In an interview with Gary Lineker on BBC2's Premier League Show last night, Ronald Koeman discussed his hopes and plans for Everton over the next three years, his love for the game and how he feels constructive criticism is the only way to really improve his players.
Lineker visited Koeman at Finch Farm and, after chatting about his glittering club career and remarkable scoring record as a player, he asked why the Dutchman left Southampton this past summer.
“The main reason why [I left Southampton] was that we did not [come to an] agreement over the last year of my contract. I mentioned to the club at that time that I'd like to continue and during the season we would have time to discuss my future.
“But there was no way for the club to do that. They came back with a new offer and I was really disappointed [with it].
“And Everton came and you start to listen to the club, to the project, to the people and I said, OK, I think it's a good time to move now because it's maybe impossible to keep that kind of level at Southampton and you know that anything can happen in football.
Asked what he thinks Everton can achieve, Koeman reiterated what he has consistently maintained since arriving and that is that his immediate aim is to qualify for the Europa League but that Continental football's Holy Grail should be the club's aim within three years.
“For this season, Everton will fight for European football but to be the big ones in the Premier League will be … I don't say impossible, but it will be very difficult.
“I think for next season, we need to improve. We will get new signings in and that makes the team stronger. And then in the final of three years, we need to be close to playing in the Champions League.
“At the moment I think we are maybe at 60% of the whole project. If we qualified for Europe [it would make me happy]. Also, how is the team, playing? Are the changes we are making to the team improving us until the end of the season.
“But finally it's all about if you win, that you get a high position and that's the target we have.
On loving football, anger in defeat and Ross Barkley
Koeman admitted that he started to think about going into management towards the end of his playing career, saying that coaching was the obvious choice for someone who simply wanted to stay in the game.
“I love football. I think it's the best in life,” Koeman said. “The worst is when you lose a game.
“I can be angry in the dressing room. I think that's what you need to show — [things are not] always good. It's good to be critical to improve every player. I think that's the best way for the player to improve.”
“I think if you have reasons to be critical,” the manager explained in specific reference to Ross Barkley, “why not? Ross has a lot of qualities but the most important thing for him now is to express that quality on the pitch.
“It's not about just making a good pass or having one shot; he needs to be more clinical.
“[It's up to us] to show Ross clips and to talk with the player, to give him the support, to give him the exercises to improve and finally it's always up to the player. But it's a process with Ross and when people ask me about him I don't talk about a talented player because he is being playing now for Everton for four or five years.
Linkeker raised the issue of Everton's recent stumble in the Premier League which has seen an impressive unbeaten start that yielded four wins from five dissipate in recent weeks.
Koeman remains relaxed about the situation, however, in the context of his three-year plan.
“I expected this,” he admitted. “I didn't ever think we could go through the season in [that way]. It's not always about positions in the table. We are still the best of the rest and that's what we need and like to be now but [it's not] what we need for next season and not for the third season of the project.
“I'm a bit disappointed about the 5-0 defeat against Chelsea but we need to accept it and we need to continue.
“It's a tough job,” he concluded when Lineker described the expectancy that is placed on managers' shoulders these days, “but it's really enjoyable. You can be sacked; all the big coaches will one day be sacked. No-one can survive… except (Sir Alex) Ferguson! But I agree that clubs don't really have that patience for the manager.”
Reader Comments (27)
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1 Posted 17/11/2016 at 07:51:43
But I have to admit, I really love him as a manager!
He is exactly what we need at Everton & we are in the best possible position to improve – with him, Moshiri & Walsh.
Depay, Sheiderlin, Brahimi, L Kone in January.
Butland, Van Dijk, J Lukaku, Strootman, A Ayew, Gabbiadini in the summer...
(A bit of wishful thinking... but why not?)
2 Posted 17/11/2016 at 09:52:26
He's the man to take us forward.
3 Posted 17/11/2016 at 09:59:09
How can I be watching an interview between an ex-Everton great (Okay, only the one season, but some season!) and the current Everton manager and be bored out of my brain?
Modern football culture – man, how dry and tedious they all are. I could have predicted almost every word that was spoken. Not that I care a shred if the results start to pick up.
4 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:07:54
The real issue is exactly that. If we qualify for the Europa League this season and improve next season and challenge for the top 4 etc – great. If we stagnate around mid-table next season then, assuming he has received financial backing in the transfer market, it will be time for a change as he will have failed.
5 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:08:59
Given that (and other comments in the piece), he seems to accept that our current level in the league is roughly about it for this season and / but that he's reliant on new signings before next season. And only in the third season does he expect us to be challenging for Champs League.
I'm setting my expectations at that pace and that level.
6 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:20:33
Early days for a man who inherited a lacklustre team. A team low on confidence and he and they need some time. We need to stop bitching like other clubs' supporters do and get fully behind this man and the new team around him. As already alluded to here, if he comes up short (which I doubt he will) then we move on without him.
Thanks for all the positive posts. A pleasant change. Nothing wrong with venting your spleen now and again but it's been relentless of late. Bring on Swansea.
7 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:23:58
There's a lot of surgery required to address the core issues at this club and we need to accept that it's a 3-year project.
He needs a lest a summer of transfer activity before he can begin to be judged.
8 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:37:37
I wanted a wholesale clear-out of players who have failed to progress or show the desired level of commitment to the club or who are just poo. Making those changes will take time, I suppose, so time will rightly be given.
What winds me up (and Koeman too I suspect) is half-hearted displays from supposed professional footballers. A certain level of commitment is a minimum requirement – hell, even the crap teams of the '90s showed more commitment than some current players.
An uncommitted display from our players widens the already large gulf I feel whilst watching rich-players who no longer represent the working class fanbase. Show proper commitment on the field and I can stomach the fact that some players see us as only a stepping stone.
I like Koeman – I'll like him even more if he can foster a fully-committed winning mentality at the club.
9 Posted 17/11/2016 at 10:53:19
Every Evertonian should have 'Patience' as their middle name!
10 Posted 17/11/2016 at 11:51:36
On the pitch yes there needs to be a good clear out, as many have said. I think our current defence and goalkeeper are good enough for the immediate future.
We have the current Dutch goalkeeper, Irish & Welsh captain and Jags our most capped England as our club captain. Those three alone are all leaders and care about winning as does Barry and Gana.
Left back has become a bit of a problem as Baines seems to be out injured a lot now and Oviedo is just an okay replacement so that could be our first real weak link in my eyes.
Barry & Gana are both great (although ageing of course Barry) and McCarthy and Besic are more than able replacements when fit.
It's from here on we really need urgent replacements, I feel, as Cleverly, Mirallas, Deulofeu & probably Lennon are just not good enough and don't like they will even try to up their efforts for the new boss. Barkley will continue to frustrate us as we know of his potential but I think he's worth keeping in the team as he will score and create goals. Bolasie definitely has the talent, strength and potential and has already set up a lot of chances and is well capable of scoring more.
Whilst Koeman's signings have done well so far, I am a little worried at some of the players they were trying to bring in. Kone has been poor for Sunderland (though maybe he wants away). Sissoko hasn't done much since he signed for Spurs. The strikers we looked at bringing in have all been poor.
I hope they have a few decent goal scoring midfielders lined up for January but I'm happy to give Koeman plenty of time to change things around before judging him yet.
11 Posted 17/11/2016 at 12:03:39
Having said that, you can see what Koeman is trying to do and that is, bring in a 'winning mentality'. That is the most difficult aspect to inculcate in a team as a manager. But he is demanding the best – from the owners, from the players and from himself.
He won't do it in a day, a month or a year. He needs time and lots of support. With the new owner indicating his willingness to spend money (per his own interview with the media, there is roughly about £80-100 million of unspent money - money that was supposed to be spent on Koulibaly, Sissoko and Perez in the summer).
Given that and his track record, there is no reason to believe that Everton will not be competing with the 'big boys' very soon. Have patience, and he will sort out this team.
12 Posted 17/11/2016 at 12:07:34
But for people who say there is no change from Martinez's team, well if nobody has noticed Gueye putting in MotM performances, week-in & week-out, you can't be watching the same team as I am. Also he is trying to play at a higher tempo but these things will take more than a couple of months, just look at the difference in our neighbours from last season to this.
I also think that, being a great player as Koeman was, I guess sometimes they can't understand why players can't do what he would say were simple things. I think a lot of the truly great players struggled in management because of this: Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Alan Ball – all great players but never reached the top in management. So that may frustrate him at times.
But I think maybe as fans we need to show more faith in him publicly than we have so far, me included in the last comment. I do believe he will get things right and after 3 years be in a far better place than when he took over.
13 Posted 17/11/2016 at 12:47:40
Our present stadium, which I love, is barely fit for purpose. A new one is being planned. It may be that capital generated by the sale of Stones and Lukaku will pay for a significant part of it. If it is a stadium of some magnificence, I can live with that.
The manager has a huge task on his hands. Personally, I would find it easier to fully take to him if he showed a bit more enthusiasm for "the project" rather than seeming to be intrigued by it, but he has his own style and he has earned the right to it.
Patience is indeed required, and so is optimism.
14 Posted 17/11/2016 at 13:00:05
Optimism... I – for one – will have to work on!
15 Posted 17/11/2016 at 13:04:46
Getting dumped out of the League Cup by the mighty giants of Norfolk didn't impress me. Getting thoroughly twatted 5-0 by Chelsea didn't impress me. Saying things which I would have preferred for him not to have done hasn't impressed me.
His side have made a good start to the season. He has full-bloodedly tackled the thorny issue of Ross Barkley.
So, far as I'm aware Koeman has sweet FA to do with any new stadium issues, so whatever happens in that regard I'll neither praise nor criticise him.
Sample size far too small to cast judgement. Work in progress.
16 Posted 17/11/2016 at 13:10:21
17 Posted 17/11/2016 at 13:11:32
18 Posted 17/11/2016 at 13:17:19
So yeah, choose hard talk, straight talking, brutal honesty if you want. I'm predicting a long season under this regime.
19 Posted 17/11/2016 at 14:01:26
"You make your headlines and you take [what I say] out of context... We want to show Romelu that we are Everton and we will be bigger and we will fight for titles"
Can we put this to bed now, please? Get behind the team. Stop being hyper-critical and negative.
20 Posted 17/11/2016 at 14:12:14
I do understand the expectation is desperate. I'm desperate too (let's not do Yozzer). It's right that people get angry and this is a great platform to do that from but I do believe we are on the cusp of something good, which will lead to something great, I'm convinced of that.
I have not had this feeling of optimism since the '80s, not truly had it before but I have now; things seem to be slotting into place... but you're right, Phil, we all need a little patience. Roll on Saturday.
21 Posted 17/11/2016 at 15:20:50
Okay so he has come out and back-pedalled – I am sure somebody at the club has had a word or two.
It's too early to judge, I would agree, but the quality of football played has been dire including the games we have won.
22 Posted 17/11/2016 at 16:22:48
Looking forward to Saturday.
23 Posted 17/11/2016 at 20:03:16
24 Posted 17/11/2016 at 20:33:25
Throw out the Chelsea shellacking, and we had the second-best defensive record in the league over the first ten matches (a pretty decent sample size), while consistently seeing out toughly contested results. Closing out a 2-0 win over West Ham without incident might not seem like a big deal, but seeing as how we managed to turn a late 2-0 advantage into a 3-2 defeat last year, that's progress in my book.
And for what it's worth, we're unbeaten at Goodison so far this year, at least in terms of league play – it's a step in the right direction.
Progress is slow, yet sure. But I'm glad people can point to Leicester City as evidence for their God-given right to instant gratification. :-P
25 Posted 17/11/2016 at 21:04:43
You are being rather selective in your analysis, aren't you? You talk about the West Ham game as some kind of major step forward and then ask us to forget the Chelsea game away.
You might be craving to identify great improvements under Koeman but it's not evident whatsoever to my mind having attended all the home games, it's been pretty grim to watch.
26 Posted 18/11/2016 at 03:10:30
I'm not claiming we're on the fast track to the Champions League this season or anything; what I take umbrage with is the attitude that there's been zero sign of progress, when that simply isn't true.
There's no way you could watch the matches against Tottenham, West Brom, Stoke, Man City, West Ham, etc... and not concede that there was far more defensive character and grit on display than there was under Martinez. One poor result against Chelsea doesn't wipe all that out.
Also, if you've gone to all the home games, then you've seen three wins and a pair of draws. To be honest, I can think of grimmer fates.
27 Posted 18/11/2016 at 06:02:04
With the exception of the West Ham game, the quality of football has crap at home. Defensive solidity really? Yes, the whole team is generally playing a lot deeper and therefore I'm not surprised we have conceded less because we aren't attacking that much. When we do attack, it tends to be on the long ball. Do you really want our default style to be counter attacking at home?
I'm not some kind of mad idealist or apologist for Martinez who got the balance totally wrong and was rightly sacked. I just fear we have gone from one extreme to the other.