The Everton boss was forced into another early change and was rewarded by a tremendous response from his players as they beat Sunderland comprehensively at the Stadium of Light behind a scintillating hat-trick from Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian had the only clear-cut opening the Toffees were able to fashion in the first half when his header off Yannick Bolasie's pin-point cross was turned over the bar brilliantly by Jordan Pickford.
However, after Gerard Deulofeu was introduced at the break at the expense of Ross Barkley, Everton looked a different side and two headers by Lukaku in the space of eight minutes broke the deadlock midway through the second period.
Lukaku completed his hat-trick with 19 minutes left when he raced into the clear behind the Black Cats' beleaguered defence to slot past the stranded 'keeper and round off a third successive Blues win of the season.
Koeman was purring afterwards but he made it known in no uncertain terms that once again his team's first-half display was not up to standard.
“I was very impressed and satisfied with the second half,” Koeman said after the game. “but I was very disappointed with the first 45 minutes. It was not the level we need to show.
“Our ball possession was poor [but] you saw the difference in the second half. We kept the ball much better and with good movement in the attack and created goals, three for Romelu and we had some more opportunities to score.
“The hat-trick was important for the boy because the press has been talking about the long time where he didn't score for Everton and I said to Romelu, the best answer is always on the pitch and gave that answer tonight.
“He's a great player and a target man up front, he's strong, he's a scoring player and you need goals to win games."
Just as was the case in the last away game at West Bromwich Albion, Koeman moved to address what he saw as a stagnant performance from his side in the first half and Deulofeu's introduction proved significant in that regard.
“I wasn't happy about the first half and I was thinking about getting a reaction at half time," Koeman explained. "I needed to change it. This time it was Ross Barkley who I took out and maybe the next time it's a different player but we had to change something because I was not pleased with the first half.
“I know the qualities of the players. We are strong and we made some good signings. The team is stronger than it was last year in my opinion and we need to fight but I think [Europe] is a realistic target that we've set for everyone.
“The start [we've made] is very good but it's only been four matches and we need to continue. [To be unbeaten] is important and the clean sheet is important that makes everybody happy.”
Reader Comments (74)
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1 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:18:24
2 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:31:14
Honest appraisal of the game. Makes changes to win games. Players brought in are quality. Keep on the tales of the top four and buy in January and who knows... Night night.
3 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:33:01
Tonight we may have seen an exciting tactic of playing Deulofeu just behind Rom in the No 10? It caused them a lot of problems.
I thought the defence was tough and snuffed out their chances. Gana was magnificent, 79 minutes before he wasted a pass. Bolasie is looking sharper and more dangerous. Williams commanding in defence. And then there's Rom... gets his hat-trick and all smiles with the bench.
A great night's work.
4 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:47:10
So much more movement through the midfield, chances galore, and a solid defensive display all adds up to a winning combination. Life feels good again !
Things can get much better as well, as this team knits together, and more class signings to come.
5 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:47:23
Just a mention for the travelling blues. Brilliant support all night with all the old songs. Everton have never shone so brightly!
Safe journey home, blue boys!
6 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:49:31
I know the way it works and Lukaku with a hat-trick has to be MotM but we all know Gueye was Man of the Match by a mile.
7 Posted 12/09/2016 at 23:58:54
Obviously, it was never going to be Lukaku pulled as Kone isn't really an adequate replacement, but Mirallas must have let out an audible sigh of relief that it wasn't his arse told to make way.
The most pleasing thing was that the manager didn't automatically see going in nil-nil at half-time, away from home, as satisfactory and acted decisively to drag something more out of his men. You could imagine his opposite number today simply instructing them to keep doing as they were doing and look to sneak a winner off a set-piece or something.
8 Posted 12/09/2016 at 00:05:15
It's so frustrating to watch; if only someone could release the block. Let's hope Ronald has that skill, or knows someone who has it.
9 Posted 13/09/2016 at 00:06:09
10 Posted 13/09/2016 at 00:19:33
By making the substitution at half time, it sends a message to every player that you can't feel your way into games anymore. You've got to hit the ground running and be prepared to pay the price if you aren't on point from the first whistle.
His post-match interviews are truly a breath of fresh air.
And each of the four signings on display today have vastly improved our team.
What a time to be a Blue!
11 Posted 13/09/2016 at 00:25:39
I keep cutting him slack but if I'm honest tonight was just a very typical Ross Barkley performance. I didn't think he deserved to make the England squad in the summer, never mind being gutted about not making the last one.
The last manager filled his head with shit. At least he now has a manager who will make it crystal clear that that kind of performance is unacceptable. He needs to forget England for the foreseeable, he isn't good enough, and concentrate on improving. If he didn't play for us I'd probably just say he wasn't up to scratch.
12 Posted 13/09/2016 at 00:35:59
Bobby (11) Spot on about Ross. He needs to unclutter his brain, stop trying to be the world class player his last manager told him he was, and concentrate on doing the simple things on the pitch like running, passing and shooting. If he cannot develop consistency of performance under this manager he probably never will.
13 Posted 13/09/2016 at 01:13:23
1. Play more defensively in the 2nd half to keep it at 0-0
2. Try to get a lucky goal from free kicks or corners
3. Put in Holgate and take Mirallas out with 10 minutes to go
4. "...if I was offered a tied game before kickoff I would have taken it..."
What a difference RK is making!
14 Posted 13/09/2016 at 01:23:46
Rooney or Mata would have been ideal in that sense. He will come good he just might not be the superstar we hoped. C'mon Ross, we need you to come through lad.
15 Posted 13/09/2016 at 01:36:14
Yes his head was gone tonight, and yes he wasn't at the races, but every player has a few bad days at the races, tonight goes down as one for Ross.
I think a lot of blues expect the world of Ross, but it's never going to be that way, he's a very good player and most clubs in the EPL would love to have him at there disposal.
One problem is probably that England dropped him, it's possibly toyed with his head and had him over-thinking his game.
Another problem with Ross is he seems to suffer from confidence issues; hopefully that's something that he will over come under Koeman, plus getting more experience and a little older will also help.
Let's get behind him and watch him blossom into a great player, and hopefully a loyal one. That's what we want from our young stars, loyalty, so in return what is the minimum requirement from our fans towards Ross?
On a separate note, it's great that the blues can bag 3 goals and make bags of chances without Ross.
16 Posted 13/09/2016 at 02:21:04
Gueye is amazing. First to every loose ball, immaculate on the ball and invariably chooses the perfect pass. Gorgeous chipped assist on the first and put the ball at Lu's feet to create several other opportunities, including the shot off the bar.
And I hate to add a cheap shot, but the way Kone was "marking" Lu tonight made me glad we missed out on him. He looked totally lost.
17 Posted 13/09/2016 at 02:58:45
I think some are going a bit overboard on the first half display. It was lacklustre but by no means terrible. Bolasie looked a threat whenever he had the ball.
Deulofeu changed the game in his first 10 mins but on the whole I'm starting to think he'll never be top class. His legs move twice as fast as his brain.
Lots of pleasing things to dwell on til the next game. I just feel like our young stars are yet to really start fulfilling their potential.
18 Posted 13/09/2016 at 03:39:39
"Yannick, Yannick Bolasie, runs down the wing for me,
Yannick Bolasie, Yannick Bolasie,
Yannick Bolasie, Yannick Bolasie!!
Oh yeah and that other favourite: "We're going to win the league" You never know.
Class manager who is not afraid to make decisions. We need a song for Idrissa Gueye because he is a phenomenon. Him and Barry = different level.
As for the earlier poster who said Geri was great in the No 10 role, well I'm afraid he was on the right wing since he came on and Mirallas played as a very good No 10.
Smashing 2nd half performance from the lads and as frustrating as Big Rom is, he knows where the onion bag is! By Christ, it felt good to look at the dugout and see Moyes in the opposite one. We even got a wave from Big Ron, proper manager!!
19 Posted 13/09/2016 at 04:03:13
20 Posted 13/09/2016 at 04:37:49
Goals at 23 years old:
Lukaku - 121
Ronaldo - 110
Suarez - 107
Rooney - 100
Ibrahimovic - 65
21 Posted 13/09/2016 at 05:11:13
It was just a poor outing for the kid.
How good was that ball by Mirallas to put Rom through for his third? That was just beautiful.
22 Posted 13/09/2016 at 06:34:06
As for Rom, is it me or even though he scored three goals, two of which any striker would have put away, his first-half performance and general play still need to be worked on? Mirallas must have been fuming when he didn't play him in towards the end of the game.
MotM was Gueye – he is a class player and what a steal at £7 mil!!!
23 Posted 13/09/2016 at 07:22:02
The boss will loose patience with him. This bollocks of potential is becoming boring, he has had enough time. He is definitely not a top 4 player, he is too hit and miss.
24 Posted 13/09/2016 at 08:44:13
He has the kind of winning mentality that you can only get through being a top player. He looked furious at half-time and rightly so.
25 Posted 13/09/2016 at 08:45:44
I thought John's last paragraph@7, summed it up perfectly, just like Bobby@11, summed up Ross Barkley.
We all want Ross, to succeed, so hopefully an honest, intelligent football manager, who played the game at the very highest level, can help him really come through, but as Anthony says, wasn't it great to see Everton, attack with pace, and create loads of chances in the process?
26 Posted 13/09/2016 at 08:54:59
Don't worry long term for Ross, the big Dutchman will sort him out. Happy days!!!
27 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:08:26
Lukaku scores goals. We all want him to be the 'complete' striker but for this season we need 20-25 goals from him and yesterday was a good start.
Barkley had a bad day at the office and I know he will bounce back with Koeman's help.
Bolasie was impressive but Idrissa Gueye was amazing! My favourite moment was when Gueye and Coleman harassed their winger and stopped him putting a cross in. They automatically high-fived each other... That's the fighting spirit we have been missing and it's so good to have it back.
Gareth Barry's 600th Premier League appearance on Saturday. Hope the club celebrate it and I'm sure his teammates will want to win it for him... NSNO
28 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:08:43
Gueye is the guy. £7m. Extraordinary. Will be the signing of the decade if he continues this form.
Very encouraging stuff. Let's hope it continues.
29 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:15:37
Everyone worships at the altar of Pep and not saying he isn't great, but it's not as hard when you keep getting handed the most loaded squads in the world. Having Manchester City roll out the red carpet while gifting you a blank checkbook doesn't really constitute a "new challenge."
Watching Koeman clean up Martinez's mess while completely re-shaping the club in the space of just a handful of matches now that's a challenge.
30 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:16:25
31 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:21:58
Hopefully after a few more performances like last night's (and therapy) I can regain my faith in our defensive abilities...
32 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:38:45
33 Posted 13/09/2016 at 09:55:02
34 Posted 13/09/2016 at 10:16:53
Also, I agreed with Phil @17 that our first half performance wasn't as bad as some have made out but, as Sam says @28, it's only because we look so much more organised from the back.
35 Posted 13/09/2016 at 10:21:05
Bolassie is better on the left.
Mirallas should start number ten next time. Although Del did play predominately on the right, he was switching with both Mirallas and Lukaku at times. He also needs to start. Offers far more than Ross.
Great second half.. clearly our best eleven started it.
36 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:01:58
I have to agree with the praise for Gana he is last season's Kante and so far this season with a little more to his game. Please may it continue!
37 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:10:48
38 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:22:09
39 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:30:18
So I was delighted when Moshiri decided that Ronald Koeman was his choice and did a great job in persuading him to come here. He then followed that up with the appointment of Steve Walsh, who with the signing of Gueye has proved what a shrewd cookie he is.
Koeman has started to put his stamp on the side, the tempo is quick he has his team pressing all over the park. But most of all, this man is a winner and, as Barkley found to his cost, if you are not performing, you will be replaced. How refreshing to see a manager who knows exactly what he wants from his players and isn't afraid to make changes at half-time.
Also, by taking Barkley off, it sent a message to the rest of the squad, that under perform and you are all at risk. I thought Baines comments after the game were very telling he said the atmosphere amongst the players is the best he has seen for quite a while. Which tells you they all believe in what Koeman is doing.
Now yes we will have the usual suspects come on here and say we have only played 4 games and only Spurs from last season's top 6. They will also remind us that the charlatan finished 5th in his first season. The difference is that this man is the real deal. Someone who will build this club to where it belongs. As he said after the game, the least we should aim for is European football every year.
I am sure there will be some disappointments on the way but this guy is the real deal. Our biggest challenge may come if one of the big boys change their manager; Koeman rightly is ambitious so we have to show him he can achieve all his goals with Everton.
40 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:32:31
The match was a good one and the team can always do better.
Games will always be won if coaches are not afraid to change players who are underperforming, coz they will be axed if the team is not doing it.
Koeman is on the right path as well as the lads.
41 Posted 13/09/2016 at 11:52:31
Now, under a proper coach (Koeman), he is being told straight and hopefully (given time) will eradicate these errors from his game. Perhaps being dropped by England and a (very public) substitution at Sunderland may prove to be a turning point for Ross...
42 Posted 13/09/2016 at 12:27:00
Ross just had a poor game; probably still smarting over his omission from the national team; but he'll come good.
Would do him no harm to sit the next one out and come on for Del Boy or Mirallas
43 Posted 13/09/2016 at 12:33:46
44 Posted 13/09/2016 at 12:48:47
Tom D was on his toes, moving all the time, head up looking for space and our players as he made himself available.
Without the ball he pressed close and got in two tackles that sent the ball backwards, which he then chased.
For someone light of frame he both got stuck in and made his physical presence felt when tackled himself.
Seems ideally suited to defensive midfield but given the lack of impact from Ross in all of the above I'd like to see him at 10 in the league cup game. That said we are light in DM if we rest Barry, astonishing show last night, looked like he'd been encouraged to step out more, sublime weight on pass for third goal, and Gueye.
45 Posted 13/09/2016 at 12:54:58
First half not great, but as others have said, brown shoes wouldn't have touched anything until 70 minutes and Ross would have stayed on, trying and failing.
RK addresses the issue and isn't afraid to change things, as all the best managers can do.
I'd say were about 85% fit on the RonKoe scale – still work to be done, but I'm not saying anything this manager doesn't already know.
Bill #29 - superb mate, absolutely spot on.
He has fundamentally altered the psychology of the dressing room & club in a few short months, and I think you can tell the players understand that poor performances will not be tolerated.
I just hope the upward curve continues, and we achieve everything that we possibly can while Koeman is with us – if we are winning things why would he want to leave (kidding myself, but I can dream) - please please get us a pot!
Gana Gueye – immense performance, my MotM. Stick the £150 million release clause in the contract now Billy Bullshit – Pogba ain't fit to shine this kid's "old skool" black footy boots.
46 Posted 13/09/2016 at 13:54:42
Good luck, Ross.
47 Posted 13/09/2016 at 14:41:38
48 Posted 13/09/2016 at 15:26:11
Both teams were drab quality of football was poor apart from a very intelligent and creative display from young Ross on the left side of mid-field. He stood out head and shoulders from the rest and was warmly received for his display.
Everton missed their chances and QPR had just one and took it.
The lad has got it I think he feels the pressure on himself though . Hopefully a great manager like Koeman can help him overcome this.
49 Posted 13/09/2016 at 17:17:16
Also, being dropped from the national team should not affect his performance for his club – it should make him more determined to do well for us and get picked for England. The reason he got for picked was because he was doing the business for us. He stopped doing the biz for us and so lost his place.
Concentrate on the side that pays your wages and don't worry about international matches. I hate it when our players get picked for England anyway as they always have some numpty down their ear: "Come over to Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd" etc. Funny how hard Hart worked to get Stones unsettled only to be sent packing himself...
50 Posted 13/09/2016 at 17:37:54
The players got used to mistakes and poor play being overlooked. Well that's stopped. Uncle Roberto isn't going to kiss it better anymore. He's gone and he ain't coming back.
The players have to take responsibility for their own form. Barkley was subbed because he was playing lousy. Koeman knew it. We knew it and Barkley knew it. You don't get to stay on anymore while the manager hopes you'll just get better. No point sulking about England either. If you want to get picked train harder, take in what the manager and coaches are teaching you and play better.
The players are on the spot. The manager isn't going to cover for their mistakes. Now they all know it. Play well you get picked. Play lousy you're dropped.
51 Posted 13/09/2016 at 17:47:04
As for Ross, he's got to listen to Koeman and get the joy back in his game again. He just has to look at Jack Rodwell to see where his career is going otherwise.
52 Posted 13/09/2016 at 19:12:12
We have Gana Gueye, so you should have stayed at home today
Ah-ha words can't describe the feeling and the way he plays
We've got Gana Gueye, so your going leave here with no points today
Ah-ha Gana Gueye, he's so good he never gives the ball away.
Be gentle lads!
53 Posted 13/09/2016 at 19:16:40
The pass for the third goal was from Mirallas.
54 Posted 13/09/2016 at 19:53:52
Koeman is the perfect blend of the best of Moyes and Martínez and the way he's handling Barkley is showing that. If Barkley doesn't flourish under Koeman he won't under any coach.
I'm not happy about the revisionism going on about both the Moyes and Martínez spells.
It's true that Moyes was overly negative and his record at Anfield, OT, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates was disgraceful. But he definitely steadied us and we wouldn't be where we are now if it weren't for him. To get a team with the likes of Gary Naismith, Kilbane, Pistone, McFadden, Steve Watson and Tony Hibbert into 4th was an amazing achievement.
While it was right to sack Martínez for his joke defending and the lack of steel and basic fitness in the squad, the football we played in his first season, for example home and away to Arsenal, was the best, purest football I've ever seen from an Everton side, including the 85 team.
We played good football in Moyes's last season but there's no way we'd be playing the passing football we are if it hadn't been for the 3 years under Martínez.
Koeman seems to combine the hardness and defensive organisation of Moyes with the touch football of Martínez. And we are clearly fitter than we've ever been.
No worker and employee likes a dictator boss but they don't like weakness either. Koeman seems to be no nonsense and straight, almost in the way players like Labone and Royle talk about Catterick.
55 Posted 13/09/2016 at 20:05:57
With respect, it's a good job Koeman didn't show the same loyalty as your good self and kept him on. Otherwise it could have been what could have been for Lukaku. As for most clubs in the EPL would like him at their disposal? There would be certainly no callers from the Sky darlings.
Barkley is fast becoming the '40-year-old apprentice', here to learn... But for how long? He has been snubbed by two England managers simply because he is not up to the standard. None of those managers would take a gamble on a player who is hit and miss, for fear of being pilloried from pillar to post for poor judgement! He is walking on thin ice with his present manager and is in regression. He is certainly not the player that Koeman would have brought to Everton had he been playing for another Club.
If his game doesn't improve to the Ross Barkley we all invested in, the only callers coming could be Moyes to Sunderland to squeeze what could be out of a player who showed so much potential. I hope I am proved wrong as being an Evertonian it would be great for us to see what could be unleashed. But up until now we have heard the bees, but can't see the honey!
56 Posted 13/09/2016 at 21:47:06
I agree it was 2 great performances against Arsenal in Martinez's first season. Many pundits admired Everton's performances last season (up until the home Leicester game). After that game, our season went downhill.
I don't think you can compare what amounts to two one-off games (as good as they were) with the overall quality of football played by Everton in the 84-86 seasons with that (inmho of course)
Let's be honest, the 84-86 team was very special.
58 Posted 13/09/2016 at 23:01:22
For me Ross will be back in on Saturday and Mirallas can make way. If we think that Ross may lack confidence, I get the feeling that Koeman knows Mirallas is in the last chance saloon and his head really does drop and he gets moody...
Deulofeu does look sharp and with competition for places and building up the fitness, pressing and aggressive attacking, we are slowly getting into shape... possession wasn't bad too!
59 Posted 13/09/2016 at 23:48:59
Ref Ross Barkley. As I've stated a few times on TW, the lad worries me. He's got so much talent but we see only odd flashes of it. Hopefully Koeman will find a way for him to remove "the block" as was so ably stated earlier in this thread.
60 Posted 14/09/2016 at 09:08:26
61 Posted 14/09/2016 at 09:56:20
62 Posted 14/09/2016 at 10:42:50
Fucking RS Dean Saunders said that Koeman has been disrespectful to Martinez by saying the squad was unfit.
In Saunders's words, he doesn't believe the squad was unfit and that the current form was due to the fact a new manager makes players work harder to impress.
Raging that this Muppet gets a pundits job, he knows fuck all.
63 Posted 14/09/2016 at 10:45:31
65 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:07:04
66 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:11:44
67 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:16:28
Shame on him for cashing in on a football great like Cloughy in such a disgusting manner.
68 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:23:33
White read out a message that he said was sent to him personally.
He went as far as to say that Everton fans had disputed the validity of his previous TDD message and that it is true that he does get messages sent directly to him personally from Mr Moshiri regarding EFC.
69 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:26:52
70 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:48:21
71 Posted 14/09/2016 at 11:54:00
72 Posted 14/09/2016 at 12:39:25
Each time Koeman speaks, I am more convinced he is the man to put us back where we belong, but we are only 4 games in, people! We will go through a rough spell this season and we are probably only a Lukaku injury away from a barren spell in front of goal.
If Koeman does prove to be the man who can take us into the Champions League, then what if Arsenal offer to double his wages next season when Wenger retires?
As a long-suffering Blue, it's just too early to get excited about anything Everton just yet, in case we do an 'Everton.'
Eugene Ruane once summed the life an Evertonian brilliantly:
"It's like getting hoofed in the plums and going back for more."
73 Posted 14/09/2016 at 12:55:28
He looks across at Rodwell and sees what could happen to himself; then, towards the end, he sees the bright new young thing come on!!!
Ross, for all your talent, bin the weights and wanting to look like a doorman. Focus on you ability, fitness and cardiovascular fitness levels, and leave the bulk to the meatheads of this world.
74 Posted 14/09/2016 at 13:15:14
75 Posted 14/09/2016 at 13:30:09
76 Posted 14/09/2016 at 13:37:57