April 19, 2024

Following the regrettable 3-0 loss at home to Manchester United, Paul Ince cautioned the team not to fall into the trap of using their punishment as a “excuse.” The talkSPORT host answered live on the radio on November 27.

The former England midfielder was speaking from experience as the former manager of Reading when they also had points deducted, urging Sean Dyche and his players to put the situation out of their minds until the result of the appeal has been finalised in light of being on the wrong end of a tough result despite playing well.

Ince said (5m 25s): “As bad as it is for the Evertonians, and it is bad, I live up near Merseyside in the Wirral so I get it from Everton fans and I get it from Liverpool fans and they’re both fantastic sets of fans, but it gets to a stage where you can’t keep using that as an excuse if you’re not winning games and you’re not playing well.

“I get it now, the game the other day, Man United had three shots and scores three goals so it was a game that Sean Dyche would have felt he maybe could have won.

“But until we understand if it’s going to stay as 10-points or if it’s going to be reduced to six-points you can’t keep using that as an excuse when they’re losing games.”

White added: “Evertonians will say it’s wrong, of course they well, they’ll jump on it and say that it’s wrong, but they’ve got to live with it.

“We don’t know the ins and outs, for sure, whether it’s right, wrong, or not.”

Karl Robinson accepted: “They’ve got no choice now… I think there’s other clubs in our Premier League that’s done just as bad.”


Firm but fair

It sounds harsh but that is ultimately the right attitude because for all the injustice that is felt around the club they clearly aren’t going to get any leeway at the end of the season when the table is set.

Dyche and his players absolutely need to harness whatever motivation they can gain from the us-against-the-world feeling they have, and the fury of the fans behind them.

But they still need to be just as upset with themselves when they miss out on points on the pitch and prepared to rectify the situation at the earliest opportunity.

The United defeat highlighted how there are no moral victories on offer as a strong home performance where Everton were arguably the better side amid the protest at their circumstances ended up with a heavy defeat despite not doing a huge amount wrong.

Although Ashley Young’s carelessness and poor finishing against the Toffees can be blamed, the game is over and, in Roy Keane’s words, the main emphasis now is a “huge, huge” Nottingham Forest match.

The team can use the off-field situation to their advantage as long as they remain professional and don’t let it negatively affect them. Most players also think they have enough talent to move back up the ladder. However, Ince is obviously familiar with similar situations, so his advice is probably sound.

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