Conceding three goals at home to a side whose form plummets ever further by the week is not exactly a sure-fire sign of progress, but you get the feeling that an Everton side under Roberto Martinez may not have possessed the character to recover from such a setback and finish Saturday’s 6-3 thriller against Bournemouth with a flourish.
However, the former Toffees boss, sacked in the latter stages of last season with Everton haemorrhaging even the most avoidable goals, has claimed on Goals on Sunday that he sees no definitive improvements in the team’s tactical set-up under Ronald Koeman.
“As a fan you always want to see teams scoring goals and winning games. This performance was about that,” Martinez told Goals on Sunday, broadcast at 10.30am, Sunday 5th February.
“The only worry is that we had defensive fragilities last year and they cost us too many points. The performance was going in the right direction, you are doing everything right and then one action you look fragile. I can see the same things still now.”
Everton may have endured their fair share of wobbles in Koeman’s debut campaign, particularly during a vexing autumn period in which they conceded five against Chelsea and three against Watford, but the stats show that the Dutchman has constructed a more solid, less porous side.
After 24 games this season, The Toffees have conceded 27 goals. In fact, only three teams, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United, have conceded fewer.
This time last season, however, Everton had been breached 34 times under Roberto Martinez.
Meanwhile, prior to Saturday’s freak-show nine goal victory, Everton had kept clean sheets in four of their last six games, taking 14 points from a possible 18.
Whether Martinez is ready to admit it or not, The Toffees are a much stronger, more resolute side with Koeman at the helm.