'No-one cared about Everton' - Sean Dyche gives blunt verdict on Premier League relegation battle

LUTON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Rob Edwards, Manager of Luton Town, and Sean Dyche, Manager of Everton, interact prior to the Premier League match between Luton Town and Everton FC at Kenilworth Road on May 03, 2024 in Luton, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Sean Dyche said he had no preference who wins the fight for Premier League survival before adding: “No-one cared about Everton.”

The Blues boss declined the opportunity to experiment at Luton Town on Friday after last week’s hat-trick of wins lifted the club to safety with three games to spare. Instead he strengthened his line-up for the trip to Kenilworth Road, bringing in Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take on a side battling against the drop.

And despite ties with other strugglers Nottingham Forest and Burnley, he was clear this stemmed from a belief those clubs had to look after themselves and not for favours from elsewhere.

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The survival push provided Dyche with the chance to try something different at Luton, but with Beto back available and Youssef Chermiti having impressed last week, it was still Calvert-Lewin who got the nod. Lewis Dobbin stayed on the bench and fellow youngster Lewis Warrington travelled with the team but was not included as the manager approached this game looking for another win - saying after the match that he was “greedy”.

Asked after the final whistle whether he had a preference over who stayed up, Dyche said: “No-one cared about us at Everton when we were down there last season, so they will have to fight it out. We had to fight it out last season and take care of ourselves, all the clubs will have to fight it out. We took care of ourselves again this season with many challenges and I am very proud of that, but it is not for choosing ifs, buts and maybes and sides - I have been down there myself and you have to take care of yourself. No-one gives you anything, they have all got to fight it out and see who gets the job done.”

His comments came after a hard-fought point against Luton. Everton seized control of the game during the first half and took the lead when Calvert-Lewin converted a penalty after Jarrad Branthwaite was hauled down in the box. But Elijah Adebayo equalised seven minutes later and set up a second half in which Luton pushed for the win but were unable to find it. Calvert-Lewin and Jack Harrison came close during rare Blues attacks. But the final 45 minutes saw the hosts push for a winner - almost getting it when a flurry of chances in stoppage time were blocked by the bodies of Everton stars.

Dyche was frustrated his side conceded control of the match. But that resilience at the end - and the desire to fight for a point in a game that had little meaning for them- pleased him immensely. He explained: “A lot of people remarked in the past that games like that go against the side and I think we have shown this season it doesn’t always. I think we are building on that - the mentality side of it. I have mentioned it a lot since I have been here and I think it is important and valid and I think that was on show tonight.

“The balance is the challenge, the balance between defending well and defending hard as we did but then finding that balance to go and cause trouble at the other end. I thought we were slightly off tonight but the mentality of the side I think has grown hugely over the season and that has been shown. I hark back to an ugly night but even since then the response in that and the belief in the side to deliver has been outstanding.”