By Kevin Harper
Everton manager Sam Allardyce has defended the substitution which saw him bring on Morgan Schneiderlin for Idrissa Gueye against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.
The switch was met with a chorus of boos from the Goodison Park crowd, who were not impressed that the Senegal international was asked to leave the field in favour of the Frenchman.
Schneiderlin has not endeared himself to the fans of the Merseyside club after he was alleged to be part of a training ground incident with Kevin Mirallas earlier in the season, while many of his Everton performances have been questionable too.
The Toffees were 3-0 up at the time the former England manager made the substitution, and the supporters inside the stadium made their feelings about the move very clear.
It was clearly a reaction that shocked Allardyce, who did not expect to see his decision questioned so strongly and vocally.
Although Everton went on to concede after Schneiderlin came onto the pitch, they still prevailed 3-1, but all the talk after the match was the substitution, to which the Toffees boss gave his reaction to the media.
â€œSurprised, very surprised,â€ he was quoted as saying by the SB Nation website.
â€œIâ€™ve not heard it before. He is a very important part of the squad this year. Lots of players havenâ€™t played to the potential they have.
â€I donâ€™t understand it and I never will, booing your own player. The bottom line is that Gana was feeling his hamstring, and his quad and Cuco was feeling his hamstring as well so I asked Wayne who he thought was feeling better.
â€Gana was struggling a bit so Morgan went on, which was better for us. Had we brought Cuco off, we didnâ€™t have any defenders left on the bench and at 3-1 they couldâ€™ve popped another one in and I think we coped massively well in already losing two defenders today in Mangala and Coleman.â€
The reaction shows the growing tension between the Everton fanbase and Allardyce at Goodison Park, with the style of play becoming a big issue for the paying spectators. It also shows the Toffees fans have not forgiven Schneiderlin for his part in that controversial incident earlier in the season.
Everton now have a fortnight off before their next match, which comes at Watford, and all eyes will be on Vicarage Road to see if the France international makes it onto the pitch at any point, and if he does, what the consensus among the Merseysiders will be.