Sean Dyche is expected to be appointed as Everton’s manager on Friday; Marcelo Bielsa also held talks with the Toffees board after he was seen in London on Thursday; the Everton hierarchy wanted Frank Lampard’s successor to be appointed by Friday
Sean Dyche is expected to be appointed as Everton’s manager on Friday – but how has he become the frontrunner for the Goodison Park job?
Former Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa and Dyche both held talks with the club on Thursday, with the former spotted in London for negotiations with the Everton board.
The Everton hierarchy felt Dyche could hit the ground running, already knowing several several players well, including former Burnley players Michael Keane and James Tarkowski, and it is thought the stability those relationships would bring was a deciding factor.
Everton sit 19th in the division and look set to be batting against relegation come May for a second successive season. Hence, Dyche’s track record of securing top-flight status with limited, or pre-existing resources, appears to be a sensible plan.
Dyche took charge at Turf Moor in 2012 and lifted the Clarets from mid-table in the Championship to securing Premier League status in his first full season at the helm.
He proceeded to sustain top-flight status in five of the following seven campaigns on a limited budget with a reserved style of play, focused heavily on winning aerials, launching long passes, intense running, carving attempts at goal from set-pieces and crosses, and keeping clean sheets.
This was primarily achieved with a traditional 4-4-2 formation, with the two forwards helping to regain possession up top and in the middle third.
Speaking on Monday Night Football in October, Dyche said: “What I’ve learned down the years is: why fight the box you’re put in?
“A 4-4-2, pretty direct, defensive football. On the positive side, hard-working, strong team ethic, strong feel, good coach.
“I don’t mind it being that. Whatever job I get, if I get one, I want the fans to know they’ve got a team that is going to give everything, that they’ve got a team that is going to work, the team is going to have a heart.
“That won’t change – definitely not. What I do is look at the technical understanding of the team, the tactical understanding of the team, what their background is, where they’ve been and what has been their influences.
“You have to piece that together and start moulding that into a team. That’s how I personally view how football should work within a team. If you get that right, the rest will work out for itself.”
Indeed, former club captain Ashley Westwood told us in 2021: “We’ve always [run a lot] – that’s the main thing here. We always have to outwork teams. If you don’t, you don’t usually win the game.
“We’ve always pressed teams high up. The front two do it and do a brilliant job… More teams are trying to play out from the back now and it gives us a chance to press them high.”
The style was unique and effective for five successive campaigns, which included a seventh-placed finish in 2017/18.
The graphic below reveals the stark contrast of Burnley’s style under Dyche compared with other ever-present Premier League sides during a six-season timeframe – with the Clarets recording league-low figures across a raft of possession-based and attacking metrics.
Given Everton’s current predicament, Dyche will certainly have a squad of players capable of pressing and defending resolutely, while he will be looking to improve accuracy in front of goal and capitalise on limited, but clearer opportunities, by utilising aerial abilities within the ranks.
Everton’s next six fixtures
February 4 – Arsenal (H), kick-off 12.30pm
February 13 – Liverpool (A), kick-off 8pm
February 18 – Leeds (H), kick-off 3pm
February 25 – Aston Villa (H), kick-off 3pm
March 5 – Nottingham Forest (A), kick-off 2pm
March 11 – Brentford (H), kick-off 3pm