Ronald Koeman expressed his satisfaction at another win and another clean sheet for Joel Robles and the Everton defence, even if he was irked by the way his team dropped their intensity in the second half against Sunderland yesterday.
The Blues scored a goal in each half as Idrissa Gueye registered for the first time and Romelu Lukaku equalled Duncan Ferguson's goalscoring tally of 60 Premier League goals for the club but they had to survive a scare 12 minutes from the end before Lukaku killed the contest.
Jermaine Defoe came within inches of cancelling out Gueye's sweeping finish at one end when his shot bounced off the crossbar and in front of the line, while the Senegalese's dogged defending at the other from the resulting corner allowed Kevin Mirallas to send Lukaku away on a rampaging run that ended in the second goal.
It ensured a 2-0 win for Everton and represented a ninth game unbeaten, evidence the manager sees of his team's increasing strength but he was critical of the fact that they were still only a goal up heading into the closing stages.
“It's three points, another clean sheet,” Koeman said. “[I was] really pleased by the first 45 minutes [but] not really happy about the second 45.
“I think we dropped the tempo. We played more back than forwards and one lucky moment… the shot from Defoe, I think. It was from a foul on Morgan [Schneiderlin], recognised by the referee after the game, but we did it to ourselves because we dropped the tempo in the second half.
“[Idrissa's] goal was important. During the week we did a lot [of work on] finishing because I think we need more goals from our midfield players and it was a really good goal. A really nice attack and a really good finish.”
Asked what effect the result might have had on the European picture — Manchester United weren't in League action but their EFL Cup win in the Final over Southampton brought closer the prospect of the seventh place team in the Premier League qualifying for the Europa League.
“There's a gap between us and those teams [above us] but there's still 12 games to play and you never know,” the Dutchman continued. “We need to continue and keep the momentum.
“The team behind us is West Brom at the moment and they're having a really strong season. But in two weeks we play West Brom at home and we are in good shape.
“The team is strong, we're playing some good football and we have a lot of clean sheets and that makes a lot of points.”
Reader Comments (39)
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1 Posted 27/02/2017 at 07:38:38
Spurs up next and we should not fear them after all we beat city and the Arse so if we turn up we can match them. Rom needs to start banging them in against the better teams.
I feel we will just miss out on any Europe places unless we keep this momentum up and Manure slip up. As Koeman say's with 12 games to go you never know.
The Goodison faithful need to do their bit as the away fans always show up in good voice. All winnable games but next season is the real test for Koeman and his merry bunch of buys and trys..
2 Posted 27/02/2017 at 07:46:11
Koeman will know that every player will need to be bang on form for next Sunday's trip to White Hart Lane, a performance like Saturday won't see us through.
3 Posted 27/02/2017 at 07:54:17
It's all about picking up points and that's exactly what we've been doing since New Year. We've had a few dull performances and not played brilliantly but seem to have got into the groove of not coming away from the game without something - and the guaranteed way of doing that is keeping a clean sheet - something our former manager refused to acknowledge despite it being one of the most basic principles in football.
Let's see if we can keep it up against Spurs...
4 Posted 27/02/2017 at 08:20:20
Makes a change after "gunfight" Moyes and "phenomenal" Martinez.
5 Posted 27/02/2017 at 08:39:45
Two central defenders and an attacking midfielder/striker are all that is required.
As for the next match against Spurs,it will be tough. They are on top form and one of the best teams in the league at the moment. They are very well organised and very physical.
It will be a good measure of our progress.
6 Posted 27/02/2017 at 09:11:35
I agree - the priorities are definitely two CB's & an attacker.
Michael Keane & Daley Blind would be my two choices for CB.
Daley Blind allows us so much freedom - as he can play CB, LB & CDM if necessary. Plus he has a great delivery.
He'd be great in a back three:
Keane Williams Blind
& is an upgrade on Mori.
Which means Holgate & Mori would be on the bench.
Holgate covering RCB & RB
Mori covering LCB & LB
Moving onto an attacker -
It simply HAS TO BE Gylfi Sigurdsson!
He is absolute quality & will push Ross to improve.
Other than that, the other places we need is striker - there are so many options available in the summer.
Dolberg, Perez, Janssen, Iheanacho.
And then for the future, I think Shaw would be a great buy - also worked with Koeman before at Southampton, like Schneiderlin.
Schmeichel in at keeper I would love to see too.
But priorities are the three you mentioned!
7 Posted 27/02/2017 at 09:26:11
8 Posted 27/02/2017 at 09:29:30
Keane is a clear choice at CB and the need for a 10 & second quality striker is clear for all to see.
Can't see Valencia being kept on based on performances to date & this would be a backward move given that we have just cleared the majority of the players not good enough to take us forward.
Not sure about wanting Schmeichel as I'm not clear on his involvement in Ranieri's disgraceful sacking at Leicester.
9 Posted 27/02/2017 at 09:38:41
And while we are on the subject of fantasy manager, I'd be very happy with Daley Blind from the manure. Rather than a cast off, I'm not sure what he's done wrong to have fallen out of favour. He looks like the sort of player Blues would take to.
10 Posted 27/02/2017 at 10:16:00
12 Posted 27/02/2017 at 10:36:55
It's said about every team that ever was !
13 Posted 27/02/2017 at 10:40:54
14 Posted 27/02/2017 at 10:57:42
15 Posted 27/02/2017 at 11:19:20
16 Posted 27/02/2017 at 11:25:42
18 Posted 27/02/2017 at 11:55:02
I am not talking about somebody with potential either, or a squad player. I would love us to break the bank for somebody like Van Dijk or Koulibaly. It makes a real statement. Ashley Williams has been good since he came in but he is in his 30's, Jagielka has fell out of favour and is in his 30's. We need a strong spine, with a commanding CB we would have one.
I am not against giving Pennington a go, but in the games I have seen him in he hasn't shown the potential of a Holgate or Galloway. Maybe people will disagree, but he doesn't look like the sort of quality we will be looking for in the next few years.
19 Posted 27/02/2017 at 11:59:23
20 Posted 27/02/2017 at 12:36:25
When I first read read that, I though you were talking about his coiffure. And I thought you were a Mystic Meg that could tell fortunes from partings in one's hair. I'm fortunate to still have a good head of hair at my age, although it is floppy (sadly, the way of many other things) - can you tell me anything from that?
21 Posted 27/02/2017 at 12:38:53
22 Posted 27/02/2017 at 12:40:27
24 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:11:14
25 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:18:39
However 3 pts is 3pts. It's a sign of improvement when you don't play at your best and still get the win.
Robles is proving to be a quality goalkeeper, and showing why he deserves to be no.1. Lookman is still adapting to playing at this level, and it shows. But I believe he has the quality, and will be much better next season.
Spurs will be a really tough game, especially with the form Kane is in. Let's hope Lukaku shows him who is the top striker in the league
26 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:55:35
I hope Lukaku gets good service and is the difference in the game.
27 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:57:01
Koeman played at the very highest level and understands what is required to be competitive at the top. Results trump everything, but if you want to get up into the CL places you have to maintain you best level of performance as often as possible. He may be a cold bigger, but he's a winner and he seems to be building a team that can compete. Let's hope he can find some quality additions to boost the squad in the summer
28 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:57:22
29 Posted 27/02/2017 at 13:59:47
30 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:10:23
31 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:19:14
I'll get my own coat, and leave quietly
32 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:20:50
33 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:24:18
When there's talk of 3 players turning us into top 4 material, I think we have probably 3 players (maybe 4) who are at that level. Add the 3 other players and that doesn't give us the 16 or 17 players we need.
It's going to be a long process, far more than two seasons and our hands will be tied without Champions League to offer to the best players.
As a sidenote, Ranieri had that carrot and still couldn't get that level of player, and missing out on Idrissa Gueye (who I'm sure Steve Walsh had touted to him) when he knew Kante was going is criminal to my mind.
34 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:32:52
Means nothing really I guess
35 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:35:14
Mike, that makes me tremble.
36 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:37:28
What really impresses me about Ronald is he understands the need for ruthlessness, yet he still dislays the motivational qualities that the players need to feed off on a daily basis. Consequently, every player in the squad must feel and play to the very best of his ability, knowing that even if he does, there is always someone out there who could be brought in to take over.
There must have been many discussions behind the scenes with the dithering of BK (I suspect) being called to light over the Schneiderlin delayed urchase being for me a deciding factor. I would like to think the the footballing future of Everton is in safe hands with Moshiri and Koeman, and it is starting to look that way. And yes, there is big money being made and spent and there are no sentimental Father Christmas behind the scenes.
Next summer's transfer window will be very interesting. I am not thinking in a sending for its own sake, but selected acquisitions. It may be that youngsters we were looking at to make the cut will fall by the wayside, but that is their challenge.
37 Posted 27/02/2017 at 14:43:09
Gabbiadini, an Everton target in the summer was mysterily over looked in January, and is now scoring goals at great ease, yet, only cost a bargain price of £13 million. What happened there?
39 Posted 27/02/2017 at 17:46:58
I guess we were less forceful in the recent window, as he went to Saints for £14M or £15M (or maybe £13M, as you say).
40 Posted 27/02/2017 at 21:42:28
For me the attributes of a "formidable side" are:
Hard to score against.
Has pace or trickery on the wings.
Has guile and aggression in midfield.
Has the stamina to go 95 minutes.
Has regular goal scorers.
Can handle the physical stuff.
Can finish teams off.
I think we are close to ticking most of those boxes so I am a bit more optimistic than Andrew # 5 and Gareth # 6.
I am of the same as Danny (#18). My view is all we need is a "dominant in the air" 6'-4" centre-half and for Koeman to instill the killer instinct into the players we already have.
41 Posted 27/02/2017 at 22:00:02
42 Posted 28/02/2017 at 12:58:59
At home we have beaten Man City and Arsenal, lost to Liverpool and drew with Spurs and Man Utd but got hammered away to Chelsea. Not a bad record I suppose compared to other seasons.
We are top of the 2017 current form table, like many have said, but I think some people need to take a little bit of a reality check as well. In my eyes, we are not that far behind the top 6 but I do believe we still are the best of the rest. All the clubs above us have been making progress year after year whereas we are only really beginning our journey of rebuilding our club.
When you listen to Arsenal fans who have been a top 2 or 3 side the last 10 years but they are so frustrated they can't push on to the next level. As I've said so often in the past, Spurs are the London version of Everton in my eyes. They have made great progress from moving from a top 7 club to recently being a to 2 or 3 club. They are still not really good enough for European football but they will improve on that too.
That is why I can't understand some people saying things like we need to finish top 4 and not be interested in the Europa League. I would much rather have a good run in the Europa League, gain experience, make more money, bring in better players as they want European experience, even if it means missing out on the top 6 the following year.
Then you can start again and play well in your home league with no European football to distract you like Chelsea and the RS this year.
My point is those top 6 clubs are all very competitive and there's not a lot between them. It will be a tight battle for the top 4 this season, I would imagine, and it might help being out of Europe.
We have to meet them all away except for Chelsea who we have at home so realistically I really can't see us catching 6th place this season but it would be nice to be part of that group for next season.
43 Posted 28/02/2017 at 20:54:23
It's just that, when things appear to be going well for us, I get very enthusiastic about it all.