Coleman saves face but more questions than answers remain

Koeman's Everton remain unconvincing going forward as the Dutchman's struggles to find a reliable combination continue

Lyndon Lloyd 20/11/2016 46comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Swansea City

It’s eight games now since Everton’s confidence-inspiring 3-1 win over Middlesbrough took them into second place in the table and had many supporters and observers wondering if a switch had been flipped at Goodison Park – one where the potential locked away in a side that badly under-performed last season was gradually being unleashed by the arrival of Ronald Koeman.

As subsequent performances and results have demonstrated, starting with the defeat at home to Norwich in the League Cup, the Blues may now be harder to beat — that EFL Cup loss and the 5-0 thrashing by Chelsea notwithstanding — but they have found goals and inspiration going forward hard to come by.

Everton have picked up just one victory in those eight matches in all competitions and, far from the broom sweeping away the questionable methods and attitudes of the Roberto Martinez era, there’s a feeling that there is still something fundamentally amiss in the team under Koeman.

It’s got the fanbase eagerly awaiting the January transfer window to see if Koeman and Steve Walsh can unearth the remedy for his team’s malaise but there’s a lot to be said for the argument that a coach of his experience and repute should surely be able to get more out of the squad he has than he currently is.

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Or do the issues that became evident over the past two seasons under his predecessor run so deep that an overhaul of the playing staff is the only solution? It’s hard to pinpoint precisely but what is clear is that Everton are playing at the moment without an identifiable style or any discernible pattern.

And there are big question marks over their collective mentality and their apparent inability to really rouse themselves until they’ve fallen a goal behind, usually on the back of a sluggish first-half performance. Today was yet another example; owing the supporters a reaction to their drubbing at Chelsea, Koeman’s players ended up having to be shaken at half-time into a response not only to their lack of reaction to the debacle at Stamford Bridge but also the fact that they had gone into the interval a goal down.

It was all so inevitable given the general lack of thrust and guile that had characterised Everton’s first 45 minutes. Granted, Swansea had come determined to press, harry and generally deny the Blues any space and Bob Bradley’s men deserve credit for the way they went about their business, particularly before half time. But the home team’s lack of movement, fluidity and simple passing options made it a painful watch for the Goodison faithful.

While Martinez’s Everton were guilty of over-passing, they were at least usually able to move the ball through midfield before hitting an invisible wall around the edge of the opposition penalty area. So often Koeman’s version seem unable to move the ball beyond the centre halves, with Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams routinely looking in vain for passing lanes and men dropping deep the pick up the ball.

So it was Swansea, who had a lot less trouble pinging the ball through the centre of the park, who were able to establish the early momentum while Everton struggled to give their subdued fans anything to get excited about beyond Romelu Lukaku’s early sight of goal from the angle four minutes that Lukas Fabianski was equal to with a low save by his near post.

And it was the visitors who came very close to scoring after 17 minutes when Jordi Amat connected with a corner from the right that he glanced inches over the crossbar before the Blues finally started to make some inroads, both times through the mercurial Yannick Bolasie.

The Congolese hammered a 26th-minute cross into the centre that was far too strong for Lukaku to react in time and it bounced off the Belgian and over the bar. Bolasie’s next delivery was weighted better though and Ross Barkley, who had started the move with some silky footwork and powerful running, knocked it smartly past his marker but then fluffed his lines with just the goalkeeper to beat by bouncing his effort a yard wide.

Had that gone in, you suspect the contest might have panned out more like they did in the last home game against West Ham but, instead, things unravelled at the other end thanks to another clumsily-conceded penalty by Jagielka. Gylfi Sigurdsson had wriggled away from the Everton captain but then fell under his awkward challenge leaving referee Martin Atkinson with an easy decision to make in pointing to the spot.

There would be no heroics from Stekelenburg like there were at the Etihad Stadium last month, with Sigurdsson sending the Dutch ‘keeper the wrong way with a confidently-despatched spot kick high into the other side of the net.

Stung into action, what was arguably Everton’s best move of the match a couple of minutes later almost yielded an immediate equaliser when Bolasie was threaded in beautifully by Lukaku but Fabianski stood up well and blocked his shot behind for a corner.

Koeman said after the match that he’d asked his players at the break why they needed to fall behind before they finally started playing and it’s a fair question because they certainly were more purposeful and direct in the second half where it was mostly one-way traffic towards the Gwladys Street End. With Idrissa Gueye back in the side after suspension and easily the standout performer on the pitch, much of what Swansea tried to do in the second period was stymied as the Senegalese intervened time and and time again.

What was worrying, however, was that Everton didn’t create a genuinely clear-cut chance until Seamus Coleman popped up a minute from the end of the regulation 90 to steer a header into the top corner and spare the Blues the agony of a first home defeat of the season.

They would send 37 crosses into the box over the 90 minutes but hardly any of them found an Everton head and only one of them ended with an effort on goal, a laudable effort from Bolasie who rose above his marker but couldn’t get enough power on it to trouble the goalkeeper.

For the rest of the half, Koeman’s men seemed hellbent on demonstrating just how ineffective they can be from dead-ball situations. Corner after corner either sailed straight into Fabianski’s hands, failed to beat the first man or was easily headed clear, while the Pole saved Barkley’s direct free kick fairly easily and Leighton Baines drove another into the defensive wall.

Turning in vain to his bench, Koeman threw on Gerard Deulofeu for Aaron Lennon (who had offered almost nothing) in the 66th minute and then replaced James McCarthy (who had offered almost nothing) with Kevin Mirallas six minutes after that. If you were charitable, you’d say that the Spaniard at least provided a bit more movement and some different energy but he was unable to significantly influence proceedings and, like Bolasie later in stoppage time, he was guilty of poor decision-making when he elected an over-ambitious shot from way out that missed the target by miles when better options were on ahead of him. Mirallas...? Well, he offered almost nothing.

The manager’s final throw of the dice was to pull Jagielka off with four minutes left and bolster his forward line with the addition of Enner Valencia, a move that Sigurdsson almost exploited soon afterwards but was foiled by Stekelenburg. But despite the extra bodies in attack, it didn’t look as though the Blues were any closer to equalising until, out of the blue, they did.

A cross from the right was cleared to Bolasie on the edge of the box, he hooked it into the area looking for Lukaku, Amat was only able to head it into the air and Coleman rose to plant an inch-perfect header past Fabianski’s despairing grasp.

The players and Goodison were energised into a push for a winner in injury time and it almost came when Amat cut out Baines’s cross from the left and the ball fell to Bolasie but the Spanish defender recovered in time to clear the Everton man’s shot that was otherwise destined for the net.

Had that gone in, it would simultaneously have been just reward for Everton’s territorial dominance but also have masked some serious underlying issues that are ongoing impediments to Koeman’s goal of European qualification this season. Most glaring, again, is the absence of a reliable system, of an identifiable pattern of play and a consistent starting XI.

Evertonian eyes are on January but there are eight games — or almost a quarter of the season — between now and the time any new additions could be acquired. It behooves Koeman and his staff in the meantime to redouble their efforts to not only find a combination that is going to yield results during what is now a more demanding schedule until the end of the year but to uncover why there appears to be such a lack of motivation among his charges until they have brought adversity upon themselves.

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Reader Comments (46)

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Ray Robinson
1 Posted 20/11/2016 at 09:07:25
I don't pretend to have any answers to the questions that you pose, Lyndon, but it seems to me that there is one area that we are desperately lacking in – and that's energy, not necessarily fitness, but high-octane energy.

The Premier League seems to have moved on a bit in the last two seasons with teams like Leicester (last season), Liverpool and even Burnley adopting an "in your face" type approach. Closing down is definitely the order of the day. We appear to only have Gana, McCarthy (on a good day), Barry and Coleman capable of that sort of approach. The rest seem to be too respectful of the opposition, affording them too much time to dictate play. The amount of occasions yesterday, particularly in the first half, when Swansea moved the ball around unchallenged was very noticeable.

I suspect if Koeman wants to play a pressing game, which I think you have to in the Premier League, he will have to change the personnel. Mirallas, Deulofeu, Barkley, Cleverley and the rest just don't have the Duracell Bunny batteries that are necessary these days. Oh for a Reid and Bracewell 'hunting pack' mentality in midfield!

Peter Murray
2 Posted 20/11/2016 at 09:39:20
There is no game plan apart from what seems to be a total rejection of the Martinez approach. So, instead of pass, pass, pass we have hoof, hoof, hoof. This creates static players who seem to stand around waiting for the high ball.

We cannot go on blaming Martinez for the current performances. At its best his approach produced superb football. We all remember the 3-0 demolition of Koeman's Southampton.

Moreover, the notion that we are defensively stronger was blown away by the Chelsea result. Maybe it's more about mental attitude.The players were half hearted from the start. Are they still feeling sorry for themselves? Are they not comfortable with the new football philosophy?

Whatever it is there is something radically wrong somewhere.
Jeff Armstrong
3 Posted 20/11/2016 at 10:12:35
We should not be playing with two wide players, it takes away a badly needed playmaker from the middle. A Dowell or Davies maybe, for now, just one winger switching wing throughout the game would surely suffice.
Christopher Timmins
4 Posted 20/11/2016 at 10:13:09
I still believe the manager will get it right but it looks as if a major rebuild is needed. On that score, it will take two or three transfer windows to get it right.

Let's hope that the rebuild is carried out in a controlled manner and we don't have any crazy last-day deadline bids for players. Indeed, it would be nice if we started to do our business well in advance of the final day of the window, like all the successful clubs do!

I booked flights for the weekend of the Man Utd game but could not acquire two tickets together for the game, I don't feel so bad about it now.

Tommy Davis
5 Posted 20/11/2016 at 10:31:05
Spot on, Lyndon, as usual. It seems to be a regular theme now, our midfield is lacking any type of a 'general' & therefore Lukaku has to rely on Bolasie, who is still inconsistent, but is the best wide man we have & provider (4 assists) by a long way. I think Rom is next with 3 assists!

Lennon, Mirallas & Deulofeu are not the answer to another wideman either, but the critical position is a midfield playmaker, oh for Sigurdsson, he would have been a wonderful addition, had we been able to pry him from the Swans in the summer. Barkley would have benefited greatly from Sigurdsson, who seems to do most things rather good, but with consummate ease, a rare commodity indeed!

It looks like a long season ahead of us I'm afraid, losing Gueye & Bolasie in January for the AFCON is absolutely awful. It means the return of the McCarthy & Barry duo, I would think, which will strike fear into most bluenoses, although Gueye is virtually irreplaceable! Even though Bolasie is not setting his wing position on fire, I don't see anybody able to take his place, that's at the club already!

I'd better stop as I'm making myself (and others no doubt) feel more negative & as Lyndon duly noted, there are more questions than answers!

Steve Carse
6 Posted 20/11/2016 at 10:44:12
The side lacks energy. 'Pass and move' is replaced with 'pass and stand still'. Ironically the only pass-and-move player we possess is a defender (Coleman).

Now, every time I've seen Davies (at first team and U23 levels) he has provided energy, enthusiasm, positioning to receive the ball, and an ability to move the ball quickly. With the dire performances of the last month and more, he's got to be worth a try. To not even be making the bench currently is a worrying indication of the manager's lack of faith in youth.

Peter Barry
8 Posted 20/11/2016 at 10:55:45
Our form at the moment is relegation form and very reminiscent of Aston Villa's lacklustre spiral to the Championship last season.
John Raftery
9 Posted 20/11/2016 at 11:22:29
The manager cannot afford to sit around waiting for January. He must do what he is paid to do which is to get the best out of the players available to him.

The dreadfully slow start yesterday was an indictment of his failure to motivate the players, especially when one would have expected to see a collective determination to make amends for the horror show at Stamford Bridge. His efforts to change things in the second half, with three wingers, two strikers plus Barkley on the pitch in a 3-1-6 formation smacked of blind panic.

The team badly needs freshening up. It is surely time to reintroduce Holgate in defence and bring Davies into midfield. At the very least their energy and enthusiasm would give the crowd a reason to get behind the players and perhaps shake some of the established players out of their listlessness.

It is time for Koeman to start earning his money.

Ian Hollingworth
10 Posted 20/11/2016 at 11:59:43
Christ... our next 6 matches look pretty tough.
Paul Thompson
11 Posted 20/11/2016 at 12:10:04
One of the strange things about the game was that, in the abysmal first half, we still created 3 good chances, whilst in the improved second, virtually nothing. Two of those 3 chances all involved Bolasie (and Lukaku) and whilst Bolasie is inconsistent he still offers a lot more than Lennon, Mirallas and Deulofeu.

Lennon can be partly excused given his lack of match fitness, but the other two have had plenty of opportunities and done nothing with them. Time to ship them out methinks. As Lyndon says, many of the problems are long-standing, particularly in midfield.

While we wait for the mythical playmaker, Davies is worth playing, though most people seem to have missed that he was not on the bench yesterday because he played for England Under-19s (or Under-20s) 3 times last week.

John Barnes
12 Posted 20/11/2016 at 12:49:17
The worry for me is that there doesn't seem to be any hint of change. It's becoming the same level of performance from the same core group of players.

Surely against the bottom teams, who aren't world beaters by the way and are bottom for good reason, one or two such as Davies, Dowell, Holgate and the like must be worth a try if for no other reason than to shake the lethargy and complacency out of some of the serial under-perormers. Davies v Chelsea springs to most minds but not of our manager's!
David Hallwood
13 Posted 20/11/2016 at 12:50:48
Great report as ever Lyndon: Apart from the opening game, 'sluggish first half' can be used to sum up the majority of the season, and when we come up against a Citteh or Chelsea, we get annihilated (remember, only for crap pennos and a world-class keeping display, Citteh would've killed us).

Given that Koeman also likes the high pressing game, he can't like what the players are dishing up at present; and add to that 2 holding midfielders, and the other 3 midfielders that we'll be lucky to see 20 goals between them, means if Lukaku ain't scoring – neither are we.

Looks like a long, hard season ahead – isn't this suppose to be entertainment?

James Byrne
14 Posted 20/11/2016 at 13:30:05
It's becoming obvious now that big Ron has inherited a very average to poor football squad based on recent performances.

We had 10 corners yesterday and it amazes how so called professional football players can be so ineffective at taking and preparing for a set piece. This also raises questions regarding the coaching of the players.

I might be alone here but in Lukaku we have one of the Premier League's best goalscorers but by far the worst front man; his ability to hold the ball up in the final 3rd is pathetic. Lukaku also suffers from a serious lack of power for a lad of his size and physique.

Koeman needs a serious clear-out over the next 12 months starting with Lukaku. I won't name the rest of the players who need fucking off as that list will be too long to write!

Daniel A Johnson
15 Posted 20/11/2016 at 13:38:33
For the last 18 months, we just haven't started any match with any speed enthusiasm or aggression. We seem to be so passive and reactive and almost asleep half the time.

One thing's for certain: Jagielka is not and never has been captain material. It's looking like his time is up at EFC; removing any sentiment, he's a total liability at present.

Habib Erkan Jr.
16 Posted 20/11/2016 at 14:34:31
Spot-on, Lyndon. One of the major problems with this side imo is the total lack of competition for places. Other than the "is it Kevin, Gerry, or Aaron at right-midfield?"... and now maybe "is it Jags or Ramiro at centre-back?" – when everyone is healthy, this team picks itself.

Without competition for places, we will continue to experience lackadaisical performances.

Paul Brown
17 Posted 20/11/2016 at 14:53:04
What I don't understand is why fringe players and even regular first teamers, who do not know who will come in in January, aren't running their socks off and fighting for their careers. Are they too comfortably off and don't need to bother any more as they slide down the divisions?

The manager should not need to motivate these players, but maybe they see it just as a job as opposed to fulfilling a dream...
Loko Sanchez
18 Posted 20/11/2016 at 15:27:39
I am guessing that man management and motivation are not Koeman's strong points. His treatment of Niasse, comments on Lukaku are examples of poor management. Koeman was a great player but, as manager, he is no better than Pardew, Martinez or Moyes.
James Byrne
19 Posted 20/11/2016 at 15:46:16
Paul (#17)

Totally spot-on; while in the Park End yesterday, my brother stated exactly that point. With McCarthy back and with Lennon getting a shout, you'd think these players would go through brick walls.

There's something seriously wrong with this club. There seems to be an endemic issue right through from the management to the players.

Alan Bodell
20 Posted 20/11/2016 at 16:13:49
I'll bet my house on Koeman signing a creative midfielder in the next window; we need 2 in case 1 gets injured.

Our midfield vision is non-existent and has been since Arteta left.

Michael Long
21 Posted 20/11/2016 at 17:14:21
A lot of things are worrying right now at Everton, player-wise. The players do not look arsed, apart from two or three.

Stekelenburg – we need another goalkeeper ASAP, too inconsistent;
Coleman – despite scoring, does not do enough;
Jagielka – it's getting similar to what happened to Distin and Howard;
McCarthy – useless
Mirallas – inconsistent
Deulofeu – inconsistent
Lennon – poor final ball
Bolasie – frustrating
Don't get me started on Kone, Cleverley, Oviedo and couple of others.

January has to be the most important transfer market we have in the Premier League era. It is just getting beyond a joke how many deadwood and inconsistent players we have.

Gana Gueye is just pure class, his attitude and determination to win the ball and go forward is second to none. If only the others have the same mentality as him then maybe we would just be high up.

This was a game we should have taken 3 points in. With Southampton, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool (God help us) and Leicester next few games. It could have maybe given a boost but no – it just makes things more worrying.

The thought of the likes of Austin, Zlatan, Rashford, Sanchez, Coutinho, and Mane running at the likes of Jagielka is just fucking terrifying.

Jonathan Agger
22 Posted 20/11/2016 at 18:35:59
What I don't understand is why we seem to be the only team in the league that takes all our free kicks backwards. We actually play ourselves into trouble from them. It beggars belief. Unless we get a free kick a few yards from the opposition penalty area, where it would be frankly criminal not to shoot, the ball always goes backwards.

It is a similar story for most of our throw-ins as well. Surely this is something Koeman could sort out quickly should he choose to.
Rick Tarleton
23 Posted 20/11/2016 at 20:40:25
The problem for our midfield is that no-one up front makes any movement, they are static, so the midfielders pass sideways or backwards. We had four wingers on show yesterday and not one of them could supply a decent cross.

Deulofeu was playing in front of me (I was in the Lower Bullens at the Gwladys Street end), he beat his man time and again with consummate skill, then passed or crossed to no-one. Bolasie cannot cross to save his life, Mirallas rarely tries to and Lennon looked off the pace.

Every Baines corner seemed to be a gift for the keeper. Coleman's header was as unexpected as it was welcome.

It was poor fare with a lack of awareness, movement or subtlety. They play to a formula and it is predictable, lacking in flexibility, the off the ball movement is close to non-existent and leaves Barkley and Gueye with no-one in front to give a pass to, so they go sideways or backwards – not that different to Martinez's game plan.

Tony Dove
24 Posted 20/11/2016 at 21:17:20
A slightly different point but making Coleman captain would be a good move.
Paul Roberts
25 Posted 20/11/2016 at 21:54:52
Apathy has engulfed our once great club. Those who dare to criticise are deemed treacherous by the majority!

The hypocrites across the park who profess to back their managers have the right idea. They sussed Hodgson out smartish and moved him on. Even King Kenny, after winning a trophy, got his marching orders.

We just indulge losers and – believe me – Koeman is another loser! The clueless, tactless, ignorant and arrogant buffoon just doesn't get us!
Sack him asap!

Steavey Buckley
26 Posted 20/11/2016 at 22:16:54
Everton -v- Swansea:

Koeman's team selection and substitutions: 10/10. He chose the only players available.

Koeman's tactics: 0/10. There was no closing down, that's why Swansea went 0-1.

Koeman's motivational skills: 0/10. Everton players looked scared to lose and scared not put on a good performance.

Stekelenburg: Did everything asked of him. If he did anything wrong, it was going the wrong way when facing a right-footed player. Against Man City (twice) he did not make that mistake. 7/10.

Coleman: Tried hard to get things moving down the right, because Lennon was anonymous. Best position could be right winger, because he is a trier with an eye for goal. Saved the day yesterday. 7/10.

Baines: Must have done something good defensively because the score was 1-1. But his crosses, free kick and corners were atrocious. 3/10.

Williams: Given the benefit of the doubt for his defensive qualities because Jagielka was poor alongside him. But what has happened to his trademark of nicking the odd goal now and again like he did for Swansea and for Wales? 5/10

Jagielka: Has become a liability in the centre of the defence; should have been replaced at the beginning of the season, as Everton need a commanding centre-half alongside Williams. 3/10

McCarthy: Again, nothing going forward. Made a few tackles here and there but failed to get hold of the ball in midfield, especially, in the first half. 3/10

Gueye: Just like McCarthy offers nothing in the business end of the pitch, but made same timely interceptions. Yet, like McCarthy allowed Swansea to dominate in midfield in the first half. 5/10

Barkley: Offered something going forward but when he was needed in midfield when Swansea dictated in the first half, he as nowhere to be seen. 5/10.

Lennon: Totally anonymous and justifies Koeman not selecting him in previous matches. 0/10.

Lukaku: If he decides to leave who can blame him, with little or no service given to him during 90 minutes. 5/10.

Bolasie: Flatters to deceive but with no end product. 5/10.

Subs — Deulofeu: made efforts to take the game to Swansea down the right but, like Bolasie, there is no end-product. 5/10.

Mirallas: Went into the referee's notebook to make a name for himself of any note yesterday after making unnecessary sliding tackle. 2/10.

Valencia: when will Koeman trust him with more minutes on the pitch? But had a hand in the equaliser. 6/10.

Brian Porter
28 Posted 21/11/2016 at 08:52:54
For a so-called 'top manager', Koeman's tactics and motivational skills appear to be sadly lacking. Even a manager of a League Two club can motivate his players to fight like hell against a Premier League club in cup games so I don't accept that our current players are so poor that the right man couldn't inject some pride and fight into their game play. Ergo, Koeman is not the man for Everton.

These are, after all, professional footballers who, even under the previous nutjob of a manager could at times play exciting attacking football and score goals. His defensive tactics as we all worked out were virtually non-existent but just when, this season have we seen any spark of the attacking play we know in our hearts this group of players can produce.

You can't just 'ship out' a number of players as is being suggested. They have contracts so even if not playing they have to be paid until a deal is in place for them to move to another club.

I've watched a number of Bundesliga games over the weekend and even bottom club Ingolstadt played with passion, high intensity and the will to win. If Koeman can't even get some of that passion into our players, then he clearly isn't the manager we were led to believe he was.

Jim Burns
29 Posted 21/11/2016 at 09:17:46
Watching the game from the Upper Bullens, it seems as though there is a pattern repeating itself in recent ( or longer) games – three things in particular stick out week after week:

1. The lack of movement from our forwards and midfield players when the centre backs are looking to play through – Lyndon' s referral to passing channels. So often the forward players are static with nobody moving off markers , creating space or showing for the ball. Inevitably we are left with a long ball seeking Lukaku or playing down the wings - which takes me to...

2. Our ability to cross the ball and find a man is woeful. Bolasie puts his crosses in generally with his head down and either fires them in blindly or over hits them. Our corners are generally a joke – how can highly paid and trained footballers produce such a string of poor crosses from a dead ball? What exactly do they practice all week at training? Getting past the first defender is now considered a bonus. Unbelievable.

3. As has been pointed out repeatedly, a lack of intensity from the start is simply baffling.

I rate Koeman highly and was excited when he arrived, but here Is the worry - all of the above are coachable – even if the squad isn't yet as good as we want it so why can't he coach them to move and show? Cross a ball? Close down with energy?

You don't need to be Messi to do any of those things, and you don't need to be the world's best gaffer to make it the routine minimum that is expected at this club. We'd take all three of those things as a start... not a lot to ask?

Brian Harrison
30 Posted 21/11/2016 at 09:51:34

I too sit in Upper Bullens, and I was excited when we got Koeman; of all the candidates mentioned he was the one I wanted. I liked his initial no nonsense plan and to let players know from the off what he expected.

Then as seems to happen when new managers arrive there is usually an upturn in form which we got. But of late our form has dipped and with that confidence has taken a knock. But what is most worrying is we have started a lot of games of late very lethargically and it has taken the opposition to score for that to change.

Koeman has said that he may have to shout at them before the game to make sure they start with the high intensity he wants. I would suggest that maybe if every training session was played at a very high intensity then it would be very natural to start and finish playing this way.

A couple of seasons back I watched Barca train there passing was so quick it was like a blur trying to follow the ball. The whole session was done with pace and intensity, so no wonder thats how they play every game.

I think our movement from our front 4 is poor, I would like to see our wingers' starting position to be 10 yards closer to Lukaku. At present the gap between the wingers and Lukaku is about 20 yards so how do you build up any inter play between them with such a gap?

Then our number 10 is usually a further 15 yards behind Lukaku. When I watch Chelsea or our neighbours their movement and inter changing positions is light years ahead of what we are doing.

Koeman will need time and we all agree on that, lets not forget this group of players were not good enough to get into the top half of the league for the past 2 seasons. So we know this group will need changing and that will take time... But I want to see that Koeman is starting to change to the new style of play that the top sides in the Premier League are playing.

Peter Roberts
31 Posted 21/11/2016 at 10:58:02
What is it with us and managers? It seems we hire the next one as an antithesis to the previous one... or is it a role that they play to appeal to the masses?

After Moyes's "penknives to gunfights" / "batten down the hatches" expectation dampening exploits, we had Martinez come in who actually told players to take risks – even unnecessary ones. Was fine for a short time till other clubs sussed us out.

It seems Koeman's tactic is to tell those fans who got tired of Roberto's bull "Yeah, we dare not dream because you are Everton... get used to it."

He has been allowed to disregard our club and we are paying him £6m a year – the 7th highest paid manager in world football wants us to accept that we are some sort of middle tier outfit. Well, give us a rebate then Ronald.

I get the impression that he has been irritated by the reaction to his interviews. Sorry Ronald – we aren't Southampton. Whether you like it or not, you have stepped into the lion's den, and you will be judged – and you will hear what we have to say.

He may see us as a stepping stone to bigger things but up till now he hasn't done anything to make me think that he isn't the right fit for our club.

We will do well to remember Ruud Gullit's tenure at Newcastle where his arrogance near destroyed the team and it ended with him being fired. A dismissal that energised the club.

I'm not saying sack him... yet. However he needs to know that we are not going to allow him carte blanch. He will be feeling the rumbles of discontent – he needs to sort it out and quick. Either get with us or get lost.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 21/11/2016 at 11:31:40
Steavey #26, a subjective thing giving ratings to players (and difficut re subs) but I don't go along with your 5/10 for Gana while you also give 5 to Williams, Bolasie, and Delboy, and 6 to Valencia.

I thought Gana was head and shoulders our best man.

Brian Furey
33 Posted 21/11/2016 at 12:03:31
Well, that was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I've defended Koeman and the team for their losses to date and I think Chelsea away is always a tough game but I expected a home tie against a team who is now bottom was a big chance for us to get back to winning ways.

We may still be 7th and had a great start to the season but it looks to me like the players aren't willing to raise their game for the manager and all is not well in the camp.

In one way, you can say Koeman is very limited in what players he can play as the team more or less picks itself but, against a team as poor as Swansea, we should be doing a lot better. Koeman doesn't seem to be able to motivate them to play his way or else they are just not interested in listening to him.

A lot of us are hoping that we will bring in some decent players in January but, being realistic, it rarely pans out that way. I fear December will see us drop down to mid-table as we have some very tough home fixtures which will be another reason why some players won't want to sign for us.

Liam Reilly
34 Posted 21/11/2016 at 12:11:55
Sack Koeman! Jesus Wept.

Give the man one transfer window at least and by that I mean next summer because this will not be fixed in January as the side needs a complete overhaul.

The players for me don't work hard enough; so the team needs an injection of enthusiasm short-term which would come with the introduction of some of the younger talent.

Hopefully, with the amount of games coming up; we'll see some opportunities for Davies, Dowell, Holgate and Walsh.

Brian Hennessy
35 Posted 21/11/2016 at 12:22:39
What's funny is that, less than a year ago, we were saying that Roberto was underachieving with one of the best Everton Squad's in recent years.

Now we seem to think we really only have 3/4 players really good enough. For me, I think we are somewhere in the middle. The biggest factor for our recent performances is lack of confidence, but it is very frustrating that Koeman seems reluctant to give youth (namely Davies) the chance they deserve.

That said, I think calls for Koeman to be sacked are really premature. There is no doubt we need to strengthen in January and I think it will be next season before we really see where Koeman can take us.

Tom Bowers
36 Posted 21/11/2016 at 12:44:28
No matter what system and tactics a manager employs, they will mean nothing if the players are not good enough or have the wrong attitude.

We know they get paid enough money, so attitude shouldn't be a problem, but they way they have been starting games as been abysmal this season. They have been lukewarm at best and even games they have won they have been second best early on.

The sad indictment in the game against Swansea (now last) is the offensive inadequacies. Ross's glaring miss provided the springboard for Swansea's goal. Alarming that it was down to Seamus to rescue a point in injury time but it still felt like a defeat they way they played.

Koeman may have a motivational problem in his make-up and that doesn't bode well for the rest of the season. A team with real character would have bounced back against a team like Swansea.

Craig Walker
37 Posted 21/11/2016 at 12:58:46
Is anybody else dreading the Goodison derby just before Christmas?
Patrick Murphy
38 Posted 21/11/2016 at 13:24:08
Craig (#37),

Me too, but probably not for the same reason as yourself, I'm dreading that the players, management and staff will see that game, if Everton were to win, as somehow excusing the rubbish we have witnessed for the last 30 months. I want Everton to win obviously but I also want us to beat all the other teams we play.

Am I dreading a pummeling by the other lot? Of course that's always been the case, but there are plenty of teams capable of giving this current Everton team a good thrashing in their present mood.

Peter Roberts
39 Posted 21/11/2016 at 14:16:49
It is going to take a right hammering in the derby for people to sit up and take notice of how this fellas "Dutch mannerisms" have impacted our team.

When he picked on Niasse at the start, I saw him as a bit of a sacrificial lamb in the sense that Koeman was letting the players know how he will deal with sub standard quality. I got that wrong.

Essentially Koeman is a bit of an aloof bully. Seeming to single out the ever-maligned Ross Barkley smacks of the continuing trend of managers to try and destroy one of England's best talents. Moyes, Warnock and Hodgson, have already left their mark on the kid. It was only Martinez who genuinely seemed to show a warmth to the lad that he needs – as misdirected as his tactical use of the lad was, he got the best from him.

Will a transfer window change things? He wanted to sign the arrogant sulk Sissoko from Newcastle. It seems he has a penchant for players who have an overinflated opinion of themselves with their eyes elsewhere... after all, Lukaku is too big for us and will be a failure if he stays at Everton. Maybe Lukaku represents what he sees in himself.

Is it a bit strong to say "sack him" like Paul Roberts @25 said? On the surface ,it appears a bold and premature shout but it's not such a ridiculous notion.

Apathy has destroyed our club and it needs a very powerful message to reverse the trend. This manager has apathy written all over him. If you were to draw parallels, he is behaving like you imagine Lewis Hamilton would if he had to drive a "force india" car... "Only so much I can do" expressions all over his face. Its his job to develop the car if he isn't up to that challenge then go!

It's all very well us wishing for a waterfront stadium – but right now we are at a watershed moment in our history. Koeman has entered our club in a not too dissimilar fashion to how Moyes has entered Sunderland – talking about other clubs he was at... seemingly not bought into it and having the look of a man who isn't accepting ownership for what he needs to do.

Peter Murray
40 Posted 21/11/2016 at 14:20:17
Craig (#37) – no for sure. We've not turned up for the derby for ages. What's new – as they all say; THEY can only play as well as you let them play.

We made Chelsea look like Barca – oh for any "Dogs of War" Everton of old – 100% more effort, energy, sweat & tears... not like these prima donnas.

A manager who told us what we'd seen, without these frills. January is just papering over our obvious deficiencies. Player power – managers are just figureheads... what obvious improvements have we witnessed so far? Zero!!!


Steavey Buckley
41 Posted 21/11/2016 at 14:22:09
Brent: Gueye does a lot of breaking up play yet he is hardly noticed in the last third, in the opposition's half – same as with McCarthy.

Both Williams and Jagielka depend on two dropping back in to supporting them, when Everton need 2 centre-backs who can boss the last line of defence. Otherwise, Everton look a very unbalanced team.

As for Valencia, he helped with the goal, something others throughout the game failed to do. So he deserves a 6, because it does not matter how long a player is on the pitch, but what he does when on it.

Phil Walling
42 Posted 21/11/2016 at 16:07:16
For the first time in living memory, I suspect Evertonians will go into the derby game preferring the Reds' manager to our own.

Before you pan me, I'm just telling the truth – like Koeman does!

Phil Walling
43 Posted 21/11/2016 at 16:08:42
Okay, okay... the same situation existed last season!
Stan Schofield
44 Posted 21/11/2016 at 18:47:33
The problems are unlikely to be solved even by some mythical new recruits in the January transfer window. We have a squad of professional footballers, many with considerable ability, who we know can play. We've seen some exceptional attacking and flowing football in the recent past, so there's every reason that it could be done again.

The problem definitely seems one of attitude. I would expect Koeman to be able to sort this out through discipline and motivation, sooner rather than later. If he can't do this, and players seem unwilling to put the effort in, then perhaps we have a serious problem deeper than can be solved by a new manager.

I'm hoping that this is not the case, and that Koeman will improve the situation as time progresses. Perhaps similarly to what Klopp has done.

Patrick Murphy
45 Posted 21/11/2016 at 19:03:17
Phil (#42),

I wish somebody in a position of power at the club would read these pages as they would be able to see the level of discontent that has built up over the last few years. Never have I read so many plaudits for a club and its manager and team that are supposed to be our fiercest rivals as I have read in the last six months or so.

That this happens so often is testament to how disillusioned many Evertonians have become with the team and the club in the last few years, often taken to the brink of success only to fall flat on our faces and seemingly with no answer to the problems and issues that beset the team.

There have been far poorer players seen at Goodison Park in years gone by, than we have in today's squad, but not so many Everton sides have shown such a lack of appetite for the battle at hand. The fact that Koeman doesn't seem to have the answers either, means he will probably follow in the footsteps of Smith, Kendall Mk 3, Moyes and Martinez as having failed this 'great' club.

It may well be too early to tell and obviously the manager has to be given some time, but there are no signs that anything has radically altered in the short time he has been here and that is worrisome.

Stan Schofield
48 Posted 21/11/2016 at 21:09:05
Patrick, yes, but there is a very positive side to the comparisons being made with Liverpool, that is, the time their players have taken to adapt to Klopp's pressing style. This, allied with things like comparing Barkley with Coutinho, where both have seen big variations in form.

Coutinho was crap a year ago, now he's not crap. Barkley was good a year ago, now he's struggling. Hopefully we can iron things out. I think the trick is to stay positive, with a weather eye on things not turning out as hoped, this being Everton.

Brian Porter
49 Posted 22/11/2016 at 06:02:19
Just saw West Brom put four past a pathetic Burnley, who whipped us so recently. Need I say more?
Scott Robinson
50 Posted 22/11/2016 at 06:30:48
The Premier League is a results game. The recent results speak for themselves and the buck stops with the manager. Lest I say more?

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