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Following a summer of heavy spending and raised expectations, Everton have endured an underwhelming start to the new campaign, leading Peter Reid to question whether they are capable of battling their way out of trouble.

Now a coach at Wigan Athletic, Reid amassed 228 appearances for the Toffees during a hugely successful six-year period, in which the Englishman helped the club win league titles in 1985 and 1987, the FA Cup in 1984, as well as the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1985.

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There were hopes that Ronald Koeman’s new-look side would be able to challenge for the domestic cups this season and perhaps gatecrash the top four, however, seven points from their opening seven fixtures have left Everton in 16th place, just two points ahead of the drop zone, much to Reid’s frustration.

“I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” the former England international told the Daily Telegraph.

“The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can. The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate.

“For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.”

The loss of star striker Romelu Lukaku to Manchester for £75 million during the transfer window has hit Everton hard, with the Toffees managing to find the back of the net on just four occasions, so far.

“I think it was a mistake not getting a striker,” Reid added.

“They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one.

“It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.”

The Toffees, who suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Burnley prior to the international break, will be looking to get back to winning ways this Sunday when they travel to newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion and Reid has urged the players to show some desire if they are to go home with the three points.

“I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” the 61-year-old said.

“You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. This is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.”