 season last term and he has never really stuck around, and you only have to look what happened when the Everton link appeared, Watfords form nosedived after his head was turned.

Diego Simeone

A big name to go along with the ambitious project at Goodison. Is he a realistic target?

Osman: As much as I and all Evertonians would love to see this happen I just don't think it will. He would obviously be a great addition but if he was ever to leave Athletico I think there would be a queue of teams wanting him, many with a higher rep and more money not to mention European football. I just don't see it happening.

Eddie Howe

An Everton fan we are lead to believe could the Bournemouth man be the right fit at Goodison.

Osman: I think he could be, and if I was in charge of making the decision he would be the man I would go for. Young, talented and plays attractive football, something Everton fans having been crying out for. Add in that he knows the league and is a fan of them team for me its a no brainer.

David Unsworth

Unsworth is the successful U23s coach at Everton and took over temporarily last season. Is it his time to step up?

Osman: I like David I really do and when he took over for a few games last season he had started to change things around and I think if he had of been left in charge until the end of the season he also would have kept Everton safe. However I can see him as a number 2 to someone else just to learn his trade a bit more before taking over the hot seat.

Louis Van Gaal

Reports circulating that Van Gaal has recieved a offer 'too good to turn down' could it be Everton?

Osman: He certainly has pedigree having managed some of the biggest teams in the world, and it would be this type of manager I could see Unsy being No.2 for with a view to taking over in a couple of years. I think this could have legs for that reason, but I'm not sure how happy the Everton fans would be given the style of football he played at Man U, but definitely a possibility.

So overall who do you this will get the job?

Osman: My preference would be Howe, but I'm not sure Bournemouth would want to let him go and certainly not on the cheap. Given the trouble Everton have had and are still having with Watford over Silva they may consider him. So that for me leaves Van Gaal and Silva. Both unemployed but both offering different things and approaches, Silva up and coming and attacking football whilst Van Gaal has seen it all but is more pragmatic shall we say in his approach. If i had to put money on it I'd go for Silva, he is not the bookies favourite for nothing.

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Reports reaching us that Evertons Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright have been spotted in a Liverpool hotel with the agent of Marco Silva. Its rumoured that they were sorting out the final details of his contract and that an announcement could happen in the next 48 hours. We are lead to believe that Director of Football Marcel Brands has already had face to face talks with Silva and that they discussed budgets transfer targets and what would be expected performance wise if he was to take over.

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With the saga over the new Everton manager still dragging on due to Watfords complaints to the FA over Evertons approach to Marco Silva last season and the fact they are still looking compensation despite sacking him, a new and completely left field name has apparently entered the frame. Former Northern Ireland and life long Everton fan Ralph Lavery is we believe is under serious consideration by the board. With no managerial experience and having retired some years ago its unsure were this link has come from, and certainly Everton fans we spoke to in town today were lest than impressed with the suggestion.

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Everton Appoint Lavery

So after weeks of talks and what was believed to be the worst kept secret in football Everton have a sprung a complete surprise and appointed Ralph Lavery as their new manager and not Marco Silva as everyone had expected. The Former Northern Ireland defender has no experience and is being veiwed by many as 2nd choice after Everton had failed to agree terms with Watford over their illegal approach claims over Marco Silva. Lavery is due to meet the media tomorrow and we will of course bring you all the news from that Press confrence here on Sky Sports HQ.
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I arrived for my first day at Finch Farm and it was straight into a press conference. I had never been a big fan of talking to the press even as a player, but it was something that we had to do, though if I'm honest they might get more used to seeing my assistant over the coming months than me. I walked in and there were about 10/15 people there and even a few faces I recognised, Vinny O'Connor from Sky and a couple from Sunday Supplement though I wasn't 100% on their names, one was definitely Martin something. Then of course there was the local press Greg O'Keeffe and Philip Kirkbride from the Echo. I wasn't going to enjoy this but just thought lets get it over with.

So I had all the questions I had expected about being 2nd choice, how I felt about working with a Director of Football and was I a defensive coach all of which I had prepared answers for. I was of course asked about transfers and how I felt that Marcel Brands had already brought several players in prior to my arrival, and what if any input I had had. I explained that I was more than happy with the business that had already been done and how it had addressed many of the areas that I would have wanted to strengthen anyway but that I had had no input on it as yet. This lead onto targets I might have but I explained that the budget wasn't there at least not for 1st team players and that any further additions were likely to be with one eye on the future.

The guy from The Mirror then asked if my ambitions were matched by the Chairman given that he was only giving me £4.3m to spend in the market. I agreed that I would ideally have liked more money and another striker but that the same could be said for any manager in the league and that given the outlay already spent before my arrival I was happy with the squad.

I answered a few more questions about backroom staff and possible sales etc and gave the usual 'everyone will get their chance' response and then it was over and I could get down to the job in hand and get onto the training ground and get a proper look at the squad.
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Squad Review

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Overall I was happy with the quality and depth of the squad. We had a couple of good players in each position with the exception of striker, but with no money and already £11m in debt it looked like we would have to make do. We also had a number of very talented youth players that I would be looking to get some game time in the early rounds of cups etc and with the money you can generate in the Premier League perhaps by January we could have enough for a striker if needed.

Having spent the day watching training and talking to what backroom staff remained I had decided on 2 tactic that I planed to deploy. One for when we were the better team and one for when we weren't.

When I thought we should win games and were the better team I planned a 4-2-3-1 wide. I wanted us to push higher up the pitch and press teams high, to counter quickly when we won the ball back and to try and work it into the box from wide areas with our wingers and fullbacks overlapping.

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Against the so called bigger teams I planned to be a bit more cautious in our appraoch. We would drop the AMC back to sit in front of the defense , try and keep our shape and to drop back into position when out of possession. I would be looking for us to counter and hit teams on the break, hopefully.

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The final thing that we did before the season started was to make 1 signing, and as predicted he was one for the future. We brought in Duarte Valente for £400k from Estoril . He looks like he could be a decent defensive midfielder. He already has good mental and physical attributes especially for a 18 year old as he was when he joined and hopefully he can improve his technicals whilst on loan with Hearts in Scotland.

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We went into pre-season with the sole purpose of getting the players fit. We were due to play a few games to work on sharpness but if I'm honest I hadn't heard of the majority of the teams we were due to play. The 2 exceptions to this were the games were we were honoring two mordern greats of the club in Phil Jagieka and Leighton Baines were we would play Deportivo de la Coruna and the mighty Barcelona. I was bothered about the results, well as long as we didn't lose, but was keen to be fit and ready for the start of the new league campaign.

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All in all a pleasing pre-season. No major injuries and some decent performances, the highlight of which was obviously the victory over Barca. We could move into the league now fully fit and with confidence that we can mix it with the top teams.

The league would see us kick off against newly promoted Wolves, I never liked playing newly promoted teams early in the season as they are still on a high from coming up and can prove to be very difficult opponents. The only up side was that at least we are at home, really have to target 3 points. We would then have 2 Premier League regulars in Southampton away and Palace at home. Two games that we should be capable of winning and if I'm truthful anything less that 7 points from our first 3 games would have to be viewed as a disappointment. We would round the month off in cup action against Millwall at The Den, a chance for some of the squad players to stack a claim but I still expect to be in the hat for the next round.
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So this was it, the start of my managerial career. I had completed all the pre-match press rubbish and decided that I was sending my assistant to these from now on, as I can't be sure that I wouldn't say what I really think rather than remaining calm and giving the professional answer. I had told the lads to go out and start quick and try and get an early goal I appeared confident, however as I stepped out of the tunnel and made my way to the dugout my heart was thumping and the butterflies were most definitely there.

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I couldn't have asked for a better start to life as the Everton manager. The lads controlled the game and there only shot on target didn't come until about 70 minutes in. Comfortable, composed and deserved winners my only complaint would be that we didn't score more, but 3 points in the bag.


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Another game we controlled but just couldn't put the ball in the net. We hit the woodwork, missed sitters and were just generally poor in front of goal. The positive is that at least we were creating chances. Before kick-off I would have settled for a point but at the final whistle it was 2 points dropped rather than one gained.

Crystal Palace:

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Another pleasing result and again thoroughly deserved. I think a new striker is going to be top of my shopping list as we are creating chance afater cahnce and not taking them and its only a matter of time before that costs us. However here we controlled the game, were 2-0 up and gave away a silly free kick on the edge of the box that they scored from. We did change to our more defensive set up for the last 20 minutes to see the game out but it was never really in doubt. 7 points from 9 to start the season can't be sniffed at, though I think we will need to be more clinical against the top sides.

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It was a chance to give a run out to a few of the squad players and they did me proud. Another game were the result never looked in doubt. Goals either side of half time meant the game was over before the hour mark and the sending off had no real effect on the game. Same old problem though of needed 3 or 4 chances to score which won't cut it against the big boys, but into the next round so a pleasing night.
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So after a positive start to the season we went into September on a high and 4th in the table. September looked like another month that we should be picking up points with games against three teams I would expect to beat in Leicester away, Fulham and Newcastle at home. Ideally I'd been looking for maximum points there as we also had a trip to Chelsea on the cards, and despite not having started well they are a very capable side. We also had League Cup action away to Spurs so two very tricky games back to back in the capital.

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On paper this looks like a very even game however we were the better team with most of their efforts on goal being from range and not really troubling Pickford. Lookmans two goals capped a very good display from him and he is beginning to stake a claim to be first choice on the left ahead of both Richarlinson and Bernard, though with the number of knocks those pair keep picking up I might not have a choice. Another 3 points keeps us towards the top of the table.


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I still can believe we didn't get all 3 points today. Plenty of chances but another bad day at the office for Tosun. I would drop him but my other strikers haven't been setting the world alight whenever they have played and Tosun is our best striker by a distance, a word in his ear is most definitely incoming and hopefully a bit of a transfer budget in January to buy an upgrade.


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I knew we would have to lose at some point however this felt a little harsh. Chelsea came into the game 10th and not on form and up until half time it was a close game. They had a bit of luck with a couple of deflections in the box before the ball landed at the feet of Kovacic who slotted home. I changed things up a bit at half time to try and get back in the game and to say it didn't work is an understatement. Chelsea battered us in the second half and probably could have a couple more.


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Newcastle were in the relegation zone when they arrived on Merseyside and I told the lads that I expected a better performance than our last league game to ensure they were still there when they left. It is another 3 points but another day of missed chances and poor performances from our attacking players, at least when it comes to taking the chances. But a win is a win and it was good to get back to winning ways in the league.

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View attachment 33821So having just been humiliated by Chelsea a couple of days earlier I was not confident coming into this game. I made a couple of changes from our starting 11 but still went with a very strong team, partly to try and ensure confidence wasn't crushed and partly because I see this a a realistic chance of a trophy.

It was the first time that I thought we got lucky. We took an early lead and before I could scream concentrate and point to my head Spurs had equalised. They then had the better of the game and will probably feel very hard done by to be knocked out but with 20 minutes to go Niasse got on the end of a Lookman cross for his second of the game and we were in the hat for the next round. He may also have played himself into a starting place, which gives you some indication as to how bad Tosun has been of late.

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October would be an interesting month. We had a home game against Burnley and trips to Cardiff and Southampton in the cup. Then of course there was the small mater of the Merseyside Derby at Anfield. If I'm honest I'd take 7 points from the league games and would like to progress further in the cup. The one thing we can't do is lose to Liverpool, a draw would be fine but we can't lose.

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We arrived in the Welsh capitol to take on bottom of the table Cardiff. I had told the guys that I expected to come away with 3 points but I had hoped that we could put in a performance and maybe put 3 or 4 goals past them. That was not to be! We were in control and never looked in any danger of not winning but as is becoming a theme this season we fail to take our chances and only win 1-0. Still a win when you don't play well is a good sign, at least thats what they say.


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Another game that we won at a canter. We controlled possession, limited their chances and eventually got our goals, firstly through an OG before Niasse added a second late on to give the scoreline a truer reflection of our dominance. Another 3 points and being on good form before the biggest game of our season so far.


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A fairly even game and I'd have taken a draw before kick off, especially given our form at Anfield over the past 10 years or so. However to concede so late on, in fact in the 4th minute of 2 minutes of injury time was a massive kick in the teeth. That said I was pleased with our performance and keeps us in the hunt for Champions League.

I'd never paid too much attention to league tables until at least 10 games in when I was a player and the same was true as a manager. Now that everything has settled down and we had played 10 games it does look like we could weel be in the conversation for top 6.

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Our trip to the south coast couldn't have been going any better after an hour, 3-0 up in complete control and cruising into the next round. It was at this point that I decided to rest a few of my key players with the league game coming up. Almost immediately Southampton pulled a goal back, and I got nervous. I changed our shape to our more defensive approach and it looked to have shut the game down, until Southampton ensured we would have a very nervy last few minutes when the scored a second. We did hold on and are into the Quarter Finals, and I'm starting to eye my first trophy.
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November was set to be a month of opposites. We would face teams at the top of the table in Man Utd and Arsenal whilst we also had games against West Ham and Watford who were at the wrong end of the table. If you were to offer me 2 draws against the big boys I'd rip your arm off right now. However ther is no point taking points off the top teams if you don't win the games you should be winning so 6 points from the West Ham and Watford games was a must.

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A fairly even game with a lot of thier shots being from range. A draw was probably a fair result and a point against one of the top 6 can never be viewed as a bad point. I do feel that we do need to take more than a point in some of these games though if we want to push for a top 4 even top 6 finish. Overall happy enough.

West Ham:

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Definitely 2 points dropped. West Ham are rubbish and struggling so far this season. They didn't even muster an attempt on target and yet we still couldn't pick up the win! I hate to sound like a broken record but our strikers really aren't clinical and that simply must improve if we want to be more than also rans.


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Another match we dominated, and as bad as we are up front we are good at the back. Teams really struggle to break us down and get any meaningful attempts on target only 1 in this game. I had had a word with Tosun and told him he needed to buck up his ideas before the West Ham match and I very nearly dropped him for this game and I'm so glad i didn't. A goal either side of half time, both of which were almost identical finishes, saw us run out comfortable winners.

Man Utd:

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Away to Man U is never an easy game, and I'll admit we set up to frustrate them and maybe nick something on the break, so I was ok with the draw. The game itself was not a good advert for the English game with very few efforts on goal, and a case of defenses on top.

All in all not too bad a month, though 6 points from 12 probably won't be enough to keep us in the hunt for Champions League.

In other news, I was called to the Chairman's office towards the end of the month. Now I wasn't entirely sure what was going on but assumed that with January on the horizon it would be to discuss transfer targets budgets etc. I was keen to add some new blood to freshen things up and hopefully continue or push for top 4. However when I arrived there was no mention of budgets but I was given a new contract. So another 2 years at least, during which time I'm keen to add silverware and get us into the Champions League.

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December was the month I hated most as a player. So many games and at a time when you should be spending time with your family you will be at the opposite end of the country, well unless you played for Man u or Liverpool that is! So it was set to be the usual 8 games over the course of the month with 7 in the League plus a Carabao Cup game against City. This month wasn't about who had the better players it was about who had the fitter players.

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There wasn't much in it. We slightly edged it and it was good to see the scoreline reflect this. We will played batter than this and lose I have no doubt, but 3 points on the board.

Man City:

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We knew it was going to be difficult at the City of Manchester and so we set up in the same way as we had against Man Utd. We even had a bit of success catching them on the break, and arguably deserved the lead when we took it just after the half hour. City hit back almost immediately and so it stayed until half time. Buoyed by are good start and the fact we had scored I decided to try and push a bit in the second half, unfortunately pushing forward left gaps that in the end City exploited. Looking at the stats 3-1 looks about fair but the fact it was two late goals means it stings a little.


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We were keen to bounce back after the City defeat, though Spurs was always going to be a tough game to do so. The first half was quite the ding dong battle with both teams sharing 6 goals. The second half was never going to live up to the first and there was little of note except a few long shots until the 93rd minute when the ref awarded a very soft looking penalty. Luckily justice was done and Pickford saved from Lamela so the points were shared.


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We went 2 up early on. They managed to pull one back and for 10/15 minutes before half time caused us a few issues. However the sending off just after the break ended any hopes they had of getting back in the game and we held on comfortably.

That left the table looking like this at the half way point*

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* I know that half way is 19 games not 18 but for some reason I took the screenshot after 18 so we'll have to go with it.

5th isn't bad though a bit of a gap starting to emerge between the top 4 and the rest. We'll need to pick it up in the second half (+1) of the season if we want a Champions League berth.


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This was the old game of two halves. First half we were terrible. Yes we had scored twice but we had also conceded 3 to a team that had only had 2 shots! I read the riot act at half time, there were tea cups flying everywhere! The lads responded though, with an equaliser from Keane at a corner then 3 late goals including Lookman completing a hat trick put gloss onto a average performance.


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A win is a win as they say. We should have won by more than one but again didn't take our chances and were left sweating as Bournemouth piled the pressure on at the end.


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That was the second 3-2 game we've played against Southampton this season but it should have been done and dusted before they equalised in the 87th minute. I thought we had thrown away 2 points at the death then up popped Tom Davies with the winner and a deserved 3 points.

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So having lost to City in the league only a few days ago we were keen to get revenge in the Cup. Things didn't look too good when City went 1 up but up stepped Gylfi and scored 2 before the break to put us into the next round.
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January means one thing, the transfer window opens! Unfortunately we seem to be losing money hand over fist, and are now £34m in debt. I'm not sure were the money is going as we appear to be making a profit most months, just hope prize money at the end of the year sorts it out. Anyway that means no new striker, and actually just one signing that was agreed back in September, with Xadas a young Portuguese attcking midfielder joining for £375k from Braga. Another one found by my scouts who could have a very big future, I don't expect him to make too many appearances this term, and he may even go out on loan.
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I was furious after this game. A fairly even game that if anything we had shaded, however thanks to two massive slices of luck it is Chelsea that take the win and probably have put the tie to bed after just the 1st leg. So Chelsea take the lead with a ball to the back post from a corner. Not great defending but no real complaints with this one. We get a goal back and I'm thinking we could go on and get another goal or two. In step lady luck. Chelseas 2nd goal is a complete fluke. Dave cuts inside from full back and hits a shot that was going to worry the corner flag more than the goal before getting a massive deflection off the defender and going in, how its not an OG is beyond me. Then to add insult to injury their 3rd is almost as bad. The attack down the right with Dave and Kovacic. They try to switch play and the ball deflects off the **** of an attacker and lands at the feet of Hazard 8 yards out with nobody anywhere near him. In fairness its a good finish but they couldn't have completed the pass if they had tried 100 times. Raging!

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The 2nd leg was frustrating. Chelsea set out to hold what they had and we couldn't break them down. Hopes were raised with the award of a penalty shortly after the hour mark but when that was put into the stands rather than the net it summed up our night. A 3-1 defeat and we had missed out on our best chance of a trophy. Gutted.

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A rotated side and we dominated League 1 Burton. I think the only surprise was that we only scored twice. Still in the hat for the next round was the aim and we had done that.


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Another lower league team, the FA Cup draw has certainly been kinder than the league cup was, another rotated team and another easy win. Two goals in two minutes just after the half hour mark ended the game as a contest and we are in the next round. I've also noticed a few of the bigger teams have gone out, with a few all Premier League ties in the next round so maybe a trophy isn't out of the question yet.

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A very frustrating day at the office. We were the better team controlled the game but could take our chances. The need for a new striker is becoming more apparent, my concern is that if we continue to lose money like we have been we won't get a transfer budget or at least not one big enough to get us a striker good enough for the team. Sandro may get a few games next season at this rate.


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Good to bounce back right away and good performances all round except Tosun who won't be starting next game. We were no doubt helped by the early sending off but even before that we looked in control.


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More points dropped and more poor performances. Just when I thought no one could be as bad as Tosun had been the last few games Omar Niasse said hold my beer and put in an even more inept display. We couldn't hit a cows **** with a banjo today and the only good thing was that Fulham were so bad they couldn't take advantage. Champions League is beginning to look like a distant dream and we may do well to hold onto a European spot at this rate.