Neville wants more from sorry Toffees
Published 16/08/2010 | 05:00
So much for all the hype. Everton's fans filled every available seat for Ewood Park within two hours of tickets going on sale, buoyed by the talk of their club's supposed ability to break into the top four this season.
How disappointed they will have felt after this performance and how foolish the likes of Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson look after singing the praises of David Moyes and suggesting Everton could be genuine Premier League contenders.
Nothing could be further from the truth on this evidence as Tim Howard's dreadful blunder gifted Blackburn an early goal that Everton never looked like cancelling out. He dropped the ball at the feet of Nikola Kalinic, who did the rest.
"That's probably the first mistake Tim has made maybe since he came to the club," Everton captain Phil Neville said. "He apologised to everyone in the dressing-room but I don't think anyone is blaming him.
"We wanted a big squad, we wanted two players for every position, and with that comes expectation. Now we have to show our mettle and this will show whether we have what it takes to get into that top four."
Although chances were few and far between, the manner in which the likes of Gael Givet, Phil Jones and Michel Salgado threw themselves around underlined that what Rovers lack in grace they more than make up for in commitment.
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce did not spend too much time worrying about his team's lack of inventive flair, preferring to praise Kalinic for taking the one real chance he got.
"Niko showed why we bought him with a great finish after a mistake by the goalkeeper," he said. "So we are very pleased that we have taken three points off a team who did the double over us last season."