I CAME away from Goodison feeling that we have well and truly hit the proverbial “wall”.
This was simply not good enough and, of the four successive defeats, the worst performance of all and arguably the worst of the season.
We might argue that if Richardson had scored early on, or if Sessegnon’s thunderbolt had gone in, it might have been a different story, but that is surely clutching at straws.
Although I didn’t think Everton were anything special, they had more determination and we had little by way of invention or urgency.
The defending for the goals was abject. The team seemed to lack balance. If Onuoha was injured, now we have acquired supposedly class midfielders, why not switch Bardsley to right-back and play Richardson at left-back?
There was a promising spell of play between Everton’s two goals where I thought we might produce something, but it petered out. I expected us to come out with all guns blazing in the second half, but our tempo never picked up.
Why was Malbranque not introduced earlier? Why does Elmo not seem to have the confidence or willingness to take his man on and get to the byline?
Henderson and Muntari both looked heavy-legged and increasingly ineffective.
Four successive defeats could easily become five, six or seven and we must be extremely grateful we have 37 points already.
For all the frustrations and desire to arrest the run of defeats, however, I hope Steve does not rush any of the injured players back before they are fully ready. That would be irresponsible.
To read the rest of the Jury, please see tonight’s Sunderland Echo.