February 24, 2024

At their pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon at their Finch Farm training base in Halewood, Everton manager Sean Dyche was questioned about all the hot topics surrounding the club. The Blues boss will be looking to extend his team’s unbeaten run to four games as they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Here are some of the most important quotes from Dyche’s briefing, along with fitness reports on players like Amadou Onana and Seamus Coleman.

Override of referee

Everton benefited from VAR in their most recent game when captain Lewis of Brighton & Hove Albion’s equalizer was rightly given the advantage for offside. However, there are still many issues to discuss and, despite Dyche’s insistence that he supports the use of the technology, there have been some high-profile controversies surrounding it in the past week. It’s a difficult decision, in the opinion of the 52-year-old. It’s not simple for the governing bodies or the referees either, but they are adjusting it, changing it, and trying to support new officials and growth in the officials and how they can integrate into the Premier League.

Everton manager Sean Dyche previews the trip to Crystal Palace

“I’ve said for many years, the three highest demands on a matchday are the two managers and the referee. Within that, I think there are just some things that are common sense that could be better and quicker.

“I think that’s where we get a little bit lost in it as managers, coaches and players – and I think the fans as well. I am still a fan of it, I’ve got to be honest because the margins are tight and they’re very, very important – it’s top level sport with top level outcomes – that can financially make a massive difference in football from big, important decisions.

“There’s always a rule for a rule and there seems to be a rule for every VAR situation. You could take all that away and put more strength in the VAR people.

“Look, we’ve had two this season, you know what they are. They were massive decisions that were clearly obvious to everyone in the stadium that didn’t get corrected because of a certain reason why they’re not allowed to correct them.

“For me there should be an override. If it’s a bad decision, it’s a bad decision – end of.

“You don’t need a rule to decide on a bad decision, you should just go ‘right, that’s it, it’s a bad decision’ and change it. It’s not as easy as I’m suggesting, I’m sure of that because everyone will have a different view but I think there’s a more common sense way it can work and I think they are trying to find that.”

Talking tactics with Dele

More details regarding his recent tactical talks with Dele were provided by Dyche, who also conceded that the midfielder is still a long way from being prepared to return to the field. “He still has a ways to go,” he remarked. I wanted to make an effort to involve him.

“I believe that as a person, he is doing well. I appreciate that he takes it all in.

“He’s had some amazing experiences don’t forget – people sometimes do forget that – for still a relatively young player. I was just chatting to him about it because I want to keep him involved in what we’re trying to do as a group because it’s hard when you’re out for that long, it clearly is, and he’s been through a lot in that period as well.”

Dyche added: “It was just a conversation I had with him and he brought something up I thought was really important and shared it with the players. We were having an honest conversation and he described it really well, this idea of direct play, people presuppose that means kicking the ball down the pitch – no it doesn’t – and he was on it straight away.

“He said: ‘I get exactly what you mean. Can you play forwards as a first thought?’

“He said: ‘Maybe the players need a bit more correcting with that?’ So I told the players of the conversation.

“I will try and be open with the players. I want to know their feedback and for them to let us know if they’re not understanding something.

“I’m more than happy for them to question things and ask the whys and wherefores. He did that in a very good manner and I thought it was important to share it and share the belief I have in all the players when they do feedbacks, I do listen.”

Godfrey still good

Dyche also insists Ben Godfrey has a future at Goodison Park after reported interest in the defender from Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. The 25-year-old has made just one Premier League appearance so far this season, coming on as an 89th minute substitute in the 2-2 draw at Sheffield United on September 2.

Asked if Godfrey was still in his plans, the Everton manager said: “Yes, he’s doing terrifically well for us. He’s training very well, he’s staying sharp and ready.

“The hardest thing we’ve had lately is the games programme, to try and keep the players who are not quite playing, starting in the first team, keeping them game-ready. But he looks after himself, he’s a super-fit fella, he’s going along well and he’s ready.

“I think it’s fair to say currently it’s tough. The two centre-halves are both playing very, very well as most people are saying outside of my opinion and decision, I think most people accept that.

“Sometimes as a centre-half, and I was one, it’s tough because you want to play but I think there’s an honesty to most centre-halves when they look at someone and think they are playing well, they know they’ve got to sit tight. I think he does know that, I think he’s a very good player but he’s looking at two centre-halves who are currently on very, very strong form.”

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