Ronald Koeman said he was happy with Everton's first official pre-season friendly run-out at Barnsley on Saturday which yielded a 3-0 win and a goal apiece from three players who have the chance to revitalise their fortunes under the new boss.
Kevin Mirallas, Gerard Deulofeu and Ross Barkley all struggled at times last season with form, confidence and fitness to varying degrees in Roberto Martinez's final campaign but the trio looked sharp and hungry against the Tykes.
"I'm happy with the work rate of the players today," the Dutchman told evertontv. "It was another step physically with their preparation. I'm happy with the team and the spirit and there were some good things today.
“We had some good moments in the first half. Maybe there wasn't quite as much productivity as you'd like to see but … with the changes we made [in the second half], we controlled the game and had chances to score more goals, which is good because I like that. But I think the boys did well.
“We had a lot of pace from Gerard [in] maybe a new position for him. I know he played that position at Barcelona B because he is very fast and we had a lot of dangerous situations out of that but I thought the best goal was the the third one from Ross. He's a great player and it was a great goal."
Speaking of Tom Davies's distribution down the right flank, Koeman described his philosophy on playing it out at the back from the fullback position, one which differs from his predecessor who was happy to see his team use the goalkeeper to retain possession, even it meant inviting pressure into the back line.
“That's what we like," Koeman said. "The two options for the right fullback are to play the ball back to the goalkeeper — I don't like that — and play the ball down the channels and press. There was a lot of space and there was really good passing from Tom Davies.
“We spoke about pressing, starting with the strikers and it's sometimes difficult for them because they are not all the type of players who like to press all of the time.
"But they need to do it, it's good, it's training and we need this kind of exercise."
The manager was asked about the compressed nature of the pre-season schedule which will see the Blues play four times in the space of a week but he expressed his confidence that the squad is big enough to cope.
“It's a lot but we have enough players in the squad to deal with that. We're looking forward to Tuesday.”
Reader Comments (31)
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1 Posted 25/07/2016 at 07:24:41
2 Posted 25/07/2016 at 07:34:30
Can't wait for it to kick off. If RM was still in charge I would be dreading it.
3 Posted 25/07/2016 at 07:52:41
4 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:15:52
5 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:17:12
6 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:25:02
Deulofeu was playing striker. Played quite well, lots of chances & lots of runs made.
7 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:25:10
9 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:38:50
10 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:42:21
11 Posted 25/07/2016 at 08:47:39
12 Posted 25/07/2016 at 09:14:34
13 Posted 25/07/2016 at 09:27:19
14 Posted 25/07/2016 at 09:42:42
Martinez is being interviewed for the Hull vacancy!! Straight back down for them if they make that mistake.
16 Posted 25/07/2016 at 12:35:13
He does appear quite straight-talking - but then I would like to ask him what he really does mean by "great?" - ref. Ross B.
In my eyes, he's a very good player, with quite a lot of experience at the "top level in England". Potential to become a better player is there..we shall see. But GREAT? The literal definition in my OED is "occupying much space, extending far, large, big..." sorry Ross, that might be more accurate at the moment! Nice strike though.
Admittedly that's a bit pedantic and he isn't English, but after 3yrs of BS, these players need to a realistic view of what they look from outside their bubble...an outside perspective should help.
Ref the work ethic, really liking that...it's just plain common sense after all..it's a squad game these days, the starting 11 should be running themselves into the ground every game and expect to be replaced... if some of them are too lazy to do it, ship them out.
Only saw the goal highlights..pitch was wide open..Gibson had all the time in the world.. so you'd expect this result.
Hopefully we'll see real high fitness levels ala Southampton last year, come the 1st game v Spurs.
18 Posted 25/07/2016 at 14:07:26
19 Posted 25/07/2016 at 14:47:53
20 Posted 25/07/2016 at 15:14:37
As you didnt see the game you wont know what he was talking about re Ross.
When Ross came on he was all that we want him to be. Took the game by the scruff of the neck, created a number of chances by threading through killer passes and scored a great goal.He was head and shoulders above anyone out there.
In other words he was great.
Now if only we can repeat the trick with Lukaku.
I would have put Stones there too but regrettably I think Stones has gone.
21 Posted 25/07/2016 at 16:27:30
I watched the game live & agree with RK.
Geri was a completely different player to last year playing down the middle. The understanding between him & Ross was nice to see.
To think we had to put up with a couple of donkeys at times (Niasse & Kone) & we had a diamond in Tarashj waiting in the wings. He will benfit with more game time.
The player that impressed me the most was Conor Grant, looks a much improved player in the Barry mould. Could save us a heap of money.
Also have to mention Holgate. Not the tallest centre back but so comfortable on the ball & believes in playing the ball forward.
22 Posted 25/07/2016 at 16:36:39
The passing back to the keeper makes no sense. Often, we are attacking within yards of the opposition penalty area and after a series of backward passes, we are treated to a pressured keeper lofting a 50/50 Hail Mary pass to the half way line.
I watched most of the game on Saturday, when I had overcome the usual now traditional official feed glitches and agree with Jay(20) re Ross Barkley. Looked a different player, albeit against weaker opposition. Hope to see more of that as well.
24 Posted 25/07/2016 at 19:30:25
25 Posted 25/07/2016 at 20:09:15
26 Posted 25/07/2016 at 20:20:45
I'd rather just wait and see, before being so joyful and optimistic. It was a friggin' great start, though!!!!
27 Posted 25/07/2016 at 21:35:45
28 Posted 25/07/2016 at 22:00:05
29 Posted 25/07/2016 at 22:43:00
Agree with you re Conor Grant. He looked as if he belonged there.
Also Holgate read the game very well unlike Galloway who got some useful challenges in but let players get in behind him too often.
Overall we looked like a rejuvenated squad totally unlike Martinez pre seasons.
30 Posted 26/07/2016 at 01:03:18
31 Posted 26/07/2016 at 01:05:00
32 Posted 26/07/2016 at 07:23:29
Why pick on a single word from Koeman's interview and work up a 200-word critique? Everyone uses the word "great" to describe players, fans, their latest meal, etc.
Koeman appears to be pretty level-headed and straightforward. When he starts to use words such as phenomenal you can begin to worry.
33 Posted 26/07/2016 at 08:20:11
(XTC circa 1981 anyone???)
34 Posted 26/07/2016 at 10:34:50
35 Posted 26/07/2016 at 13:06:00
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