Sam Allardyce’s back-to-basics plan has lost its way at Everton and the manager has urged the players to refocus to avoid a slide back into relegation trouble.
The 1-1 draw with second-bottom West Brom at Goodison Park, marred by James McCarthy’s horrific double fracture of his right leg, saw the Toffees claim their first point since Boxing Day but it extended their winless run to six matches in all competitions.
Allardyce’s early success in taking 12 points from his first six league matches in a month from late November already seems a long time ago and Everton have now gone five games without a clean sheet.
Fans who were sceptical about his appointment voiced their frustration at the end of each half and the Everton boss could not disagree with them.
“That has stopped the run of defeats but it wasn’t very pretty,” he said.
“For me it was very disappointing – as it was for all and the fans showed their disapproval at the end.
“The boo at the end was well deserved by everyone – and the boo at half-time.
“The performance was well under par from what we expect but that is for us to speak to the players about and for the players to take more responsibility on.
“The first (West Brom’s) goal I think an under-11 team could have scored it against us it was that poor.
“We’ve lost the focus of the basics of how you play in and out of possession and I think we were a little fearful of ourselves.”