(Reuters) – Everton were shocked by the “enormity” of their points deduction punishment for breaching Premier Leagues profitability and sustainability rules, manager Sean Dyche said on Friday.
Dyche’s team, who host Manchester United on Sunday, were docked 10 points and dropped from 14th in the standings into the relegation zone on four points, above bottom side Burnley on goal difference.
“I think like everyone in these parts is, we’re shocked,” Dyche told reporters. “Seemingly, the wave of noise after that was most people in football were shocked.”
“The enormity of it. Disproportionate is a word that has been used by the club,” Dyche said.
“Obviously, we’re going to feel aggrieved by that. On the other hand it doesn’t change the focus,” the manager said. “The focus since I’ve been here has been about sorting things out on the pitch.”
Dyche mentioned that senior players like Seamus Coleman, Ashley Young, James Tarkowski and Jordan Pickford have been positive voices in rallying the team.
“This has given us a push backwards to come forwards again,” he said. “The job hasn’t changed for me. It’s obviously made it a bit more difficult until the appeal of course.
“I spoke to the group and said ‘Look, the league table is a thing’. I’ve always believed the final league table is the truth of the season. It changes the viewpoint but it doesn’t change what we’re doing. We’ve just got to go harder for longer and stronger.”
Everton are unbeaten in four of their last five games.
United have won four of their last five matches to climb to sixth in the standings on 21 points.
(Reporting by Lori Ewing, editing by Ed Osmond)