Dyche Reacts To Cup Defeat

Sean Dyche believes Everton once again found themselves on the wrong side of a VAR call at a crucial movement in the build-up to Luton’s opening goal - but stated that doesn’t excuse the disappointing nature of his team’s display in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat. 

The Blues fell behind five minutes before half-time in the FA Cup fourth round tie at Goodison Park when Vitalii Mykolenko’s attempted headed clearance from a corner ricocheted past Joao Virginia. 

It was a controversial opener, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin seemingly pushed in the back by Ross Barkley as the cross came in. Yet despite the appeals from Everton players, and a VAR review, the goal stood. 

Dyche’s men improved in the second half and drew level shortly after the restart through Jack Harrison’s long-distance strike, but ultimately fell to defeat when Luton’s Cauley Woodrow poked the ball home following a scramble from another corner deep into second-half stoppage-time. 

“It’s disappointing and awkward when it is the last kick of the game because there is no time to react,” said Dyche reacting to the defeat with evertontv. “Very unfortunate the way it actually goes in because Arnie (Danjuma) is doing his job on the line, he knocks it out and it hits their lad then rebounds and all the rest of it. But we didn’t need to put ourselves in that situation I didn’t feel. 

“The first goal, I have to mention VAR again - I don't know what is going on with it. Calvert-Lewin has two hands in his back, everyone will argue it’s not a big push, but the fact is we see penalties given if you get a touch on the shoulder. For me, that was a foul and I thought strongly it’d be turned over. We can’t seem to get on the right side of VAR at the moment. 

“But I don’t want to harp on about that, I don’t think we were as good as we can be. It was an ugly, tight game. Second half I thought we were stronger, and put more of a performance on that looked worthy of winning a game without finding the clear moments - the real true moments. Then two set-pieces go against us, which is unlike us, and unfortunately, strangely, it’s happened against this side again this season.”

For Saturday’s contest, Dyche made a slight change to the team’s usual shape with Beto starting alongside Calvert-Lewin to form a front two. The Everton boss admitted that was in part due to the long list of injuries at the Club, with several key players currently sidelined. 

However, he also explained how he believed the game was an opportunity for fringe players to leave their mark on the side, explaining: “People know we are stretched, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that.

“On the other hand, I want these players to grip their chance, and say, ‘That’s it, I am playing and I am ready’. We have done that many times this season, with people coming off the bench and affecting it. 

“Today was a maybe, maybe they might grip it, maybe they might affect it. I think the expectation here today got to us a little bit in the first half – not so much in the second half. I said to the players: ‘That’s what we’ve got to grow with, this is Everton Football Club’. 

“We’ve all got to grow with expectation as it rises and there’s clearly a different expectation. The last game against Palace; this game – the mood of the crowd was completely different, so we’ve got to give that crowd that expectation, and deliver.”