AFTER all the talk of Everton chellenging for a Champions League place after an excellent pre-season, we came crashing down to earth with a bump at Ewood Park.
Blackburn were decidedly average and didn’t show anything to suggest they will be more than a mid-table side this season, which in itself would be a real achievement.
However, the reason Everton lost was not because Blackburn did anything special.
There’s no getting away from the fact the team was disappointing when great things were expected.
Most of us would have selected eight or nine of the players David Moyes went with, plus the same 4-5-1 formation that has served him so well at places like Ewood Park.
But Everton lost because too many of those players had an off day and simply didn’t perform.
Alan Ball always used to say that having one or two players off colour can make life difficult, but three or more and you almost certainly won’t win.
Last week it was probably easier to count the few that didn’t perform badly than those who did.
Saying that, Tim Howard’s clanger came at a point when Everton were looking to get a foothold in the game.
Instead, the confidence was knocked and crucially gave Blackburn something tangible to cling on to.
The most alarming statistic for me was how few chances Everton created. Other than a scuffed Steven Pienaar effort, and a long range shot from Phil Jagieka, Paul Robinson had nothing to do.
Saying that, Howard wasn’t too busy either.
We can play much better than that and will be looking for an instant response against Wolves this afternoon.
Wolves provided two of our most disappointing results of last season - 1-1 at Goodison and 0-0 away.
They had a terrific opening day result against Stoke last weekend and will arrive at Goodison on a high.
Mick McCarthy has been very astute in the transfer market this summer but, for me, the two players to watch were already at the club.
Striker Kevin Doyle looks to have won his fitness battle to be in contention again today, while wide man Matthew Jarvis can cause problems with his pace.