Ronald Koeman has expressed his satisfaction with the first few days of Everton's pre-season training trip to the Montafon valley as he begins to really get to know the players he has inherited as the Toffees' new manager.
The bulk of the senior squad, minus those who took part in international competition this summer and who will begin to trickle back starting Monday, have been at the club's Austrian training base for the past four days, where they have faced familiar conditions and not the warm weather that might have been expecting.
“It's been very good”, the manager told Darren Griffiths for evertontv, despite the wet and cloudy conditions that greeted them upon arrival this week. “OK, maybe the weather is not like what you need but the temperature has been fantastic to train, the pitch is wonderful and the place is perfect.
“The lads are working very hard and it's going well. I'm happy about what the lads are showing so far. [The rain doesn't really affect the training sessions] because the pitch is used to it. It's [like] Liverpool weather so that's not a big change!
“Of course, normally you expect higher temperatures but this is better than hot weather because that can make it more difficult to do the physical part of pre-season.”
Having taken his first training session with the squad only last week, Koeman is enjoying having the group together on the trip where he can really get to know his new charges and assess the talent in the ranks.
“It's always good to stay together because you have time to talk, time to have meetings and even more now with the new technical staff and a new manager, it's good for us to get to know the players and get a feel about the Under-21 players.
“That's very good because it makes the final decisions about the future and about the season when it starts much easier.”
Reader Comments (23)
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3 Posted 15/07/2016 at 07:55:36
I hope Koeman is one who judges our young players on their merits rather than labelling them 'young players' end of. Too often in the past we have seen the younger element impress pre-season then hardly ever called upon when the serious stuff starts.
I'm hoping under our new man, the team will compete for top six even though they won't be among the six competing for the top spot if you get my meaning!
4 Posted 15/07/2016 at 08:34:03
5 Posted 15/07/2016 at 08:57:22
6 Posted 15/07/2016 at 09:11:07
Ranieri didn't spend much last close season but he made winners out of Leicester. How wonderful if Koeman could do it here!
7 Posted 15/07/2016 at 09:22:10
8 Posted 15/07/2016 at 09:53:28
We do need several signing irrespective of how the existing players fare. We cannot just rely on promising youngsters all coming through and maintaining form throughout the season.
9 Posted 15/07/2016 at 10:16:46
However, both you and Ray have a very good point in as much as teams that don't strengthen their squad, regardless of how good they were last season, are in effect standing still or even going backwards. Leicester are adding players, Man Utd, the RS, Chelsea etc. are all in the hunt for reinforcements.
Like most fans on here, I'd love to see the young lads get a chance but they need introducing gradually. Galloway was thrown in the deep end last season but I don't think he's carried on progressing as much as we imagined, at least not by his performances that I saw in the U21s last season.
If we lose Stones, as seems likely, we need a quality player to step straight in so we can build on Koeman's (hopefully) improvement on last season.
10 Posted 15/07/2016 at 10:20:15
I'm not one to usually harp on about the evils of Sky but their website and news channel over the summer months relies on transfer rumours and I'm afraid the majority of football fans buy into it.
Helen, I would suggest that, if you feel that the squad needs strengthening in a certain area or areas, then fire out your opinion to us.
But "sign a bloody player" almost sounds like you need a shot of the transfer drug quickly to get you through the next few days.
I imagine Koeman will need to speak to the likes of Stones in particular before assessing what he needs and what he'll have to spend on it.
11 Posted 15/07/2016 at 10:25:14
I have absolute faith in Koeman and his staff to decide who fits his plan, who he wants to develop, and who he wants to buy in. Let's just enjoy the reports of us competing with the big boys for top players... and develop some patience, for god's sake!!!
13 Posted 15/07/2016 at 12:22:03
Since Pienaar became older and injury prone Baines has suffered as an attacking outlet. Those two were our best duo and combined to score and create numerous opportunities.
Distin slotted in to cover Baines really well and since that trio broke up we have lost a huge amount of attacking threat. Now it is just Lukaku who carries a goal threat and until this fault is remedied we will not improve.
We have become absolutely top heavy with midfield 'drones' who run up and down but neither score nor create.
14 Posted 15/07/2016 at 16:24:50
I am hopeful for some youngsters to emerge and live up to expectation and for us to sign some quality players. Why? Simply because a fair few of this so-called 'best squad in years' frankly disgraced themselves last season.
They need to prove to all the fans that they are capable of challenging for trophies instead of meekly surrendering when up against it. My understanding is that is what we aspire to as a club.
15 Posted 15/07/2016 at 16:33:48
16 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:06:34
We should buy players who meet our valuation, fit our wage structure and philosophy and want to play for us. Most important of all, they should be better than what we have.
Witsel could tick all of these boxes except perhaps he might want to play for a different club. Ditto all the targets.
In that case, good luck to them. Koeman will know he will have to work hard to attract big names. But perhaps Martinez's legacy for this summer was to leave us behind a few clubs who are more attractive by dint of playing in Europe and being more successful in the recent past.
Should not surprise us that it may take Koeman a year or two to change this perception, by using the resources at his disposal better than Martinez ever did.
17 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:13:22
Any idiot can go out and buy expensive players but that can be counter-productive to team spirit and motivation of those at the club especially if they behave like some big-time Charlie.
The players that we bring in have to understand we are a work in progress with a great history and are trying to re-establish ourselves at the top table.
In the meantime, there is a squad to work on having been taken backwards by the "Martinez experiment".
A combination of exploiting the strengths of the existing squad and one or two appropriate additions will start us on the right path.
18 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:26:35
What kind of reckless twit of a manger would run off spending money on players when he has no idea what he's even got in his stable? Or, alternatively, even if he "knows" what he's got, he hasn't had time to assess how they will respond to him.
I want EFC to spend gobs of money on world-beaters and win the league and all the trophies, but for goodness' sakes, let's give the gaffer a minute to examine the inventory!
** Before you start running off about McGeady, recall that everyone on this site is talking about how much better performance they expect Koeman to get out of certain players; why couldn't the same be true of McGeady? I haven't rated him at all myself, but I've only ever seen him under RM's hand, so...
19 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:36:13
I'm pretty sure Koeman had a pretty good idea of the Everton squad before he came.
Also, every manager wants to build the team himself so a change of manager pretty much always means a number of players going and new ones coming in. I cannot imagine for a minute he didn't already have 3-4 players in mind who he'd like to have, regardless of what the ones he's inherited.
Btw, McGeady will never be good enough.
20 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:43:56
What type of manager spuds do that? Mourinho, Guardiola for starters. Pretty sure Koeman knows what he has, and knows that Everton needs a hell of a lot more to move forward.
I don't think Mourinho needed to "assess" the squad to know he wanted Zlatan, nor did he need to work with his current players before bringing in Mkhitaryan.
Man City have already signed a couple, and Guardiola apparently already knows he wants Stones. But sure, Everton can sit back and wait while the players who could improve is are signed away, totally makes sense.
21 Posted 15/07/2016 at 17:50:07
The "massive" war chest we have is actually down to the new TV deal. Our historically piss poor commercial performance means we'll be on a par with Stoke, WBA, Swansea et al in terms of budget (more in wages perhaps). This will be supplemented with the balance of the Stones money, so a lot of money by our standards, but rising tides and all that...
22 Posted 15/07/2016 at 18:08:43
Spot-on, lads... and I guess this approach was the underlying thought behind Helen's post.
23 Posted 15/07/2016 at 18:23:09
I expect three expensive signings and 2-3 cheapos to bolster the squad. I am pleased with how he is going about things, ie, quietly and professionally.
24 Posted 15/07/2016 at 19:40:23
You're talking apples and oranges, man.
1. Players like Zlatan are of such quality that, if you can sign them, you do no matter what you've got in the side already.
2. Mourinho and Guardiola are given essentially infinite funds, which means that the cost of buying a player who turns out to be a bad fit is very, very low. I know that EFC has more money now that we've had in the past, but we still aren't Man Utd or Man City, so comparing the shopping tendencies of Pep and Jose to Koeman is just folly.
3. Guardiola knows he wants Stones? Great! Has he put in a bid yet? Has he signed him? I'm sure Koeman wants Stones, too! And he probably knows who he might replace Stones with if he can't have Stones, but why should he sign that player until he knows for certain that he can't have Stones?
4. Specifically, what players are you talking about who (a) could have improved our side, (b) were actual targets of ours, and (c) have been signed to other clubs instead? As far as I'm aware, none of the players who have signed with other clubs were even on our radar, so I'm struggling to see your concern here. Has Witsel signed with Napoli? Has Mata re-upped with United? Cillessen? Schmeichel? Koulibaly? Or are these players, to a name, all every bit as available to us as they were when we first heard of them?
5. "Assess" means more than "watch them play." It also means get clarification on their desire to stay at EFC, the club's willingness to accept offers. I don't know how on earth Koeman could possibly have clarity on his potential relationship with players he hasn't even spoken too yet.
25 Posted 15/07/2016 at 20:56:35
We first need to attract better players than we have currently and develop the considerable skills our own players have. I do believe that Barkley can deliver given the guidance of a decent manager. Once we have better players and use our potential we will get back to winning things. Then, the so-called 'big names' will be interested. After all, players are only interested in winning things and a lot of dosh.
I for one am looking forward to this season. We will get ripped off when we do go into the transfer market as all clubs know we have a bit more cash. But have faith, I think we have a good manager who has the respect not only of our players now, but is known throughout the footballing world.
He has EFC in his blood now... hold tight and enjoy the ride!
26 Posted 16/07/2016 at 12:31:43
I'm sure as well that Koeman has not be brought in with the remit to go and buy a new team, so he needs to be sure what he has and who he can work with. As someone said earlier, "assess" is not just watch them play. I'm sure he has a view on the current squad from his time at Southampton, but I think we can all agree that most, if not all, have under performed during that time. He will want to make an assessment of who he can work with and who are lost causes.
I don't think we will see a lot of movement until everyone is back and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
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