Boy… don’t the heady days of July seem a long way away now? Everton “winning” the transfer window. The return of the Mersey Millionaires. Talk of a dark-horse run at the top four behind the leadership of Ronald Koeman who would finally have got his players through the door where the summer before he had been left visibly frustrated.
How quickly all that has unravelled. Far from being stronger than when they entered the summer window, the Blues look considerably weaker overall and it’s not just for the want of a striker. Olivier Giroud wouldn’t have been the panacea for this Everton side under Koeman… although this clash with Burnley was one of the few games this season where you could have made the argument that a top-class striker might have made the difference, even if it would be masking problems elsewhere in the side.
Indeed, it’s important to view this defeat in the wider context of a failed transfer window because, with Koeman at last moving towards a more effective formation — he didn’t have the courage to dispense with his two holding midfielders, unfortunately, until more than an hour gone — it laid bare the deficiencies that are at the root of this latest false Evertonian dawn.
This was, as Koeman rightly stated after the game, Everton showing commitment, decent tempo and “aggression” — in his parlance, which seems to translate more as tenacity — in the early going, at least, and it still wasn’t enough. Not by a long way.
Sean Dyche’s assessment that his side wasn’t really troubled in the second half when Everton were chasing the game and enjoying the lion’s share of the possession was fairly damning of how unthreatening this team can be despite £140m spent on new players over the summer.
Koeman bristles when the issue of the Blues’ significant expenditure is raised, offering the rather spurious defence that once the sale of Romelu Lukaku is taken into account, the net spend was only around £45m. As if that somehow makes the situation more palatable; more excusable.
The bald fact remains, however, that Everton did spend an eye-watering amount of money in the expectation that it would move the team forward — closer to the top six not mired in the bottom half dozen clubs in the Premier League with six games gone and struggling in Europe.
And it’s ironic — or, perhaps, it’s a “dog whistle” nod in the direction of the man who nominally runs the recruitment side of things at Everton — that his argument highlights the very glaring fact that Lukaku wasn’t replaced and that the manager’s striking options have been so desperate that in Oumar Niasse he has had to rehabilitate a striker he had written off and put up for sale.
Niasse started a Premier League game for Everton for the first time in a year and a half and, unlike his early appearances in a blue jersey under Roberto Martinez, he didn’t look out of place. Operating alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Senegalese provided energy and directness and the first shot on goal, albeit straight at goalkeeper Nick Pope, after just two minutes, a strong effort following lovely control by his strike partner from Cuco Martina’s cross.
Niasse would also go close six minutes later when he was alert to a looping ball over the top that he toed over the advancing ‘keeper but couldn’t get enough purchase on it to trouble the goal.
Either side of that effort, Gylfi Sigurdsson really should have scored and, perhaps, send this match in a very different direction to the one it eventually took. First, great speed and determination from Calvert-Lewin took him close the Burnley area where he found Nikola Vlasic. The Croat, in the starting XI as reward for his stellar appearance as a substitute against Apollon Limassol on Thursday, eschewed a shot and played Sigurdsson in but the Icelandic midfielder’s shot was tame.
Then, after Niasse collected the ball at the end of another fast-paced Everton move and squared it invitingly, Sigurdsson somehow failed to get a shot away with the goal yawning in front of him.
The home side’s early fire dissipated after that, though, and the visitors, who hadn’t really threatened beyond a 13th minute cross that Jordan Pickford had to parry away, began to settle into a rhythm of their own. In the 21st minute, they took the lead thanks to a 23-pass build-up that eventually carved Everton open down their vulnerable right side.
Martina, already infamous among Blues fans for his poor positional sense, was sucked inside and Vlasic went to sleep as Steven Ward stole to the byline on the overlap and crossed to Jeff Hendrick. The Northern Ireland international showed impressive composure to evade Morgan Schneiderlin and open up the whole goal into which he placed a shot wide of Pickford and Ashley Williams on the line.
Koeman said afterwards that he wasn’t disappointed with his team’s response to going a goal down but they were clearly deflated, mustering little by way of reply beyond Niasse’s shot that bobbled past the far post and a skied effort by Idrissa Gueye that drifted into the Gwladys Street End.
The manager may have deployed two strikers and dropped Wayne Rooney to accommodate the formation but it wasn’t a true 4-4-2 because it was bereft of genuine width. Vlasic has been viewed by some as a winger but he clearly prefers to operate more centrally, as does Sigurdsson who cited being stuck out on the left flank as one of the key reasons why he didn’t succeed the way he wanted to at Tottenham.
If he has any, Martina’s strengths lie more in his ability to get forward than in his defensive work but he rarely, if ever, gets to the by-line, preferring instead to loft in deeper deliveries that are proverbial meat and drink to opposing defenders.
On the opposite flank, Leighton Baines cut a badly isolated figure when he came forward, all too often searching in vain for an inside pass and then struggling to get back to his defensive duties when moves broke down.
Having taken the lead in the first half, Burnley had Everton just where they wanted them and could afford to drop off a bit and dare the Blues to break them down. They made it incredibly difficult for a team as lacking in genuine creativity as their hosts and it wasn’t until almost 20 minutes into the second half that they created a genuine chance. Baines crossed accurately to Niasse but the striker’s header dropped the wrong side of the post.
Koeman withdrew Schneiderlin in favour of Rooney — it was a toss-up between him and Gueye, really, even if it was the latter who had been charged with being the more advanced of the two defensive midfielders — after that and then introduced Tom Davies for Vlasic who had, sadly, vanished from the game almost entirely.
Nine minutes from time, Niasse made way for Sandro Ramirez but there was precious little penetration from Everton as time ticked on and more and blue seats became visible around the ground.
Rooney tried a speculative shot from distance that deflected behind, another he belted from a similar distance into the Park End, while there were appeals for a penalty for unintentional handball by Matt Lowton off Sigurdsson’s cross but referee Jon Moss was unmoved.
Everton did manage a late flurry in the final few minutes when Davies’ attempted curler deflected off a defender’s head before it could threaten the far corner of Pope’s goal. A good move involving Baines and Sigurdsson ended with a decent chance for Calvert-Lewin from close range but his shot lacked power. And an Ashley Williams header in stoppage time bounced off Lowton’s chest and inches past the post.
All in all, though, this was an Everton performance almost unrecognisable from the ones that blew the likes of Manchester City away at Goodison Park earlier in the year.
Ultimately, the transfer strategy was grossly naive. No proper fullback cover was brought in for either side. The centre back position was left badly exposed even though they knew well in advance that Ramiro Funes Mori was going to be out until the end of the year.
Weeks were spent chasing a £45m player who is being played out of position and looks lost while the search for a centre-forward was left to the final few days of the window and ultimately proved — gallingly, unfathomably — a failure.
Just as damning was the apparent absence of any desire to sign a player capable of being the creative heartbeat of the team. If Rooney was to be it, it was a poor miscalculation, likewise Sigurdsson or Davy Klaassen. All three of those players smack of being Koeman signings, not those of Steve Walsh and that muddying of the waters where responsibility for transfer lies isn’t helpful when trying to nail down what went wrong over the summer.
Even allowing for those mis-steps and oversights in the market, there is enough of a nucleus of a squad there to fashion a side capable of beating Burnley… and Limassol… and generally making a better fist of that difficult start to the season than what Evertonians have had to witness.
Ultimately, it is the manager who trains the players, picks the team, sets out the system and is responsible for their state of mind when they cross the white line and Koeman is falling short of expectation on all counts at the moment. If there were signs that it will get better under his stewardship, that would be something but it’s hard to envision anything other than the Koeman project dragging on to an unsatisfying conclusion, whether it’s in two weeks or 20 months.
Everton played their fourth home game in succession looking for a vital win, but lack of all the required ingredients meant a dismal result before the International break, and massive pressure now on the manager Ronald Koeman.
Michael Keane rejoins the team after passing a late fitness test but no place for Phil Jagielka. And Cuco Martina replaced Jonjoe Kenny at right-back, but it was upfront where Koeman selectsed not two but three attacking young players in Vlasic, Niasse and Calvert-Lewin, with Wayne Rooney finally rested to the bench.
Gana Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin were still paired together in front of the leaky defence, where Williams continued to hold a starting place despite his persistent errors. Davy Klaassen sat this one out on the bench.
After the tribute to Alan Ball, who died 10 years ago, Burnley forced Everton to change ends and they kicked off, Baines getting in an early shot before Niasse had a chance to fire in at Pope. But Ward easily beat the hopeless Martina to whip in a really dangerous cross that was put out for an early corner.
A rapid transition saw Calvert-Lewin batting to create a golden chance for Sigurdsson whose shot was simply shameful, bobbling into Pope's hands. A pathetic attempt.
More pressure on Burnley and the ball flying around their area but Everton unable to chisel out a real chance, Baines head . Vlasic was next to go on a great run and play in Niasse but he was taken out along with the ball in an excellent defensive tackle, no penalty.
Next it was a swift attack by Burnley that saw Pickford parry a difficult attempt and Everton attacked again but Geuye's shot was blocked. Burnley were defending well and preventing the Blues possession generating any real chances.
The rabid early pace slackened a little after 15 minutes.But another hopeful move saw Sigurdsson and Niasse link well, but Sigurdsson could not fashion a shot from close range. Vlasic again tried to run through the Burnley defence but was blocked.
Vlasic won a corner after more good work from Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson playing this one deeper, and easily defended. But a better move by Burnley saw Ward cross well again for Hendrick to score far too easily after sending Pickford the wrong way.
The early optimism of a young attacking side drained away visibly as mistakes prevented any meaningful buildup and the Blues looked very uncertain. A session of pass the parcel at the back finally saw Vlasic swing in a good cross but it bounced off Niasse, and Williams was almost beaten by Wood, giving up another corner, that Calvert-Lewin cleared away with a big hoof.
Niasse did well to hold up the ball and set up Gana but his shot screwed well wide. But Hendrick this time crossed unopposed by the absent Martina, thankfully not good enough to find another claret shirt. But Everton possession was horribly hesitant until the groans forced some better play down the left by Baines that won a corner but Schneiderlin could not connect on the dropping ball.
Calvert-Lewin did well to win a Pickford clearance and feed Vlasic but his cross drifted just behind. A good clearance to Calvert-Lewin was judged to have been offside play and after Pickford collected the Wood header, a scrappy attack ended with another blocked shot, this time from Sigurdsson.
Niasse was keen to shoot whenever he got the ball but his low drive was off-target and the turnaround and another dangerous attack ended with a clumsy tackle from Williams and Arfield went down... only to be booked for diving!!! Very harsh from Moss.
Another Burnley attack and a difficult shot from Cork won a corner, headed away by Keane. Niasse got another chance to work his way in from the left but his cross was easily cut out. And it was Burnley that finished the half the stronger, thwarting Everton and giving Koeman a chorus of boos to think about in the break.
No changes after half-time, and Everton continued to look disorganized but tried their best to press the impenetrable Burnley defence, Vlasic's shot blocked. A very poor challenge by Calvert-Lewin on Ward saw him booked early on.
Martina won a corner that Wood headed out and Gueye wasted the ball with a ridiculous shot from way out that wasn't even close. Everton's frustrations were evident in a spell of possession that went absolutely nowhere until Baines launched a deep cross well beyond Pope's goal. Calvert-Lewin was reduced to firing in from distance, easily caught by Pope.
Niasse battled for the ball but did not win a corner. and it got really scrappy, Baines booked for a late tackle on Brady, despite a touch on the ball. Pickford launched to ball all the way to Niasse but Pope came out tp head it away, catching Ward in the process.
The hour mark, and the moment when the manger's text book says substitutions should be made... but not until another corner came to nought. Everton eventually fashioned a move, Baines crossing for Niasse, headed wide. Rooney finally replaced Schneiderlin, a surprising choice by Koeman.
Sigurdsson was the next to fire in a ridiculous shot from far too far out, a complete waste. At the other end, Pickford stopped a wicked cross. Niasse weirdly dummied a good cross from Baines. Martina whipped in a better cross but Calvert-Lewin headed wide.
Davies was the next change for Vlasic. Niasse was repeatedly involved but each time was shown up for his limited ability, while Burnley looked more and more comfortable, as if swatting irritating blue files away from their penalty area.
Rooney picked out Baines brilliantly and the cross was onto Calvert-Lewin's head but so where Popes grasping hands. Better play with Rooney now forward, winning a corner, but it was scrappy stuff that came back in but was again defended away.
Burnley pushed back a little, forcing the play into the Everton half and giving the Burnley defence some respite, as if it were needed. Everton had no answer in terms of intelligent penetration, Davis and Rooney trying but failing to really create an opening, Niasse again trying to drive straight through the bodies standing firm in front of him, his naivety painfully exposed.
Another corner, none of which had threatened, saw Sigurdsson and Davies trying to play the ball in a totally crowded area. Calvert-Lewin tried to play in Niasse who was easily countered again by far more intelligent Burnley defenders.
Gueye again lumbered forward and lashed another totally wasted 'shot', well over. Last move form Koeman: Sandro on for the frankly awful Niasse as Rooney was next to launch one from way too far out — simply terrible football.
Davies and Rooney combined , with a good cross, defended away again but the cross hit Lowton's hand; no penalty. Davies lined up a better shot but again blocked away as Everton finally applied some better pressure. Calvert-Lewin got a low shot off but Pope had it well covered. At least the shots were now on target but far too late in the game.
The minutes ticked away, and the busted flush seemed to have blown itself out, silly fouls by Rooney and Calvert-Lewin showing the frustration into the final 4 minutes of added time.
Williams saw a late header deflected inches the wrong side of the post and Everton huffed and puffed but failed to create a decent chance in a really poor second half.
Everton: Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines [Y:59']; Vlasic (69' Davies), Schneiderlin (64' Rooney), Gueye, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin, Niasse. Subs: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Klaassen, Lookman, Sandro.
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Arfield, Cork, Hendrick (88' Barnes), Defour [Y:40'], Brady; Wood. Subs: Lindegaard, Vokes, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Bardsley, Long.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
From My Seat: Burnley (H)
After the debacle that was Thursday night, we licked our wounds and girded our loins and trouped back to the Grand Old Lady via the Room of Nonsense to sort out team and tactics before heading off to sample the real thing.
We considered what the line-up should be and the formation that would suit and when the team came through we were not far off at all. All were agreed that this was a must win game even this early in the season as apart from wanting the points we needed to build our confidence going into another nauseating international break. Although happy with our line up most of us were more than wary and doubt was never far from the mind. We seem, on paper, to have excellent players but we have yet to see them put in a performance that suggested we were actually ready to play with one another and form a coherent team.
Still we set off toward the ground with some confidence from seeing the line-up. Big Phil called at the far van for a burger as usual but he reckoned they had gone up to over four quid, he was not happy. Next door at the Hat, scarf and badge stand Alan Ball scarfs were on sale. Goodison Road was chocca yet somehow the usual buzz was at best muted and I also noticed armed police at the junction with Spellow lane. A sad sign of the times. To our seats in time for Z-Cars and the first omen of doom showed its head: Burnley won the toss and had us attacking the Gwladys Street first half. The cheek of it!
The game kicked off and we made a bright start and looked like they wanted to get Thursdays game out of their system and show they were better than that and with a two up front we went at them. In the first 15 mins we had the chances to put the game to bed but shocking finishing was to prove disastrous. First Calvert–Lewin showed his promise by controlling well and getting a ball through to our Bournemouth ‘Dead eye dick’ Niasse just yards out but alas he shot straight at the keeper when anything a yard either side would have counted.
The same player then challenged for a bouncing ball and got it over the keeper but a Burnley defender booted the ball to safety. Then our big money by Sigurdsson contrived to miss TWO gilt edge chances. Again Calvert–Lewin made a good direct run and set up the chance which from my seat he seemed to scuff and lose power and the ball merely rolled to the keeper then Niasse played him in just yards from goal and somehow he contrived not to get a shot away.
I said to my mate ‘These misses could cost us’ and on 20 mins Burnley set off on a passing movement that we seemed content to keep in front of us and await our chance to win the ball. Snag was we let them keep coming and full back Ward made an overlap and crossed low across the box to an unmarked Hendrick, Schneiderlin charged at him to intervene but Hendrick just moved the ball from him and continued at speed without the ball. Hendrick then unchallenged picked his spot and that was how we came to be 0-1 down.
Now we were playing like a team who had lost a fifty pound note and found a five pence piece. Passing backwards and sideways. Taking outrageous shots from distance that were I have to say embarrassing and it was no wonder there were Boos all around the ground on the half-time whistle.Half-time: 0-1
The atmosphere in bogs and bars was of an uncharitable nature with one fan shouting ‘There is something rotten in this club’ and he got little or no reaction to that outburst.
We thought a change or two at the break might help galvanise us but, as the players emerged, it was as we were.
That second half was a mess; we struggled to put two passes together and Burnley didn’t deviate from their game-plan of tight defence a joined up midfield with runners willing to chase their keeper’s giant kicks. May not be pleasing to the eye but hey, what did they or their fans care as they chanted about being in a library as many a Bluenose suffered in silence or sporadic yelling advice to any player who might be listening.
The hour mark reached and the manager introduces subs. First Niasse heads wide from in front of goal from a Baines cross then Schneiderlin hooked in favour of Rooney. Rooney did at least look more composed and started to spray passes but all to no avail. In fact it was Burnley looking more composed than some others but it was Burnley calling the main shots and Pickford got to his near post in time to parry a Brady cross to safety. How Brady had been left to get that far is mind-boggling.
Twenty to go and the peripheral Vlasic was subbed in favour of Tom Davies who immediately woke up the crowd with some direct running at their defence but with little support on offer things just petered out. We then went back to shooting from distance for shooting’s sake variously Gana, Sigurdsson and Rooney fired high wide and not so handsome. Tom Davies showed them how it was done and hit one goal-bound only for the ball to hit a defender and a goal was lost. Calvert-Lewin was put in on goal but his effort lacked power and the keeper gathered in.
Four mins was added and Burnley went into snail mode with time wasting antics. We threw Ashley Williams up as makeshift centre forward and fair play our much maligned centre back had a good header which alas hit a defender and fell behind. Chance gone and not that many of us left to see it; on Mr Moss’s final whistle, the boos rang out once more.
MotM: ---- ------
Coming out of the ground, the mood was sombre. With many new signings, some for big money, the start we have had is not the one anticipated. Koeman said it was not all doom and gloom, well he should have sat by me today.
Among our crowd at the inquest in the Room of Nonsense the vote was virtually split on whether the manager should go or not.
I have to say that I am not one for knee jerk reactions but given the fact we had very tough fixtures it doesn’t hide the fact we are playing really poorly no matter the opposition and watching the game it is hard for this fan to see much improvement around the corner. I just hope our board, in this international break, have a good look at where we are and what action if any is needed. The fan base would be most interested in the outcome of such a meeting.
UP THE BLUES
The board have a big decision to make
Gaz picked me up in plenty of time and we were in The Medlock not too long after the Arsenal game began. Another friend Jim was already in the pub by the time we arrived. Jim went on to tell us that one of his mates who works at LFCTV who is apparently a bit “in the know” was telling him a few days ago that Ronald Koeman had lost the senior players at Everton, labelling Leighton Baines in particular as one who has fallen out with our Dutch manager. All very believable following today’s Everton performance and given the pressure, from the supporters at least, that he is now under, I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time this match report is online, the proverbial bullet had already been shot at Ronald Koeman.
It was pleasant in the pub with the rest of the guys turning up, and it’s fair to say that we were largely pelased with the starting XI, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Oumar Niasse and Nikola Vlasic all featuring. My presumption was that this meant some actual width in the team with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Nikola Vlasic operating on the flanks, though this turned out not to be the case, and it was something of a 4-4-2, but not quite, with no actual width. As throughout the season so far, the line up was confusing.
We arrived in plenty of time for kick off, the players switched ends and we attacked the Gwladys Street in the first half, Burnley well backed by their supporters.
I’ve nothing but good things to say about how we began the game, particularly in comparison with how we have been playing recently. Burnley did force a corner kick in one rare furrow forward but otherwise, in the first 20 minutes, it was all Everton. Gylfi Sigurdsson, in a very disappointing display, missed two golden chances at 0-0, one when he side footed tamely at Nick Pope, and another when he had a chance to shoot but tried to dribble it through and got tackled. We were on top, make no mistake, but then, on 21 minutes, Jeff Hendrick struck, after neat footwork to find the space to put us a goal down.
With that our bottle had gone and we couldn’t find a way back in. We might as well have called half time there and then as we just couldn’t drag ourselves back for the rest of the half.
In the second period we huffed and puffed but with no cohesion and no end product. Our play was disjointed throughout against a very dogged Burnley team. Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and, later on, Ashley WIlliams, all came close with headed opportunities but we couldn’t find the equaliser and we went home again dissapointed. There were a could of handball shouts from the Park End in the second half but being at the other end of the field we couldn’t see what happened and I’ve no idea how reasonable the claims where. The players certainly appealed but I don’t know if the claims were desperate or feasible. At full time we, again, trudged off disappointed.
The talk on everyone’s lips after the game of course was, should Ronald Koeman be sacked. It’s safe to say, most of the supporters seem to think so. Personally, I’m pretty neutral. Looking back, I was always quick to defend David Moyes as I liked the guy, though Roberto I was always quick to stick the knife in as I was never convinced by the appointment. With Ronald Koeman, I’m very on the fence. I was generally happy with the appointment even if I thought other options may have been pursued, and after the improvements last season part of me wants to give him time to see it through.
Conversely, it’s a results business and the results aren’t, and don’t look like, coming. It’s hard to defend how we are playing but I suppose it’s difficult to integrate so many new players into a new team, especially a struggling one. If there was ever a season we could have done with a stable run of fixtures this was it. Margins have been tight in some of the games and things could have perhaps have been different.
That said, things have been unbearable to watch at times. Our play is dreadful and team selections have been poor, but will sacking Ronald instantly make things better? Should he not be given the chance to build his team? I don’t know which way to turn but if they are going to make the decision to sack Ronald, do it now, before the international break. It’s better to do it now then later.
The board have a big decision to make. Stick or twist. But make the decision now, and stick to your guns.
Pickford: Not sure he could have done anything with the goal. Distribution positive, especially second half. 6
Baines: My friend Jim might be on to something with his intel. Leighton has seemed out of sorts for a good few games now. 5
Williams: Awful. It was he and not Holgate who should have been dropped after Thursday. 4
Keane: Clearly not fit. 5
Martina: Yes, I’m here to be shot at but he was my Man of the Match. Pretty solid defensively and got forward well. His quality of crossing was not up to scratch but he did as much as anyone else. 6
Gueye: Worked hard, made some tackles but his decision making on the ball was poor. 6
Schniederlin: Rather anonymous before substituted. 5
Sigurdsson: Was poor, which was very disappointing as I’ve felt that he’s really been getting there these last couple of games. He missed two good first-half chances and otherwise didn’t get that engine revving enough. A poor display from our record signing. 5
Vlasic: Did okay first half but faded in the second before he was substituted. 6
Calvert-Lewin: Worked hard but didn’t put his chances away. 6
Niasse: Began well but faded badly in the second half. 5
Rooney (for Schneiderlin): Seemed to play central midfield and though he tried, he didn’t have the required impact. 5
Davies (for Vlasic): Did more than most to sort out the mess we were in. 6
Ramirez (for Niasse): Didn’t do anything. 5
Everton play their fourth home game in succession and their last before the next international break as Burnley make the short journey to Goodison Park.
Set back following the victories over Sunderland and Bournemouth by the disappointing 2-2 draw against Apollon Limassol on Thursday, the Blues are once again searching for a boost in morale as their halting start to 2017-18 continues.
Ronald Koeman was in confident enough mood when he met with the print media at Finch Farm yesterday, though, insisting that there was no point in him living in fear of the sack and that, in any case, he retains full confidence in his ability as that of his players to turn their fortunes around.
That confidence isn't shared by all, of course, least of all, no doubt, a good percentage of those fans who let their frustrations known at the end of Limassol game. And then there is the fear that Koeman himself admitted was dragging his team down and preventing them from playing football.
The problem with fear is that it can get compounded further by poor results, snow-balling until a state of paralysis takes hold and that is the danger that the manager must mitigate quickly, starting with this weekend's clash with the Clarets.
"I am not worried. Why should I need to be worried?” he said. “Because the fans are unhappy? No. If the club makes another decision it is up to the club. If I am worried about my situation, how can you live? Enjoy life. I was shit after [Limassol], but now I am different.
“If I am not good enough, they will take another one. That is how I see this situation.
“I do my best. I live 24-hours for football and to make Everton a better team and to win more games. I cannot do more. If it is not good enough, it is not good enough but that is my experience. It happens to everybody; Ancelotti, Van Gaal, Mourinho.
“I will fight every second of the day to make the team better and to make the right choices and of course everyone can have their opinion. If you don't win, you have problems.”
Koeman will, of course, face further problems and pressure if he isn't able to deliver three points against Burnley who come to L4 two points and five places better off than the Toffees having beaten Crystal Palace and then drawn twice in their last three games.
While their away form was infamously poor last season, Sean Dyche's men have already claimed the scalp of Chelsea this season and held Tottenham to a draw at Wembley so they are unlikely to be fazed by a visit to a disquieted Goodison.
Koeman's task is clear — either plug away with the same system he has employed so far with mostly poor results of find a new one that would sacrifice at least one of his expensive summer recruits who prefer the No.10 role. The evidence gleaned from the Limassol game would suggest Wayne Rooney should make way and Gylfi Sigurdsson should be given free reign in his best position but the manager has been resolutely faithful to his biggest names so far. A change from that would be welcome but surprising.
With Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka both doubtful — it wouldn't be a surprise to see one of them start — the back line might, with the possible exception of right back where Jonjoe Kenny would be unfortunate to be demoted again, pick itself again which means all eyes will be on midfield and attack.
Koeman's persistence with two holding midfielders has come in for strong criticism in the wake of Thursday's draw so it will be interesting to see if Idrissa Gueye — it would surely be him rather than Morgan Schneiderlin — is sacrificed for Tom Davies or Nikola Vlasic in the interests of adding more dynamism in the centre.
Up front, both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse have made strong cases for inclusion but it's highly unlikely both will start. More probable is the youngster starting and Niasse being handed the role of super-sub once more if he is needed in that capacity.
As with all games in the Premier League these days, this one won't be easy. Burnley are disciplined and don't lie down easily for anyone; as such they will pose a significant threat to an Everton side that will need to draw on what creativity and determination it can muster.
A victory wouldn't erase the concerns about the Blues going forward but it would once again ease the pressure on all concerned and provide another platform on which to build in the coming weeks. Anything less… well, you know.
Kick-off: 2.15pm, Sunday 1st October, 2017
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Last Time: Everton 3 - 1 Burnley
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Kenny, Keane, Williams, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin