By 90Min
April 03, 2018

It was a phrase that proved to grate on plenty of Evertonians after they had witnessed their side's meek surrender to champions-elect Manchester City last Saturday.

The Toffees have been turned over emphatically by Pep Guardiola's Premier League leaders at Goodison Park, and the 3-1 scoreline didn't truly reflect just how dominant the visitors were.

More than the performance, though, one particular line that was used by Sam Allardyce and his players after the contest drew widespread condemnation and droll humour from Everton's suffering fanbase.

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

"We won the second half" - or words akin to that sentence - were used by Allardyce and first-team stars Leighton Baines and Yannick Bolasie as they spoke about how difficult it had been to take City on in any capacity.

Nobody denied - before or after - that City's slickers would provide a huge test for the Blues when they rolled down the M62. After all, this is a side that has brushed almost everyone aside with ease over the past eight months.

But the manner in which Everton simply rolled over for them was frustrating enough without a tired cliche being trotted out after the game had ended.

Everton's players were left chasing shadows for the entire 90-minute encounter against Guardiola's men, who are now only one win away from landing the title for the third time in eight seasons.

It was effectively game over once Gabriel Jesus notched his team's second within the opening 15 minutes, and damage limitation was always going to be the way that Allardyce set his troops up before and during an eye-opening clash.

But you don't win points for 'winning' a half of football. You don't earn plaudits for scoring one and not conceding once during a 45-minute period. You won't be exonerated of blame for a truly insipid team performance by claiming that you kept out a goal-laden sparkling side after the interval.

It smacks of defeatism. It flies in the face of Evertonians who watched a similar group of players humble City 4-0 on home soil 14 months ago. It derides the very motto that this club has been known for throughout its history.

True, Everton were caught between a rock and a hard place. Harry City and they'd run rings around you, find the space and exploit it. Stand off them and you let them dictate the tempo of the game and wait for their moment to strike.

(You may also be interested in Incredible Stat Displaying Fernandinho's Dominance Emerges After Man City's Win at Everton)

There's no excuse for no hard work, however, and there mustn't be excuses along the lines of 'well we won one half of football, so well done lads, pat yourselves on the back'.

Our motto says 'nothing but the best is good enough'. And no buzz words about winning the second half shouldn't, and won't change that.

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