League is clearly a priority for Blues manager
Tuesday night was such a wasted opportunity for Everton.
Call me old-fashioned, but why didn’t Roberto Martinez just field a strong side to go out and win the game?
He could have worried about the next game after his side had put their name in the hat for the draw.
But no. Straight away, Martinez has signified Premier League placing is by far the priority for Everton this season.
By making eight changes, it was almost giving the impression that the Spaniard wasn’t overly fussed with the Capital One Cup.
Certainly, not as fussed as the 3,000 fans who made the long trip down to London in midweek.
It has its critics, but at the end of the day the League Cup has the promise of silverware, a day out at Wembley and a European place.
Hey, I’m pretty sure if you reach the final of the League Cup, you make more money than you would from a lengthy run in the Europa League.
I know teams have big squads these days, everybody needs game time and Everton have a stronger group than they have had in many years.
But they only started the season on August 17, so don’t tell me any players are tired. I don’t buy that at all.
Fulham hadn’t won at home since April. So why didn’t Everton just go for it?
They could always have taken off players if the tie was going well.
Perhaps Everton’s strength in depth isn’t quite as much as Martinez believed.
Last Saturday’s win at West Ham United was such a good result, and Martinez did brilliantly by recognising what was going wrong, making the right substitutions and going for the win.
But having been on such a high, they are now out of a competition they could have realistically done well in by virtue of making eight changes. On September 24.
Martinez made a point afterwards of how well they did in the first half, but the bottom line is Everton lost.
Leighton Baines was brilliant at Upton Park. There’s no other word for it. And with Manchester United still sniffing around, why are Everton giving the impression they are waiting to give the left-back a new contract?
It seems slightly odd.
Baines stayed loyal to Everton in the summer and has been the most consistent player for two to three years.
So why run the risk of annoying him by not giving him a new contract? Baines comes across as a great pro, so why not look after him?
One player who emerged with credit at Fulham was John Stones.
Many clubs looked at him last season.
There were three right-backs in the Championship interesting Premier League sides, and he was one of them.
I think he is a player. David Moyes said he thinks he’s going to be a success. And perhaps he could become another Phil Jagielka, and even be more comfortable on the ball than him.
Stones played well in an Everton team that boasted seven other changes. He’ll be even better once he is surrounded by regular first-teamers.