Ronald Koeman was in no mood to criticise any individual players following his first defeat as Everton manager this evening, citing the difficulty for the fringe members of the side coming into the team having not been involved as much so far this season.
The Dutchman made six changes to the line-up that started against Middlesbrough for the visit of Norwich in the EFL Cup, two of them enforced by injury to Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry's inability to manage three full games in the space of a week, but the Blues struggled in front of goal and ended up losing 2-0 to the Championship side.
Koeman felt that his side had done enough to win the match, however, and pointed to a bit of misfortune, particularly with Steven Naismith's 41st-minute opener which had Everton chasing the game with increasing urgency in the second half until Josh Murphy killed it with an excellent second.
“Of course I'm not happy about the result because in cup football, you don't get a second chance but I can't criticise my players,” Koeman said in his post-match press conference.
“We did everything to score the goal. Maybe [we lacked] a little bit of luck. We had enough chances to score a goal. We did not.
“Football is about scoring goals; if you watch Norwich's first goal, [you can see] you need a little bit of luck but [we] go on, no problem.
The manager was asked how he felt those more peripheral players had done in the context of being selected again for Saturday's trip to Bournemouth in the Premier League but bristled at the question.
"I don't like these kinds of questions because for these players it's always difficult,” Koeman explained. "They didn't play a lot at the beginning of the season and you can't analyse players by one match. It's about the whole week and then you put your best 11 on the pitch.
“All of them worked hard tonight but, of course, we didn't score a goal. Gerard (Deulofeu) had a big chance. Ross Barkley had a big chance and some other players had good chances to score.
“I think we had three or four free kicks around the box in very good positions. That's football. You can't [criticise] three or four or six players. It's a team performance and we did not play bad football.
“We played against a very good, well organised team and they made it very difficult. Then you need high quality to score a goal and you need maybe a bit of luck in one or two situations and we did not have that luck.”
"Everyone is working hard to get their chance to play. It was the whole team performance tonight. We didn't throw a party after thirteen points from five [games] and we don't cry after tonight. It's football. We're disappointed and tomorrow we start preparing for the Bournemouth match this Saturday.”
Reader Comments (77)
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1 Posted 21/09/2016 at 00:29:03
We didn't throw a party after thirteen points from five [games] and we don't cry after tonight. It's football.
Oh Ronald... you might not have — but we can certainly make amends for the lack balloons and bawling at Finch Farm!!!
2 Posted 21/09/2016 at 00:29:42
3 Posted 21/09/2016 at 00:53:07
Good manager, who perhaps will become one of the 'greats'.
4 Posted 21/09/2016 at 00:59:33
5 Posted 21/09/2016 at 01:07:08
I wouldn't judge Koeman on this performance, but at the end of the day we hit a blank at home to Norwich whilst conceding 2 goals.
Very very poor outing, poor footballing display with no real cutting edge, and poor finishing from a couple of important players.
Nice to see Koeman put things into perspective, but tonight was simply poor, not good enough and inexcusable.
6 Posted 21/09/2016 at 01:23:40
7 Posted 21/09/2016 at 01:30:24
8 Posted 21/09/2016 at 01:51:09
10 Posted 21/09/2016 at 02:29:25
11 Posted 21/09/2016 at 03:25:45
All these players have had little or no game time so 6 changes is a big ask. Put this one firmly down to Koeman as a complete balls-up. Then again, this is Everton and she is a bitch sometimes.
12 Posted 21/09/2016 at 04:38:42
13 Posted 21/09/2016 at 05:01:12
14 Posted 21/09/2016 at 06:09:58
So spot on again. Absolutely the right reaction. The team will be totally right mentally for Saturday.
15 Posted 21/09/2016 at 06:24:46
Cleverley, Lennon and Funes Mori were all very poor, as was Ross Barkley. Why won't the lad shoot when in prime position?
Overall very disappointing. Another chance of silverware wasted. Don't buy into this nonsense that it's a rubbish competition as if we can be so choosy!!
16 Posted 21/09/2016 at 07:26:23
Two changes were enforced: Rom and Barry; the rest shouldn't have happened and anyone who can't see what Gareth Barry does for this team need only look at this game.
17 Posted 21/09/2016 at 07:29:51
All of a sudden he can't criticise players? Perhaps he should criticise himself then for his team selection.
18 Posted 21/09/2016 at 07:52:05
19 Posted 21/09/2016 at 07:53:42
Yes, the result is bad, we should have done much better... but no-one of that team out there last night will be happy about this, least of all the fringe players trying to impress the manager. It's psychology, they are human beings after all and to criticise them for any mistake or for a poor showing is not always going to help.
And no-one can tell me we made too many changes... Norwich made 10 changes to last weekend. That's the beauty of football you win, you lose and sometimes there's a surprise. Maybe we have to adapt our tolerances, our patience, our expectations to the new-found hope with new money, new manager. Is every setback now really a disaster?
21 Posted 21/09/2016 at 08:22:22
I think Koeman got it wrong with his subs, but it doesn't really matter what I think. At the end of the day we are out of the cup, which leaves only the FA Cup, to end the longest drought in Everton's long history. Not good enough.
22 Posted 21/09/2016 at 08:23:37
Would suggest this is the last season at EFC for the following:
- Barkley (if offers come in at £35k)
- Funes Mori
- Valencia (we won't take up the option to buy)
We need 1 proven striker and protégé to support Lukaku. Need a replacement for Barry and Jagielka.
And comments above about this being a tinpot cup. So naive. We should be out to win every game.
23 Posted 21/09/2016 at 08:38:13
They appear to have forgotten that we could only draw with Norwich last December and only beat them in the last game of the season, when they were all but relegated.
I'm not making excuses, and yes some players never stepped up to the plate; it's not great, but it's not the end of the world.
24 Posted 21/09/2016 at 08:47:49
25 Posted 21/09/2016 at 09:27:01
Funes Mori and Lennon had decent seasons last season so they should be up to it. Holgate was unlucky to lose his place in the last two games so he should also have been good enough. That's three of the six changes.
I didn't see the game so I can't really give an opinion but, as disappointing as it is to be out, I think he was right to give a run out to lads trying to impress.
26 Posted 21/09/2016 at 09:30:27
It seems a fair ol' number of the EPL clubs (at least) don't take it as seriously as the other comps. I suppose the compensation is it allows them to play lots of players they aren't willing to use in the leagues.
27 Posted 21/09/2016 at 09:32:52
Some of his changes were poor, tactics left a lot to be desired and both individual and team performances well below par. Had we still been playing we still would have been looking for a goal.
It was just one of those games and I'm just glad it happened last night and not in a league game. Hopefully it will have brought the team right down to earth and given everyone a reality check.
For sure Koeman will know our limitations both in skill and personnel and will rectify it both in January and close season.
28 Posted 21/09/2016 at 09:43:16
If they luck their way through a few rounds then it changes a bit, but at this stage of the season, none of the managers have taken it seriously. The FA Cup tends to be a bit different as there is more attention, and it's normally fairly obviously our only chance of glory by then.
As for the performance last night, I felt we were missing a replacement for Lukaku. Also, he's right about us not being particularly lucky. It's the manager's fault, but provided we keep winning in the league all will be forgiven. If we lose against Bournemouth, then we all know what the reaction will be.
29 Posted 21/09/2016 at 10:02:14
It's gone on a bit longer than the last three managers. This year was the 50th time we have entered and in the time we've managed two losing finals. A combined total of 11 managers have failed to win it whilst at the same time 26 clubs have won the trophy.
We just have a really shit record in this competition.
30 Posted 21/09/2016 at 10:12:02
31 Posted 21/09/2016 at 10:28:55
Ronald got it wrong last night. It was noticeable he spent most of the early stages sitting on the bench which suggested a lack of urgency on his part, mirroring the performance of his players on the pitch. Possibly he is just not interested in this competition. It does little for a manager's reputation across Europe compared with a top six or seven placing in the Premier League.
32 Posted 21/09/2016 at 10:33:59
I assume that Koeman's aware we reached the Semi's last season and that we've never won the League Cup. I also felt that on his unveiling: "I want to win," spoke to a desire to succeed in one of the winnable pieces of silverware out there...
33 Posted 21/09/2016 at 10:55:21
I realise that many are desperate for any kind of a trophy but Koeman is targetting European football (via a top 6 finish) and rightly so. If we don't have decent enough squad players to allow us progression in the League Cup, then we go out of the competition and focus on what's important.
We need to keep our best 11 fit and fresh. Koeman wanted more in the transfer window, he didn't get it. So we go with what we have until January. If we sacrifice a cup competition to stay near the top of the league, then so be it.
Koeman never said he wanted to win a cup. He wants to get us into Europe via a decent league position. That's the target and it's the right one.
34 Posted 21/09/2016 at 11:03:03
I am not unhappy (okay double negative!!) that we are out of this cup and can concentrate on the league and the FA Cup this season. I am sure Koeman took a chance and will have learned from his decisions.
Onward and upward COYB!
35 Posted 21/09/2016 at 11:36:56
Keep faith with the faithful, don't start losing already.
36 Posted 21/09/2016 at 12:09:34
We have to get rid of these sub-standard players and replace them but it will take a couple more transfer windows at least. I am sure Koeman knows this and will get it right but he needs time.
37 Posted 21/09/2016 at 12:29:47
In turn, I think Koeman is fantastic and will in time bring us to heights we have not experienced in the Premier League era. Yet, losing 0-2 at home to Norwich is unacceptable.
Some on here will criticise the nature of the cup etc, but most of us want silverware. If we were playing Europa league football I'd be happy about going out, because our squad cant support this. But we are not, and can focus on multiple domestic competitions.
Koeman has to take part of the blame for so many changes and so do the players who came in and played poorly. I think Deulofeu should have come in, Funes Mori for Jags and Valencia necessarily in for Lukaku. And perhaps Holgate for Coleman, because he deserves it. But that should have been the extent of the changes, especially as McCarthy was not fit and could not have been exchanged for Gueye.
Going out will not define our season. Leicester offer a perfect example of that from last season. But it has robbed us of a chance for silverware and made impact on our considerable momentum. Momentum and form is a big thing in football, and more important than fitness at this stage of the season.
I think we changed too much yesterday, wanted it too little and more rightly punished. Hopefully next year we will have the depth of quality to cope with more changes, but mistakes were made yesterday.
38 Posted 21/09/2016 at 12:31:34
First season, he knows we need strength in depth. To attract that quality, we need European football and a high profile league position. He knows we have a team, but not a squad to compete for top six and handle cup runs going into February onwards.
Next season will see a more balanced squad and greater desire on all fronts. This season he is going for a high league position. I trust Koeman to deliver and I bet the players believe it too.
39 Posted 21/09/2016 at 12:42:51
That is four games: one in October, another in November and then the two legs of the semifinal in January. That shouldn't stretch any squad too, much should it?
40 Posted 21/09/2016 at 12:58:53
There is still the FA Cup anyway. We have to be realistic. This is Koeman's first season in charge, and after last season, he has a big job to turn us around. I don't think anyone of us would have seen us unbeaten with 4 wins in the league after 5 games, would we?
He is doing a great job so far, but I think he needs to drop Barkley for a while. There is something not right with him at the moment. Yesterday was a minor blip for us, in a competition we historically appear to be doomed in anyway. Like Koeman says, let's move on to Bournemouth and concentrate on 3 points. I like his honesty, so refreshing. NSNO!!!
41 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:04:11
42 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:15:19
43 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:18:15
All-in-all, I can't fault the team selection last night. If we start losing league games, then I might start worrying, but not before.
44 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:27:44
I remember last season, the RS going to Southampton and wiping the floor with them in the same competition. Koeman won the league game there though after going two goals down. He's a fast learner. We still have the right man and a lot of reasons to be hopeful.
45 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:28:13
Most worrying for me was that, without Lukaku, we look dreadful. No focal point and no-one ever in the box. Valencia didn't look like a striker to me, and Kone doesn't even look like a professional so that is a major concern.
46 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:31:00
A manager can only pick the team, he can't force Geri or Ross to put away very scoreable chances.
Not gonna throw my toys out of the pram after what hopefully turns out to be one little blip. Maybe it'll give him an insight into what we need come January too.
47 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:32:55
He can't publicly admit he made a mistake when his stock is so high because it might diminish his ability to lead, furthermore we had enough play and opportunities to win the game and so he didn't do anything wrong tactically tactics don't determine a players' inability to kick the thing in the net.
He made a call to try to rest players and keep others happy, a good call in my opinion for the bigger picture and I always judge performances on chances created rather than the result because that's all you can influence from the sides.
Stats (Everton / Norwich):
Possession: 58% / 42%
Shots: 17 / 7
Shots on Target: 6 / 2
Corners: 7 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 13
48 Posted 21/09/2016 at 13:47:37
I am 55 and play 5- or 6-a-side twice a week. An hour on Mondays and 90 mins on Thursdays. It's mixed age range and hard graft. We play every week and only miss Xmas week. We have no physios, don't do any stretching or warm downs.
Therefore these athletes can certainly play every bloody game. Let them have their feet up during the week if necessary, but don't give me this resting crap!
Teams need momentum. Winning is key to this, and over the years when "clever" managers tinker with the winning side and they lose, that momentum is lost.
Now Bournemouth have seen us lose and they won't be intimidated by our strong start to the season. If we had put Norwich to the sword, those Cherries would be halfway to losing already.
49 Posted 21/09/2016 at 14:02:56
I'm 62 and keep fit. But I don't put myself under the stresses that top footballers do. There's a big difference between amateurs playing 5-a-side and professionals competing at top level.
51 Posted 21/09/2016 at 14:36:59
I don't think you can blame the manager for too many changes as at least four of the six were like for like or enforced. The team should not lack in quality with Holgate and Funes Mori playing and Lukaku was injured. Also, Deulofeu has played a few times this season so shouldn't be rusty.
On paper, the team should have been good enough to win, especially at home we seem to have had an off night, which happens. Better here than in the Premier League.
Shame to be out but, given our lack of squad depth, I think if we weren't going to win it, we may as well go out early. We can't bring in any new faces till January so the less football we play till then the better.
Hope to see a good response against Bournemouth. Three points on Saturday and the season's back on track.
52 Posted 21/09/2016 at 14:47:19
Remember the '70s and '80s? How many games did those lads play, in worse conditions, heavy pitches, heavier balls, with defenders willing to snap their legs off! All that with a few pints after the game too!
53 Posted 21/09/2016 at 14:58:22
No matter how fit you are, your body needs plenty of recovery time if you want to perform to the best of your ability and stay injury free and healthy.
I expect us to beat Bournemouth handily on Saturday.
54 Posted 21/09/2016 at 14:59:44
Bournemouth will be the second best team we will have played, come Saturday. That's how easy this run has been.
More polarising to come on Sunday. The next Leicester or same old shite.
Get a grip.
55 Posted 21/09/2016 at 16:46:46
Heavier balls? I could be wrong, but isn't it the regulation size (5) and weight for a football, pretty much the same now as it was then? When I was a kid I remember using leather balls with a bladder, and you rubbed dubbin into the leather, then laced it once you'd inflated the bladder. But then it got heavy if it rained, despite the dubbin, and if you happened to head it against the laced part, you felt it! But they went out by the late 60s/70s.
I think at the professional level the training and frequency of match appearances are more controlled, to prevent injuries from repetitive strain. Partly because of the money in the game, to protect the prized assets, the players. That's my reading of it anyway, the reason for all the sports science stuff, having Kluitenberg et al.
56 Posted 21/09/2016 at 16:52:41
Cleverley and Valencia seem to be the only two that haven't played for us all season, which is a big difference to Norwich making 10 changes. What this tells me is we dominated the game but couldn't score and whilst pressing hard for the equaliser, Norwich scored an amazing second goal as we chased the game.
Shit happens in football sometimes and it doesn't mean we suddenly have big problems. What it does show I suppose is that, without Rom, we struggle up front to put away chances. By the way, did you see Bony's miss for Stoke at the weekend. The lad looks so slow and awkward.
57 Posted 21/09/2016 at 17:46:50
Koeman to my mind wasn't that bothered about the game, gave lip service about taking it seriously then the team performed like it has regularly over the last two seasons. Cut it which ever way you want, the reason we don't win things is games last night.
Several players were woeful, a handful okay but as a team, the shape wasn't there and physically we were weakGeri, Cleverley, Valencia and to some extent Barkley lack physicality and that leaves us short in the attacking third.
I'm very disappointed by the result and will watch the FA Cup with interest. Many of our better players maybe on AfCoN duty and I expect a much better showing than last night.
If there is a sliver lining to last night, if Koeman didn't know already, 'cos he should, Funes Mori & Cleverley need shipping out; Deulofeu & Valencia are squad players at best; and Ross is trying to flush his career down the pan.
I have to say, why Tom Davies wasn't included was beyond me. Expect nothing but a win Saturday.
58 Posted 21/09/2016 at 17:51:12
Having said all that, I agree with those who've commented that this is Koeman's first evasive response. We didn't 'do everything to score'. Promising moves kept breaking down and there was not enough speed or intensity in our play.
Whilst I'm still happy for Cleverley, Lennon and Deulofeu to play support roles, the lack of an effective back-up to Rom was glaringly evident. Though we'll need to see more of him, at the moment it doesn't look like Valencia can lead a line.
As someone commented above, Kone should have been brought on earlier alongside Valencia, rather than swapping the two wingers.
59 Posted 21/09/2016 at 18:16:06
Jags and Williams have only played 3 full games together, and we have not looked like conceding (other than the foul on Saturday) in those games.
Barry rested with Tom Davies in alongside Idrissa would have been okay. A solid backbone would have allowed for the not-as-fluent forward line to try and nick a goal.
The goals conceded, IMO, were preventable with the defensive 4 from the last few games. And at 0-0 we are still in the tie.
60 Posted 21/09/2016 at 18:54:31
61 Posted 21/09/2016 at 19:05:26
If we had got the early penalty, and I've seen more given than not (but not for us), then things may have been different, as Norwich would have had to bin their game plan.
Also, if the EFL Milk Leyland Back Axle Cup is so unimportant, why not throw in the youngsters? Unsy did it, against Norwich, in the last game of the season and didn't that surprise a lot of people!
It is what Arsenal used to do and they've won it a few times down the years. It would be a bit more honest than giving the second rate fringe players false hopes. They might even have won!
62 Posted 21/09/2016 at 19:22:09
Is that why we are in second? Apart from the luck we have ( apart from Spurs), played some weak teams. Is our luck about to run out? Well I certainly hope not because we need it!
With the quality of the fringe players I can't see us retaining the rhythm and momentum, should any of our more talented players get injured. Or when the AFCON comes around, what are we going to do?
Against Norwich we looked like a Championship side! And THEY made drastic changes. With the arrival of Williams, Gana, Stekelenburg, they have already shown that they are consistent reliable players. In fact they are playing like they have been here since the academy. Right now, they are oozing consistency and touches of Class.
The same can't be said for Barkley, Deulofeu, Mirallas Lennon, Cleverly, and a host of others that I am too tired to type. So it would seem to me that there still a lot of bodies to be shipped out if we are to achieve our assault on the top 6/4 positions. Koeman knows that deep down, but he is not going to come out and say it publicly for fear of destabilising the squad.
63 Posted 21/09/2016 at 19:28:50
Frankly, every day that Martinez is not coach is, to me, a sunny day.
64 Posted 21/09/2016 at 20:16:27
The team just didn't perform which is strange when the 'fringe' players should have been trying to impress. Maybe these players are simply not good enough.
65 Posted 21/09/2016 at 21:00:16
Funes Mori is no left back. Barkley, Cleverley and Deulofeu were all poor. Valencia seems a strange choice as cover. Lennon looked lost on the left.
I'd sooner have started with more first XI and won the game, then subbed as necessary. Wembley is overrated.
66 Posted 21/09/2016 at 21:43:08
67 Posted 21/09/2016 at 23:18:37
One of the few games I have left not feeling we were unlucky, just a bad day at the office by too many; Coleman was the standout player.
Full team Saturday and I have expect Everton to pick up the points, a striker in January is a must.
68 Posted 22/09/2016 at 00:23:20
I'd add that Gana was impressive for the first 55 minutes or so, but playing centre-mid almost on his own took its toll and he eventually faded.
69 Posted 22/09/2016 at 01:29:19
70 Posted 22/09/2016 at 02:00:00
I said after the game, it was "unlucky" and we didn't finish. That's it in a nutshell, we didn't play badly. There was none of the alarming lack of work rate seen in BBS's later months. The effort was there. We had our chances. We didn't play poor football. We didn't finish and we couldn't buy a break.
They had a fluke-ish goal and a goal that frankly was an absolutely tear-inducing beautiful shot / finish.
The one thing that does piss me off a bit that Koeman was guilty of : Why oh why do managers not start their best 11, and then with a lead, make substitutions to save legs? That frankly drives me mad.
But the team put out was good enough to beat Norwich, and if those two exact sides play one another 10 times we win 9 of them; 10 percent of the time you're unlucky. It happens. It's sport.
And football is the cruelest of all sports in that regard.
71 Posted 22/09/2016 at 05:58:35
It doesn't matter how we played or how many chances we had, we were not good enough that's what he should say. Oh and an apology to the fans that paid to see the game.
72 Posted 22/09/2016 at 06:07:15
Brilliant, we should all have tee-shirts with that emblazoned across the front.
73 Posted 22/09/2016 at 06:35:16
Stats (Everton / Norwich):
Possession: 58% / 42%
Shots: 17 / 7
Shots on Target: 6 / 2
Corners: 7 / 2
Fouls: 7 / 13
Reserves 6 / 10
Goals 0 / 2
Team in the next round Norwich.
The only stats that matter are games won; beat Bournemouth on Saturday... everyone's happy.
74 Posted 22/09/2016 at 07:11:30
I remember stating that my faith in him had took a real dent that night and while it took me till the following December to have it confirmed, that defeat still annoyed. We want silverware and we are now realistically down to only 1 competition this season to achieve that so those downgrading any competition want to get their 'Top 4/6 is real success' ideas in perspective.
Unlike before, I don't particularly blame Koeman for the team selection. The team we put out should have beaten Norwich's reserves and the players need to take most of the criticism.
What annoyed me was the first sign of a Martinez 'excuse' reply by Koeman to it. I've been impressed with his press utterances up to this point but this time he ducked out. Maybe it's all advanced psychology to nurture the fringe players and some of our so called stars but an admission that we were very poor would have been more appropriate this time.
So a first chink in Koeman's armour in my view. Still very excited about him and our season to come but I'm now looking to see if this was a one off or whether the stench of BS that surrounded Martinez is still around when the results don't go our way.
75 Posted 22/09/2016 at 07:40:34
Disappointingly, I fell into the 'not too bothered about losing in the League Cup' camp, which is ridiculous because a cup is a cup. We don't win too many. As people have said we should field our strongest team available. Winning is important. Keeps momentum going.
My reaction to this defeat is I suppose because I assume better things are ahead.
Then you see the draw last night and you see top Premier League teams drawn against each other. And if we had the same number in the draw as Norwich, depending how they do numbers, we could have had a favourable draw. Then taken Hull in the final!
So now I feel annoyed at our defeat!
By the way. I would buy Naismith. He left to play football more regularly. I would stick him in the U23s as punishment for knocking us out.
76 Posted 22/09/2016 at 09:53:37
I think you just have to accept it was just one of those games were you have all the possession and most of the chances but just lose to the other team taking their two chances. If Everton make a habit of losing like this, then yes the alarm bells will ring.
77 Posted 22/09/2016 at 12:49:02
78 Posted 22/09/2016 at 14:25:08
79 Posted 22/09/2016 at 15:14:11
80 Posted 22/09/2016 at 16:33:07
I've only watched the highlights on the club site, but it seemed we had plenty of chances, but couldn't finish. Deulofeu should have 6 goals this campaign. Barkley the same. They, on the other hand, had 1 and half chances, and converted both.
Should've won it, didn't. The manager has a better understanding of his team. Move on.