Toffee Talk

Overall, Euros were a let-down but Portugal showed their grit

Portugal were not the best quality team at Euro 2016. But their success in the tournament was rooted in important fundamentals. The team demonstrated spirit, ambition and character and there was togetherness as a group and a close relationship with the fans.

In good times, it's not so difficult. But in not so good times, you have to be as one. You have to show real strength of character and you have to stay together. Portugal achieved their first triumph in a major tournament because, even though they did not hit the heights, they showed all of these other qualities.

I didn't really enjoy the tournament because it was not the type of football that I like to play. It was more a "waiting" kind of football, more defending.

Maybe one or two teams, Germany and possibly France, showed some really offensive football. Most of the teams played not to lose. They did not play to win the game and that makes it not so enjoyable.

TOP-CLASS HIT-MAN MISSING


PHOTO COURTESY OF EVERTON FC

Probably what the tournament lacked most of all was a striker in outstanding form. There were very good strikers but no one who proved unstoppable. Antoine Griezmann was top scorer and I would have picked him to play in the role behind the main striker in my team of the tournament, with Ronaldo in the centre-forward role.

We have time to talk, time for meetings and it's a good opportunity for me to get to know the players, especially the young ones, and to know their character. Around the training sessions, you have time to have a coffee with them and it's important to have this time.

The Portugal captain scored a magnificent goal with his back-heel flick against Hungary in the 3-3 group-stage draw but an injury early in the final prevented him from producing the same again on the biggest stage. Euro 2016 was not great for centre-forwards.

England, I believe, should have done better, along with Spain. Both were disappointing. They have good players, so as teams they should have progressed deeper in the tournament and performed better, too. This was a really disappointing aspect of the tournament for me.

Currently, I am in Austria having my first pre-season as Everton manager. We are in a good place, the food is fine and the weather is not quite what we expected - the rain has made it more like Liverpool weather! But the temperature is really good to train in, the pitch is perfect and the lads are working really hard. It's going well and I'm happy with the spirit the lads are showing so far.

It's always good to get away and to be together so we can get to know one another. We have time to talk, time for meetings and it's a good opportunity for me to get to know the players, especially the young ones, and to know their character. Around the training sessions, you have time to have a coffee with them and it's important to have this time.

I decided to change the date for starting our pre-season which was planned for July 7. We changed it to July 4 because I think the best pre-season is five or six weeks of planning. After a long holiday, the lads need to work and to get back fit to play football and their response has been good.

Always in pre-season the main aim is to get physically fit again after the summer. Also, with a new technical staff, we need to show them how we will work together.

We will look at the organising of training sessions, we will have some good friendly matches and it's all about preparing the team for the first Premier League game against Tottenham at Goodison Park on Aug 13.

A SETTLED TEAM

My brother, Erwin, has come with me as assistant manager and, obviously, I am full of confidence with him. The physical part of football is so important now and, with knowing Jan Kluitenberg for a long time now, it's very good to have him here also.

Patrick Lodewijks, whom I have known a long time as well and brought in from Feyenoord, is one of the best goalkeeping coaches that we could have at Everton and I'm also very pleased that Duncan Ferguson is the other member of our technical staff.

I like to have somebody in the club who is really an Evertonian, with a big history in the club and with all his goals. He knows Everton and this will be important going forward.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 17, 2016, with the headline 'Overall, Euros were a let-down but Portugal showed their grit'. Print Edition | Subscribe