Saturday 26 May 2018

Sam Allardyce believes his tactical switch proved decisive in Everton's victory over Huddersfield

Everton manager Sam Allardyce
Everton manager Sam Allardyce

Simon Hughes

Sam Allardyce is back. A 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town, with both goals coming only after he intervened at half-time by making what he saw as a defining tactical switch.

To listen to Allardyce was to listen to a manager very happy indeed with the significance of his own decisions.

“Gylfi [Sigurdsson] and Aaron [Lennon] were spending too much time on top of our full backs,” he explained. “They were chasing back too often. I wanted them further forward and in little pockets of space, to help us get up the pitch. And that’s where our first goal came from.”

It took less than two minutes for Allardyce’s guidance to have an impact. Everton were poor as they have been at home this season before but Sigurdsson’s goal transformed the mood. Subsequently, Huddersfield were forced into pushing further forward themselves and this afforded Everton – Wayne Rooney in particular – with necessary the space to extend their lead via Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Allardyce was satisfied by Everton’s resilience out of possession but not so in possession. Ultimately, their carelessness did not prove to be costly because Huddersfield did not have the confidence to punish them.

Their manager David Wagner later spoke about a lack of “trust and confidence in offensive situations”. This came after Allardyce offered some humility. He was greeted well by those Everton supporters inside Goodison Park, despite many claiming his personality and achievements in the game are not suitable for a club of this standing.

“I have chosen to take this football club,” Allardyce said. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. The history of the club and the people I know in an around the club and who have played for it, I knew how good it was so I have to live up to that standard and try and get them back to where they were last season. I will try my very best to do that. I don’t know how long it will take.”

It had taken Allardyce six games to win at his last club Crystal Palace. At Everton he has done it in one. Despite what his critics might think, he believes Everton is the right club for him.

“Everyone was telling me I was coming back too soon and I was not the man I used to be [at Palace],” he continued. “If I take the job, it is because I am 100 percent committed. I turned down many a job. I felt this job to be right for me. It is a dream job for me. Back to back wins for the first time this season, let’s hope it is onwards and upwards.”

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