Everton boss Sean Dyche said he was shocked by the “unjust” 10-point penalty deduction that plunged his side into the Premier League relegation zone.
Dyche’s club were hit with the bombshell sanction last week after they exceeded losses permitted under the Premier League’s financial rules.
The unprecedented punishment, the biggest points penalty in Premier League history, leaves Everton 19th in the table and two points from safety.
Everton have announced their intention to appeal and, in his first public comments since the verdict, Dyche said the deduction was harsh.
“I think like everyone in these parts, we’re shocked. Seemingly the wave of noise after that, it seemed like most people in football, around football are shocked,” Dyche told reporters on Friday.
“The enormity of it, disproportionate is a word that has been used by the club, so obviously we’re going to feel a bit aggrieved by that.”
The Premier League referred Everton, who have posted losses for five consecutive years, to an independent commission in March for the breach of its profitability and sustainability rules.
Clubs are allowed to lose a maximum £105 million ($132 million) over a three-year period but Everton exceeded that by £19.5 million in the three seasons ending in 2021/22.
After saving Everton from relegation last season, Dyche had hoped to oversee a rise to mid-table respectability for the serial underachievers this term.
They had made good progress towards that ambition, winning three of their past five leagues games prior to the deduction.
Dyche, whose side host Manchester United on Sunday, vowed the penalty would not derail his mission to revive Everton.
“The focus since I got here has been sorting things out on the pitch, getting the team to win, getting the team to feel different, the performances to be different,” he said.
“We were obviously on the right lines for that and delivering strong performances I felt. This has just given us a push backwards to then come forwards again.
“The job hasn’t changed for me. It’s just made it a bit more difficult in the current circumstances until the appeal of course.”
Everton fans were expected to protest against the verdict by marching to Premier League headquarters on Friday evening.
And, while they await news of the appeal, Dyche is confident Everton’s squad have the character to cope with the blow.
“It changes the viewpoint but it doesn’t change what we’re doing,” he said. “In fact it enhances what we’re doing. It just means we’ve got to go harder for longer and stronger,” he said.
“It’s been more about refocus than anything. The group have been very good in themselves I must say… all the senior boys particularly rallying saying ‘It is what it is, let’s get on with it’ type thing.
“So I think that’s been the clear message from me to the players and from them to each other — let’s take on the next challenge.” [AFP]