By Alex Stevens
Gareth Barry has highlighted three areas where standards slipped at Everton last season under former manager Roberto Martinez.
The Spaniard was sacked by the Merseysiders in May after steering the club to an 11th-placed league finish and was subsequently replaced by Ronald Koeman.
The Dutchman has overseen a mini-revival in which Everton have secured an impressive 13 points out of a possible 15 from their opening five matches of the Premier League campaign.
Saturday’s 3-1 win over Middlesbrough was a fourth consecutive league win for Koeman’s side to secure the club’s best start to a season for a decade.
Martinez managed to take Everton to the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup last season, but those runs appear to have papered over the cracks of deeper problems at the club.
Barry – who marked his 600th Premier League appearance with a goal against Boro at the weekend – said that indiscipline had infected the team in Martinez’s final year.
“Everything slipped last season,” he told the Guardian. “Timekeeping, dress codes, training. The confidence and everything had gone and things were maybe going away from what was expected. Confidence had gone on the pitch, results weren’t going the right way and there was a lot of unrest with the fans.
“It is easy for players sometimes to get dragged along with that and all of a sudden they are being dragged along and the standards are slipping. I think you could tell from some of the performances last season that was creeping in.”
Barry made his 600th Premier League appearance on Saturday, a remarkable feat that only Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard have achieved previously.
In other Everton news, the Toffees would beat Norwich in the EFL Cup if three starlets were in this starting XI.