Matt Ritchie has insisted that this group of players aren’t ‘good enough’ to deliver consistent top half finishes – urging the club to sign ‘top players’ over the summer to help us keep Benitez and kick on.
This may seem a little harsh from Ritchie, and some may disagree given last season’s 10th place side has been upgraded following the arrivals of Dubravka, Schar, Almiron, Rondon and emergence of Longstaff, but last weekend’s result at West Ham was perhaps a reminder of where we’re at.
Here’s what Ritchie’s had to say about our current squad during his chat with the Mirror, insisting that last season’s finish was a result of us completely maximising our potential:
“Is this group good enough to finish top 10 every season? No.
“We have to improve.
“Yes, the fans want top, top players. Players want top players. But there has to be credit and respect for this group we had now.
“We finished 10th last year. We maximised our potential last year, as players, individuals and as a team. We finished tenth for a reason. We deserved it. It raised expectations.
“The whole club is a team, everyone deserved credit.”
Several clubs are now spending big money every summer and the list of top 10 contenders is growing season upon season, with Wolves, Watford, Leicester, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth joining Everton as capable sides pushing to finish in the highest place possible outside the big six.
We have the core of a very decent side, with Dubravka, our three centre-backs, our improved midfield options and our ‘three amigos’ in attack, but there’s several areas that need serious investment.
Take note Mike – investment and ambition is essential if you plan to behind Benitez’s vision for this club.