Has any manager’s stock fallen quite as sharply as Everton’s Marco Silva?
Heading into this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures, the Toffees lie all the way down in 17th place in the table, with recent defeats to Brighton, Burnley and Sheffield United still fresh in the memory of their fans.
While the likes of Unai Emery, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Mauricio Pochettino have all faltered so far this season, it’s Silva who’s the favourite among bookies to be sacked next.
It’s perhaps hard to believe where his career has taken him.
When he arrived in England in January 2017 to take Mike Phelan’s place at Hull, he was very much an unknown.
Young, exciting, handsome, and with an interesting CV which included title wins in Portugal and Greece, Silva was tasked with simply steadying the Tigers’ ship as they came to terms with their inevitable relegation.
But in the ensuing months, he very nearly did the impossible by picking up six wins between January and April – including a 2-0 triumph over Liverpool – to narrowly miss out on guiding Hull to Premier League safety.
His remarkable run included a win over Man United in the EFL Cup, as well as turning Hull’s KCOM Stadium into a fortress by overseeing a seven-game unbeaten record at home before defeat to Sunderland towards the end of the campaign..
Comparisons to Jose Mourinho were quickly thrown around by the press, which is something that unfortunately comes with being a young Portuguese manager in England, built up by his success in his homeland with Estoril and Sporting Lisbon.
The hype surrounding him became the talk of English football and he suddenly became one of the Premier League’s most sought after managers.
Arsenal were linked with him and Crystal Palace were said to be very keen, but it was Watford who ultimately took his fancy.
Then it was only a handful of months later that he took the helm at Everton – his third job in England in less than two years – and he looked every bit the part.
Prior to his appointment, Pajtim Kasami – who played under Silva at Olympiakos – spoke very highly of him in an interview with Sky Sports, saying: “He is very intelligent tactically. He is like a genius.
“He takes the time to get to know his players and he is very straightforward with you. He deals with everyone the same and you know that if you do well in training then you will get the chance to play.
“That is what I like about him. He doesn’t worry whether you are a star or whether you are a smaller name, everyone gets their fair chances.”
Indeed, there were moments last season where Silva looked more than capable of leading Everton beyond the mythical top six – a position they’ve been battling with since the days of David Moyes.
A fine end to the 2018/19 campaign – which included five wins and six clean-sheets in their final eight fixtures – was highlighted by impressive wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and the 4-0 drubbing of Man United, Everton’s biggest win over United in 35 years.
Losing Idrissa Gueye and Kurt Zouma in the summer was certainly a blow, but things looked positive for the Toffees heading into this season.
Gylfi Sigurdsson remained one of the league’s most naturally gifted playmakers, Michael Keane was making progress, and the summer signing of Italian wonderkid Moise Kean was looked on with jealousy by many of Europe’s top sides.
But the season has been a sticky mess for Silva’s Toffees.
Five defeats in their last six Premier League matches sees them among the relegation places – far from where they’d expect to be.
Silva’s time in the Premier League looks just about done, from unknown hero to just another Everton manager on the ropes; gone the same way as Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce before him.
Anything less than a win at fellow-strugglers Southampton this weekend will likely seal his fate, and it’ll be hard to see where he’ll end up next.
A surprising fall from grace for one of the Prem’s brightest managerial talents; he burned brightly, but far too quickly.
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