After their shock defeat to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, Everton’s UEFA Champions League dreams now hanging in the balance with four games of the Premier League season to go.
Crystal Palace raced into a shock 2-0 lead and despite the Toffees’ best efforts, Roberto Martinez’s side saw their run of seven-straight league wins come to an abrupt end.
Now they are outside the top four by one point and one place, as they’ve handed Arsenal the initiative to clinch the final UCL spot. The Gunners are unlikely to give up a chance like this, as they have a much easier run in with Hull, Newcastle, West Brom and Norwich to play.
With four games to go Everton still has a chance, but speaking to reporters after the game Martinez couldn’t hide his disappointment after a poor display.
“It’s a real disappointment, a result which is hurtful. The first half we were fearful, the way we conceded the first goal shows that,” Martinez said bluntly. “They didn’t have the threat to score three goals. We conceded bad goals. But we get ready for the next four games. We wanted to win so much that we stopped being ourselves and that is what we have to learn from. We will try and get as many points as we can, it doesn’t change anything. We have had a magnificent season and we have incredible potential in this squad.”
The Spanish manager is correct, even if Everton do succumb to a poor finish and don’t make the top four, they have exceeded everyone’s expectations this campaign. That being said, to come this close and have their destiny in their own hands but then throw it away, that hurts.
Everton have to regroup, quickly, as Manchester United head to Goodison Park on Sunday, then they play Southampton, Manchester City and Hull. The Toffees should not give up. Yet defeat at home to Crystal Palace, reinforced by a nervy and error strewn display, will leave a sour taste in the mouths of most Evertonians for the next few days, at least.