Michael Ball compares Everton's defenders to mannequins

Picture Supplied by Action Images - Michael Ball

Everton have struggled at both ends of the pitch in recent weeks.

Former Everton defender Michael Ball was heavily critical of his former side's performance against Southampton on Sunday during their 1-0 defeat, calling the Toffees' defending 'mannequin like', when writing his column for the Liverpool Echo.

The Blues have been on a worrying run of form over the past month, and have fallen nine points outside of the Champions League spots, after taking just six points from their last eight Premier League outings.

Everton manager Ronald KoemanEverton manager Ronald Koeman

And Ball. who made 139 appearances for Everton during a five-year spell with the club, was shocked by his former side's performance at St Mary's on Sunday, highlighting their defending as a key cause for concern, when writing his column for the Liverpool Echo:

"Having made notes for my column I felt I needed to re-watch to make sure I hadn’t been too harsh. The fact was, I probably hadn’t been harsh enough. I was actually quite optimistic going into the game. And then the game kicks off. And Southampton start fast, while Everton’s players are stood there. It was schoolboy football at times. The Mannequin Challenge is all the rage at the moment, and it looked like we were determined to have a go at it at St Mary’s."

Everton manager Ronald Koeman before the matchEverton manager Ronald Koeman 

What must be a huge worry for Everton fans is how their club is struggling at both ends of the pitch.

During their last eight games they have conceded 12 goals and scored just six times.

Koeman must find a way to re-inject the enthusiasm and energy that was so prevalent amongst his side during the early stages of the season.

Next up for the Toffees is a huge game on Sunday at home to Manchester United, and a win against Jose Mourinho's men would do wonders for the confidence of Koeman's men.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman before the matchEverton manager Ronald Koeman before the match

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