Sean Dyche’s ‘playful slap’ on Nathan Patterson mars Everton training camp

An incident between Sean Dyche and several of Everton’s first team squad has left a blemish on what was intended to be a morale-boosting trip to Portugal.

Everton v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Everton v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Following Everton’s defeat to Manchester United on March 9th, the Blues found themselves with a three week gap between fixtures due to FA Cup commitments and an International break.

Sean Dyche and his team decided to utilise this break by taking the squad away for a mid-season training camp in Portugal in the hopes of finding a solution to their winless run in the Premier League, which has now stretched to eleven games.

However, an incident between the Bues boss and Nathan Patterson has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

On Wednesday evening, the team went for a meal at a restaurant in Quinta do Lago, during which Sean Dyche aimed a ‘playful slap’ at Patterson, which seemingly landed with more force than was intended.

The well-intended jibe reportedly left the young Scottish defender feeling embarrassed and garnered a disapproving reaction from several of his team mates.

The incident was said to have required James Tarkowski to step in and play peacemaker between Dyche and his squad, with Dyche believed to have apologised for his actions.

Sources close to Everton have played down the event, claiming that it was nothing more than a clumsy joke that was quickly resolved.

The Toffees training camp continued without incident and the squad were said to have had positive sessions on Thursday and Friday before flying home, with the break being seen as a success from those within the club.

Fans will be relieved to hear that the alleged ‘bust-up’ between Dyche and Patterson was only a minor incident that seems unlikely to have any major ramifications on team morale.

But even so, these are not the kind of headlines that anybody involved with the club will want to read as Everton head into the most crucial part of the season.