Everton’s James Garner admits points deduction is playing on his mind

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:James Garner;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">James Garner</a> in action against Tottenham this month. <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Everton;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Everton</a> are outside the relegation zone on goal difference.</span><span>Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images</span>

James Garner has said Everton’s 10-point deduction is playing on his mind as the club anxiously await the outcome of an appeal against the biggest sporting sanction in Premier League history.

Everton anticipate a decision this week from the independent commission that heard its appeal against a 10-point sanction for breaching profit and sustainability rules by £19.5m up to 2021-22. The manager, Sean Dyche, has called for the uncertainty over the club’s position to be lifted as a matter of urgency, and tried to focus his players on what they can influence since the punishment was handed down in November.

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Garner, however, admits the deduction is proving a distraction. The Everton midfielder said: “Me personally, it plays on my mind. Without the 10-point deduction we would be much higher in the league table so, whenever that comes in, I will be waiting.”

Everton would be 12th in the table but for the points deduction. Instead they are above the relegation zone only on goal difference from Luton, who have played a game fewer, and without a win in eight Premier League matches. There were boos at half-time and full-time at Goodison Park on Monday after an awful display by Dyche’s team in the 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace.







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Garner said: “I can understand the fans’ frustrations but there is so long to go and we need the fans to be supporting us and not booing us. That is important going forward.

“It is a long season and there are a lot of teams down there fighting, but you could see in the last 20 minutes we are still going until the end and creating chances. I understand the frustration because I am frustrated myself. It is another game that got away from us that we should be looking to win.”

Everton have not scored a goal from open play in the Premier League since December and were again reliant on a set-piece to salvage a point against Palace. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal drought extended to 19 games on Monday but Garner admits Everton’s offensive problems are a collective issue.

The midfielder explained: “It is a concern if you are not scoring goals, as goals win games, but it is not just the strikers who we should be relying on to score goals. We can’t just be relying on the strikers to score; we need to be chipping in from all places. But it is a bit of a concern if we are not putting the ball in the back of the net when we should be.”