After overseeing Everton’s win against Bournemouth that prolonged the club’s 69-year English top-flight stay, manager Sean Dyche said the final day of the season was horrible and the Merseyside club must refocus to oversee lasting change.
The nine-time top division champions needed Abdoulaye Doucoure’s second-half thunderbolt on Sunday to earn a 1-0 victory that kept Everton in the Premier League by two points, while Leicester City were relegated.
It is the second season in a row that Everton have preserved their top-flight status by the skin of their teeth, and Dyche predicted a long hard path for the club if they are to ensure they do not end up in the same predicament next term.
“Horrible day for all concerned apart from getting the job done,” Dyche said. “This was the main job. We had to get it sorted out and over the line. That was the key focus. Now we must refocus on the rest of it.
“The underlying bigger news since me being here has been negative, so it’s been difficult to do that but the overriding feeling is we shouldn’t be here. Enjoy it, but things have got to change. This was a big step to make sure we secure it.
“Work on next season started the day I got here. Don’t think this is an easy fix. There is massive work to be done.
“It’s a big club, but it’s not currently at the top end of the market. We’re not performing like a big club. It’s been like this for two seasons now. This is a bigger project.”
Dyche also highlighted how light his squad is in terms of depth, but is not anticipating having lots of money to spend to rectify that problem this close season.
“I know the industry,” Dyche added. “I’ve been in football all my life, so I know what I’m doing. This is going to be a work in progress, and I think Everton fans understand that.
“We’ve got to recruit wisely and recruit players who understand this club. I’ve learned that. We need that mixture of a heartbeat and talent.
“There has to be a reality as we’re not going to get that (a summer war chest) as we’re building a beautiful new stadium. The heartbeat of the football club is needed. It’s beating a little bit stronger.”