Koeman hails 'fantastic' reaction

, 17 September, 80comments  |  Jump to most recent

Ronald Koeman was thrilled with his side's reaction to going a goal down in controversial circumstances against Middlesbrough today as Gareth Barry led a fightback that ended with Everton winning 3-1 and securing second place behind pace-setters Manchester City in the table.

Alvaro Negredo's foul on Maarten Stekelenburg, which resulted in the ball ending up in the back of the net, went unpunished by referee Lee Mason and handed Boro a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes' play.

Barry had the Blues level within three minutes, however, side-footing a precision shot home following a corner before Seamus Coleman put the home side in front and a combination of Yannick Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku — the latter claimed the goal — made it 3-1 at the half-time interval.

The second half didn't yield any further goals but the manager praised his charges after the final whistle.

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“I think we played against a strong team — well organised and physically strong who play good football — and that made it tough today because we didn't have a good start to the game,” Koeman told BBC Sport.

“We maybe needed the mistake from the referee because, in my opinion, [Middlesbrough's goal] was a fault [of the officials]. After that, we had a fantastic reaction. We were more aggressive, we played some good football and we totally changed the result before half time.

“We controlled the game well [in the second half] and there were no shots on target from Middlesbrough. You'd like to score maybe the fourth or the fifth for the crowd but they understand. They kept their belief and support in the team and it was a fantastic day today.”

Koeman has guided Everton to their best ever start to a Premier League season with 13 points from 15 and the club's best sequence over the first five games for 38 years.

Naturally, the Dutchman has been pleased with the early weeks of his first season in charge at Goodison Park, particularly in terms of the team's overall performances.

“It's a good start to the season in terms of results and points,
he continued, “but I think what's most important is the way we got the points because you see the reaction of the fans — they like it, how we play and I think the team is more aggressive than it was and that's how we want to be.

“It's not so much about the technical abilities of the players — they need to run more and they need to press more. Then you make it very difficult for your opponent.”


Reader Comments (80)

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James Flynn
1 Posted 17/09/2016 at 23:09:13

Everything about Koeman is "You start with the basics". Fitness, always press the opponent, don't give the ball up cheaply.

A team with talent properly directed.

Ian Riley
2 Posted 17/09/2016 at 23:35:45
The desire is back and that comes from preparation. From kick off we are ready. The management team put the basics in place with no excuses. Koeman is a top manager and we are lucky to have him.
Brent Stephens
3 Posted 17/09/2016 at 23:43:25
"The Headmaster" is getting the School of Science back into shape. His handling of the Barkley boy this week I think was exemplary.
Stan Schofield
4 Posted 17/09/2016 at 23:54:20
There is a solidity and confidence that suggests they can take on anybody and enjoy it. They seem to be inspired by Koeman.
John Kavanagh
5 Posted 17/09/2016 at 23:54:52
Everything about Koeman drips with class. Not deluded, no cover-ups, just straight to-the-point honest answers. How refreshing after 2 years of "pheononamal" and yes Ian, I agree, it's all about doing the basics well.

On another note, does anyone know how the fella who got carried out by parimedics from the Upper Gwladys is doing. Coyb!!!!

Gordon White
6 Posted 17/09/2016 at 00:02:57
Another great game for Gueye. Well done Gareth Barry. Felt sorry for Stekelenburg. Goal shouldn't have stood. Mirallas worked hard and needs a goal. So does Ross. Nevertheless, good touches, hard work and unlucky not to score.
Gerry Quinn
7 Posted 18/09/2016 at 00:18:19
Does no-one else think that our Ronald Koeman is phenomenal?
Liam Reilly
8 Posted 18/09/2016 at 00:19:36
We finally have a manager comparable with the best out there and we have him because of Moshiri.

The tide is turning, regardless of what some may say on this site.

Tony Byrne
9 Posted 18/09/2016 at 00:33:06
Liam (#8), My thoughts entirely.

I'm sure it wasn't just me at the game today who didn't flinch after going one-nil down? Seriously I've not felt so confident in an Everton side for years!

Gana must be the signing of the season on his early performances so far, great again today in the tackle but also pinging forward balls all afternoon, Ross can learn so much from this lad.

Can the new Everton march on & contest for the top 4? God I hope so.

Up the Blue Boys.

James Byrne
10 Posted 18/09/2016 at 00:40:06
I was at the game today and when we went 1 nil down there was no sense of panic from either the players or the fans. That speaks volumes since big Ron has taken over the team compared to how we would have reacted under OFM!

The whole team played great but I have to set aside a special mention for Gueye who was outstanding again today; I don't think I've witnessed a player as good as this kid at Everton for a long time. I reckon he could be the buy of the season.

Gary Seed
11 Posted 18/09/2016 at 01:45:08
I am battling myself to not get too carried away, I'm an Evertonian after all, previous life experiences tell me "just for today" but I've got to admit I am ever so slightly excited. Two personalities in particular are giving me hope: Ronald Koeman and Gana.

In these two guys, we have a true world class leader, a manager who has been there, seen it and had dozens of tee-shirts from Greaty Market. He carries himself with dignity and class and refuses to talk BS. I am so happy to have this guy as our manager.

As for Gana... Wow.!! He is getting better by the week, perpetual motion. A latter day Alan Ball? It's late, I've had a few drinks... maybe I am getting carried away but I don't apologise for feeling really happy, optimistic and a tad hopeful!!

Bill Gienapp
12 Posted 18/09/2016 at 01:50:30
I'm not claiming Koeman's the best manager in the world or anything, but there's no one – and I mean no one – I'd sooner see the club entrusted to at the moment. He exudes so much dignity, intelligence and professionalism... you feel complete confidence in his tactics and leadership.

It's definitely a refreshing contrast to, say... Klopp, who I respect, but whose endless clowning and mugging on the sidelines gets old really fast.

Mick Davies
13 Posted 18/09/2016 at 02:55:37
I looked at our side when Martinez took over; fit and defensively well drilled, but unspectacular, safety first. I saw the passing and attacking flair that he brought and when the two dovetailed for a while, we looked sensational at times.

Alas, once the defensive duties were neglected and the basics, ie, fitness, dead ball tactics etc were allowed to dwindle, we looked shite.

I dreamed (and I think a few others alluded to it on here) what it would be like if we could fuse the positive aspects of our 2 former managers to create a super boss... I never believed in dreams coming true – until now.

Mike Green
14 Posted 18/09/2016 at 03:03:15
Gary (#11) & Bill (#12) – me too.

It's early days, whatever anyone says we've been gifted a great run of fixtures to start the campaign but fuck it - let's not feel guilty / insecure about that, we've done what we needed to and made our own luck. We've got momentum, confidence is building and my impression is the team have the attitude now that if someone's going to take points off of us they're going to leave the pitch feeling like they've gone 12 hard rounds.

And that all comes from the manager. He's got a medal box that weighs more than Idrissa Gana Gueye. He guards points more preciously than an Amsterdam cafe owner guards his reputation for good weed – leaving us to chill out on the banks of the canal, laughing at the ducks.

Ronald Koeman. Thank God he got into football and not coffee. None of us would be safe...

Come On, You Blue Boys!

Brian Porter
15 Posted 18/09/2016 at 03:08:57
Agree entirely with every post on here but I have to say that we were treated, as on many occasions last season, by a display of total ineptitude by the referee today.

Lee Mason showed just how low standards have dropped in Premier League refereeing with his display today. The man as so far up himself with his stern faced sergeant-major posturing and his ability to miss god knows how many fouls and not just by Boro.

I dread to think how far the game might have degenerated if we hadn't equalised so quickly as it was definitely poised on the brink of turning out nasty. Even Barry's goal was suspect due to Williams's high boot in the challenge on the keeper. A properly positioned ref might have spotted it and disallowed the goal.

The Premier League really should be ensuring the quality of referees is on a par with the importance of the league in terms of the financial implications attached to league positions for the clubs involved. Strutting, self-important little Hitlers like Mason do more harm than good for the game and can cause tempers to flare on and off the field by their poor decision making and should have no place in the modern game.

Rant over, great result, well done lads!.

Mike Green
16 Posted 18/09/2016 at 03:15:48
Brian #15 - two classic examples today were when he let play go on, because he didn't know what to do and it gave him a 'Get out of Jail' card when it was a clear foul; and another when he should've played a clear advantage to us but blew up because his brain was 3 seconds behind everyone else's in the ground. All pretty average.
Barry Jones
17 Posted 18/09/2016 at 04:41:39
Ross put in an excellent performance. His decision-making was much better and he never conceded possession cheaply. I feel that he has the makings of a fine player. With Koeman guiding him, he has every chance to be one of the best in the country.
Loko Sanchez
18 Posted 18/09/2016 at 06:10:23
Ross played well but should try to pass to players in better scoring position. An assist is as good as a goal.
Olalekan Taofik
19 Posted 18/09/2016 at 07:47:44
Morning, fellow Blues, it was a good evening, a good game and thank God for the quick response through Barry, the 600 man.

I have a kind reservation for the English referees they seem to be declining in the proffessionalism and attitude to the their job. I hope the FA is watching and corrections will be made before it gets out of hand.

So many improvements are being imparted, the financial angle, the TV coverage, rules protecting the game, etc and so refereeing must improve.

Finally, when will English commentators stop mentioning Liverpool issues with those of Everton. We deserve a lot of respect now and forever. I can't wait for Tuesday game to come up.

Bye for now.

Gordon Roberts
20 Posted 18/09/2016 at 08:12:50
Will we see a slight change in personnel for the Norwich match on Tuesday? Barry, I'm sure, will be rested, with possibly another two.
Jim Whiffen
21 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:17:36
I've watched us play 6 matches this season under Koeman. We have conceded 3 goals; 2 of which should have been disallowed due to fouls on the goalie. I felt satisfied when Jagielka blasted the ball into the roof of the Bullens Road yesterday! Just saying!
Mark Melton
22 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:23:47
Good to be an Evertonian at the moment.

On another note, I was amused to hear Howard Webb say yesterday that Goodison Park is the most difficult ground in the league to referee.

Geoff Evans
23 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:30:37
Thank God for a proper manager at last.
Denis Richardson
24 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:32:11
13 points from the opening 5 games, now that IS phenomenal!

According to the BBC, this is the best start to a campaign by Everton since 1978! Amazing what can happen when you get a class manager at the helm. We went for the cheap option in 2002 with Moyes and again the cheap/easy option with Martinez (although that didn't turn out so cheap in the end!). Thankfully Koeman has arrived.

With all the nonsense transfers like Pogba, Stones, Luiz etc, players costing ridiculous amounts of money, I give you Idrissa Gueye. This guy is every bit as good as Kante, if not better, and is easily worth 4-5 times what we paid for him. I hope he signed a long term contract 'cos he is absolute class.

The side always had a handful of decent players, the main thing lacking was leadership, fitness and belief as well as proper tactics and a couple of quality players in the right positions, not 7 right wingers.

We got lucky with the season start admittedly, not having to play any of the top sides in the first couple of months but this gives us a massive opportunity to get points on the board and build momentum. By the time the big games come around, the players' confidence will be sky high. Right now I'd be confident playing anyone (with the possible exception of city, who without Aguero are still demolishing sides).

Bournemouth away and Palace at home next – could easily be another 6 points although neither game will be easy – before we take on City. Long way to go but I'd bet my house we'll finished a long way above 11th come May. Only real issue is the quality in the squad isn't very deep, especially up front. Lukaku and Geuye need to stay fit until at least January, when we can hopefully bring in a fresh face or two.

Everton doing a Leicester?

Brian Porter
25 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:35:43
Gordon #20, I agree we should probably be looking to rest a few players for the Norwich game. We have enough strength in depth to still put out a great team good enough to beat the Canaries.

I'd be tempted to play Funes Mori alongside Williams, as Jags can't go on forever and those two could be our future centre-back partnership. I'd rest Bolassie and start with Lennon. I'd play Barry as the more he plays with Gueye the more their partnership will grow. I would be tempted to rest Rom, start with Valencia and keep the big man hungry and maybe give him the final 30 mins if we need him.

For me, that would be enough as I don't think Koeman is one for making wholesale changes and I'm sure he views this as a trophy we can realistically aim for.

Anto Byrne
26 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:43:21
Watched the Hull - Arsenal game... it should have been a cricket score. Then the clock ticked to 12:30 Perth time and off we went. I thought they have the ball and we are defending so well I can't see them scoring. In normal speed it was hard to judge the merits of their goal but for some reason it didn't bother me.

Next thing you know, we've gone up several gears and even Ross Barkley isn't fazed as he begins to put his stamp on the game with some lovely movement and sharp turns.

So 3-1 at half-time, game over and 3 points. It's a long season. Good substitutions and the new guy looks okay. Nice bit of business there, Ronnie, if the lad can produce the goods.

Next up is Norwich in the cup. Not too many changes but a run out for Funes Mori Valencia and Davies maybe? The cup competition is a route to Europe and a bit of silverware so I am hopeful they are taking it seriously.

Kevin Mirallas worked his socks off back defending one minute and up in attack the next and kept his head.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:45:00
Gordon (#6), I agree that Mirallas, could do with a goal, but can't agree he worked hard. He worked hard in patches, and therefore at the minute his game is little cameos.

I thought he was better second half, but a man with his talent should be looking to get involved, and looking to get on the ball a lot more for his team.

Stan Schofield
28 Posted 18/09/2016 at 09:53:05
I don't believe we did get lucky with the opening string of fixtures. There are no easy games, as shown by results across the Premier League so far. You can lose against so-called easy opposition, but we're not, we're winning. If anything, it's easy to let your guard down if you think the opposition is easy, a sure recipe for a defeat. Koeman clearly assumes nothing, taking each game, one at a time, determined to win.

And no, we're not like Leicester. We're Everton, much higher quality than Leicester. At the moment, Man City looks the only side that I would say is performing with more consistent quality than us, and they look tremendous. And we're improving, gradually, all the time. Good times.

Jon Withey
29 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:00:05
Who to rest for Norwich? Stekelenburg, Mirallas, Gana, Jagielka and Barry have put a shift in.

Deulofeu could do with some more minutes, Holgate, Funes Mori and Oviedo. Valencia needs a chance.

The middle is the most difficult right now – who would you replace Barry and Gana with there? Gibson, Cleverley, Davies? Shame McCarthy is injured.

Joe Clitherow
30 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:03:37
Has everyone forgotten we played the side who came third last year in our very first game when we were only 70% fit and quite a few of us here were upset we didn't win based on our performance?

The side yesterday was a lot fitter than Day One and it showed, as I haven't seen that high tempo, slick aggressive, winning and entertaining football for about two and a half years.

I will also say, that even though we are steamrollering lesser sides at the moment, this team has not yet properly clicked. Fitness is still improving and the players are still getting to know each other. That all takes time.

So pleased to see the improvements in Ross yesterday. Still a way to go but the kid has been completely abandoned in a coaching sense for three years when he should have been getting clear direction. Quite apart from the fact he has lost a load of weight from last year, he was tracking back and not giving up and doing the basics yesterday as well as joining up the middle. A seventy-yard chasing run and tackle in the second half which then allowed Gana to clear up at the second attempt – ie, teamwork would never in a million years have happened under the clowns in charge last year.

Well done the Koemans and a lot more to come from Ross this year.

Mark Morrissey
31 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:16:29
They are actually discussing Everton on Sky's Sunday Supplement. We never get discussed. We've finally arrived in the eyes of the journalists. I expect they will be repeating what Charlie Nicholas said yesterday. "Arsenal should go for Koeman." It's as though we don't exist.

We need to get that spade in the ground before Koeman starts listening to the likes of this journo shower of shit. I truly hope we wipe the smiles of their smug faces this season.

David Chait
32 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:21:16
I haven't, Joe... And I also haven't forgotten Barkley was excellent for the first 40. He has had as many good minutes as bad this season. Not a write-off by far!
Stan Schofield
33 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:31:36
Mark @32: I believe the smiles were wiped off the faces of the journos months ago when Koeman decided to join us. The bits and bobs of journo nonesense we see now, such as the reference to Arsenal, are simply remnants (rapidly diminishing ones) of the bias we've seen in the past.
Rob Halligan
34 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:43:44
Typical journo. Despite their good start to the season, Everton haven't played anyone really strong yet.

At least we have beaten the "smaller clubs", unlike their "darlings" who got beat at Burnley!

Graham Mockford
35 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:54:06
I think it's probably fair to say there are no 'easy' games in the Premier League but it's undoubtedly true there are 'easier' games.

Sunderland away is 'easier' than Man City away.

I do think the fixtures have given us an easier half-a-dozen games than the RS for instance, but it is also evident there have been considerable reason for confidence and signs of improvement in key areas.

Thinking that someone pointing this out is media bias and conspiracy is a bit sad.

Paul Kennedy
36 Posted 18/09/2016 at 10:54:13
What I loved was the covering by wingers and willingness to support the defence. One I particularly remember was Deulofeu looking over towards where Seamus was upfield and sprinting to cover the Boro player. Last season, that would have been an easy ball behind our defence, cross over and concede.

I am watching the game with belief and pride again instead of waiting for the shambles to happen. Really glad we got Williams, I know Stones's potential but the few games I've seen him play so far, he is still doing the same silly things.


Kieran Fitzgerald
37 Posted 18/09/2016 at 11:14:15
Jon @30. I would look to put Gibson in as a replacement for Barry or Gana. His range of passing is excellent. Given the pace and movement of our forwards at the moment, Gibson could suit them very well.

I would also give Lennon a run out. He will work hard, which suits the team ethic at present and he will also move a lot up and down the wing, which suits our forwards as well at present.

Denis Richardson
38 Posted 18/09/2016 at 11:31:50
Stan (#29) – do you really think playing the likes of 'boro and Sunderland is the same as say Man City or Arsenal? None of us are taking anything away from the results under Koeman so far, you can only beat whats in front of you after all, but I think most people would readily admit we've had a kind start to the season as far as the run of games is concerned.

Yes you have to play everyone twice but it can make a big difference to get a few wins early on to boost confidence – see Leicester last season as a prime example. They didn't have to play any of the big guns in the first half dozen or so games and went from strength to strength as their confidence grew.

Hence 'doing a Leicester', ie, win the league.

What exactly are you basing your 'Everton being higher quality than Leicester' comment on? They are current Champions and playing in the Champions League, we should probably park talk like that away until we've won something. (Hopefully that will be in 2017.)

Oliver Molloy
39 Posted 18/09/2016 at 11:46:32
Koeman will undoubtedly do his very best in order to get where he wants to be and I would say down the line that is not Everton, I could be wrong of course but can't see it.

It was mentioned in football circles that Man Utd were looking at Koeman seriously; if it had been a choice between us and Man Utd we know what would have happened, so I would take any interest from the likes of Arsenal serious. He wants to manage Barcelona - that is his eventual goal and in order do so he will have to keep on keeping on to prove he could.

It is very early days and our manager honesty is very refreshing compared to the drivel we have had to endure from the "pretender". It is also true that we have not really been tested yet, Spurs being the best side we have faced to date and of course it is true you can only beat who is in front of you and we have done.

Our position in the table will increase the confidence in our squad and more importantly open a very healthy competitive edge for places in the team. Ross Barkley is one player with a lot to prove and Koeman's comments about his game are brutally honest in a positive way for the player in my opinion.

Who knows how we will do when we play Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City , etc but we know these will be tougher tests. I think Moshiri must spend the money and buy the players who will make the difference in January.

Dave Ganley
40 Posted 18/09/2016 at 11:48:06
I am so impressed with everything I have seen with Big Ron. He has completely transformed our club. No longer the whipping boys, if we get beat then it won't be for lack of effort or will.

Forget all the moaning about TDD, without doubt, Big Ron was our most important signing of the summer.

Jim Potter
41 Posted 18/09/2016 at 12:15:51
Obviously you can only beat what's put in front of you.

No, we haven't played (barring perhaps Spurs) any of the big contenders yet – but the team is gelling, improving and getting to know the Koeman way.

Confidence and belief are increasing and, by the time we play Man City, we should be in a stronger position.

I just hope Lukaku hasn't been injured seriously. The lack of a classy backup may come back to haunt us if a metatarsal has gone.

Great start and plenty of grounds for optimism.

Stephen Ashton
42 Posted 18/09/2016 at 12:19:35
I think that Koeman is already too expensive for Arsenal. I agree the only place he wants to end up is Barca and that is great for us because, to get that gig, he will need to put silverware on the table.

On another note – I have been one of Lukaku's biggest critics, but in the last two games he has really impressed not just with goals but with work rate. The second against Sunderland just would not have happened at any point last season. He may be gone in January but I have a suspicion he is enjoying his football again and may stay for the ride.

Oliver Molloy
43 Posted 18/09/2016 at 12:23:14
Stephen, curious how you think Koeman would already be too expensive for Arsenal?
Stan Schofield
46 Posted 18/09/2016 at 13:56:52
Dennis @39: You're right, playing Borough is probably easier than Man City, and to a (much?) lesser extent Arsenal. However, Liverpool have played both Arsenal and Chelsea, neither of whom performed well against them. So you could in a way say that Liverpool were lucky to encounter Arsenal and Chelsea on relatively bad form.

I think we can overdo the luck bit. All that matters is winning, regardless of who you play. And it's not just the winning, it's the way it's done, it's the whole thing including team spirit, solidity, etc. So that's what I mean when I say we haven't been lucky.

Maybe I should have said we've had a smidgen of luck in the fixtures without putting too much significance to it. As someone famous (so famous I've forgotten who they were) said, luck favours the prepared.

Regarding Leicester, it was my opinion last season that, player for player, we were better than them, more footballing finesse included, it was just that we were badly managed. And we're a much bigger club. What Leicester did is likely to be the one-in-20-year event that we see from the likes of Nottm Forest, Blackburn and them.

My natural expectation is to win silverware, and I regard the last 20 or so years as abnormal for us, having started going to the match in 1961 and witnessing 8 major trophies and great players and great teams. So for me the recent debate about whether we're a big club compared to the likes of Leicester is a waste of time. There's no question in my mind.

Tony Hill
47 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:02:02
Apart from Man City, I don't think any of the Sky favourites are particularly impressive and certainly not Man Utd, as we've just seen.

The old order doesn't apply any more, so victories of any sort in this league are to be prized and we shouldn't diminish our achievement so far.

Eugene McLoughlin
48 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:05:58
With Maureen struggling at Man Utd... I think it makes it all the more impressive Koeman's transitioning of the team!
Patrick Murphy
50 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:10:26
Is it in our collective DNA or is it the result of brainwashing by the media? Koeman is at this moment in time the manager of Everton FC and is contracted to be so for the next 3 years, so why worry about what his next job may be?

Everton have 13 points from a possible 15 but has our opening fixture list really been any more easier than Man Utd's? Enjoy each game as it comes along and enjoy having a manager who appears to know what he's doing and stop fretting about things that may not happen and appreciate the things that are happening.

Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:16:07
Agree with Tony 48, and love what Koeman said about the crowd's reaction to Everton playing with more aggression.

If he can do what he says, and get the players running more, and pressing more, then the crowd's reaction will only get better, and no team will enjoy coming to Goodison this season to face Everton and its crowd!

Stan Schofield
52 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:18:35
Patrick @51: Well said. It's just possible that this new era big project (indeed bigger than a mere project according to Ryazantzev) is aimed at making us bigger than many imagine. We've been massive before, and there's every reason for us to be massive again.

We're not talking about things on the scale of Leicester or some such, but of Everton as we used to be in the not so distant past (although distant enough for some folks to be a bit pessimistic perhaps).

Nigel Gregson
53 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:26:46
Easy fixtures, my arse. Just saw Man Utd got beat 3-1 by Watford and we're suddenly 3 points clear in second spot. Liverpool were beaten earlier by Burnley.

You make your own luck in this league and there really are no easy games. Hope Sunderland and Moyes beat Spurs today.

Stephen Ashton
54 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:40:40
Oliver (#44), Koeman is already the 5th best paid manager in the Premier League @ £6m pa. Wenger has been at Arsenal for 20 years and is still only on £8.5m. Kronke is notoriously tight-fisted and when Wenger goes, his replacement will be on a small (in Premier League terms) basic and a performance-based bonus. No way would Koeman put up with that.
Colin Glassar
55 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:41:53
A great start to the season but, like a few of us, I'm concerned about our lack of cover for Lukaku. Valencia might turn out to be a decent player but, when I see the likes of Slimani, Benteke and Rondon making such strong starts to the season, I wonder why we didn't go for any of these players if we, apparently, were prepared to pay £30m for a midfield player like Sissoko?
Stan Schofield
56 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:43:37
Patrick @51: Seems to me a combination of the DNA thing and the media. There seems to be a lot of erring on the side of pessimism on TW. I can understand it from those whose bulk of Everton experience has been the last two decades of relative mediocrity (mediocre for Everton, but not for lots of other clubs who haven't constantly been in the top flight, like Leicester).

According to many on TW, Koeman would never join us. Then he joined us. Then the signings were shite. Then it turns out they're not shite, quite the opposite. Then we're lucky with the fixtures, so the winning might not last. Let's see on that one... There are other instances besides, which point to pessimism and sometimes sheer cynicism. There's also an over-focus on the media, and what 'pundits' think and say about Everton.

For me, it was quite natural that Koeman would join us, and it's 'reasonably apparent' that he may have been swayed by the 'project'. It's quite natural to think that he might be here for some time. So talk of him potentially going somewhere else, especially in response to the usual nonsense from the media, is to me not worth considering, it's just a waste of time.

So I think there is a bit of an inferiority complex amongst some Evertonians. But some of us have the opposite, a kind of superior way of thinking that is natural, stemming from being brought up on great Everton players and sides. We are the School of Science, the Lords of the Game, the Aristocrats of English football, the dwelling place of Young, Wilson, Vernon, Ball, Labone, Harvey, Kendall, Reid, Southall, Latchford, Sharpe, etc. Our current squad fits well into this tradition. So, are we a big club compared to Leicester, Southampton, and the like? Need you ask?

Oliver Molloy
57 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:49:53

Arsenal could buy a player costing £100 million if they wanted to – it is Wenger who doesn't want to!

Koeman being on £6 million wouldn't make any difference if they wanted him.

Andrew Clare
58 Posted 18/09/2016 at 14:59:49
Stan, I like your point of view.

It's clear that, in order to be successful, you have to have a highly motivated team. Most teams aren't. It is also very important to play the high pressing game over the full 90 minutes. Some players just aren't capable of this.

Simeone at Atletico Madrid appreciates this and so does Koeman. It's quite clear who needs replacing in our team and, once they are replaced, we will be unstoppable. In the meantime, we are doing pretty well anyway.

James Hughes
59 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:00:13
It's been great so far and puts the over-reaction of a poor TDD into perspective. We have a manager who knows how to set up a team and when to change it effectively. Gana has been amazing and Barry is back to his best, as is most of the team.

I didn't see much of the game as I was working but we had a Boro fan in the bar and said we deserved the points. Also, really nice not to worry every time we concede a corner.

Colin Glassar
60 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:06:23
There's a great interview in football Oranje with Koeman. He sounds so driven and competitive. Even his five-a-sides sounds like a day in hell. It's a great insight into his mindset.
David Chait
61 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:38:07
Speaking of the fixtures... Winning the games, you are "meant" to win, is just as – if not more important (to me) than the rest.

Consider that if you win home and away against the bottom 10, you have 60 points in the bag before you take on the rest! If we can keep winning these games and mess up less than the rest of the teams around us we will be there or thereabouts come end of the season.

Don Alexander
62 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:48:14
Top marks to everyone working at Finch Farm to implement the manager's demands, and that includes the players.

The mark of a team successful in Europe is to play two games per week with regularity, and to win. That's our stated aim this season, just the first of the three Koeman is currently signed up for.

On that basis I really don't expect huge changes for Norwich. As the season progresses I expect the players to get even fitter than they are now, with ingrained winning ways. After all, not only does our manager talk the talk, he walked the walk like a colossus when a player.

If/when he leaves, I'm confident he and Mr Moshiri will have by then reestablished us to former glory, hopefully to last a while longer than the Catterick & Kendall enterprises did.

Mark Morrissey
63 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:50:16
Well said, Stan Schofield @57 – spot on.
Peter Morris
64 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:54:01
I can't eulogise enough about the impact that Gueye is having on the balance of this team. Plus, the manager's two other signings, Williams and Stekelenburg, have also had a calming and positive impact.

Granted the goalie dropped a clanger with their goal. It was a foul, but a 6 feet 4 inch goalkeeper, who can also use his arms, should never allow himself to be put in such a position. Next time, Maarten, make sure you've got a pointed elbow waiting to greet the striker's incoming nose, instead of your soft forearm. This time, no harm done, and you've been calmness exemplified this season.

Question – can you do a Tim Howard 'star-fish'?

Gordon Roberts
65 Posted 18/09/2016 at 15:54:04
Brian #25

I think Koeman will rest Barry, Rom, Jags and possibly Baines on Tuesday vs Norwich.

Davies or Gibson should deputise for Barry but I've a feeling he may put Barkley alongside Gana and give Cleverley an outing in the position Ross normally occupies. Holgate or Funes alongside Williams with Oviedo at left back. Valencia up front instead of Rom.

Gordon White
66 Posted 18/09/2016 at 16:03:54
"Wake up love". "You're going to be late for work". It's going to happen isn't it.

Somebody pinch me. It feels like when I went to bed, Martinez was manager, and we couldn't hold on to a lead for toffees. (Forgive the pun). Team and fan spirit was awful.

Then, seemingly overnight, Ronald Koeman is our manager, someone's talking about a new stadium. Not just anyone, only our new billionaire owner, no less!!!

Romelu is still here. Steve Walsh has joined us. We've picked up some players on the cheap who have turned out to be amazing. And we're 2nd in the league, and playing like we were back in the '80s?

Burnley beat the RS, Watford beat Man Utd. And Chelsea can only manage a draw with Swansea? It is going to happen. 'Er in doors' is going to wake me up. And Everton will have lost 3-0 to Stoke again!

But just for the time being, I'm still in my "if Carling did dreams" state of euphoria, and my God, I'm enjoying it!
COYBs. Woo hoo!!

Nigel Gregson
67 Posted 18/09/2016 at 16:15:14
I think Ron should totally change the first 11 and give the other lads a proper go.

Robles, Holgate, Funes Mori, Valencia, Lennon, Deulofeu, Gibson, Cleverley, Kone, Davies, Pennington, Oviedo... heck, even Niasse should all get a go to see if the new training is having an effect.

Colin Glassar
68 Posted 18/09/2016 at 16:45:09
I agree, Nigel, we need to see if the fringe players are fit for purpose for what is a very long season.
Dave Richman
69 Posted 18/09/2016 at 17:04:31
I couldn't disagree more, Nigel . This club needs a trophy, Norwich are second in the Championship, we've never won this particular trophy and there are only three trophies available.

Put out a strong side and put Norwich to bed and let's be in the hat for the next round.

Graham Mockford
70 Posted 18/09/2016 at 17:15:10
Dave (#70),

Agree totally. Worth giving a couple of players a full game, maybe Funes Mori, Deulofeu and maybe Valencia if Lukaku has a knock. There's only two more weeks and then it's another international break so tiredness is not an issue.

To be honest, Ron made a statement of intent in the last round so don't expect too many changes.

Gordon Roberts
71 Posted 18/09/2016 at 17:20:50
For Norwich:

Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Oviedo
Barkley, Gana
Mirallas, Cleverley, Bolasie

Colin Glassar
72 Posted 18/09/2016 at 17:28:46
Funes Mori

Subs: Stekelenburg, Williams, Gana, Davies, Barkley, Bolasie, Mirallas.

Martin Fisher
74 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:25:59
Gary (#11),

Whilst I agree Gana has been a revelation and outstanding so far, he isn't anywhere near Alan Ball who is probably our greatest ever player. Having seen him play, I can say he was incomparable to anyone in blue since and we've had some good uns.

I don't want to put Gana down, though, he has been terrific.

Lewis Barclay
75 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:36:56
I honestly believe our first 11 players are good enough to challenge for a top four spot this season, possibly even good enough to finish in the top two. I don't think our 22 is good enough though,and that's what we need. I think injuries could be what stops us finishing in the top four this season.

I believe we'll be good enough next year or the year after for Champions League football though.

Stan Schofield
76 Posted 18/09/2016 at 19:45:41
Lewis @76: I agree, although I'd also say that, looking at the Premier League, there's only Man City who I would say are playing consistently better than us (so far, anyway). If it wasn't for City, I'd be realistically hopeful of winning the league. Yes, it's early days, but we're all going on what we're seeing so far. If we strengthen the squad, I'd be even more confident.
Eric Holland
77 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:21:32
If we are there or there about in January, we will be spending big and going for it this time.
Gordon Roberts
78 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:36:17
Lewis #76

Paul Merson made a similar comment on Sky yesterday. I think he mentioned that Everton probably have around 13 or 14 very good players but the rest of the squad lacks depth and quality. Next two windows will hopefully allow Koeman to add to the pool of players at his disposal. A keeper, striker and box to box midfielder must be the priorities.

Colin Glassar
79 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:52:36
Lewis, I agree but the measurement of a great manager is not by buying great players but making good players great (this, believe it or not, is the Guardiola philosophy).

Clough was the greatest exponent in English football of this philosophy with Nottm Forrest turning journeymen and has-beens into a fantastic team. If Ronald can work his magic on the likes of Cleverley, Besic, Lennon, Funes Mori, Valencia etc... and make them into highly competent cogs in his machine, then we can really, really compete this season.

Denis Richardson
80 Posted 18/09/2016 at 20:55:38
Stan – the one main thing I will agree with you on is the whole 'we are bigger than them' debate – which for me is best placed in a school playground. If we're bigger than Leicester then presumably the likes of Forest are bigger than us etc. It's really a waste of time and life is too short. History is important but fact is we've won fuck all for 20 years. (I started supporting in '83 so this 20 year wait is frankly still unbelievable to me – up until Moyes I actually started each season thinking we would win something, even in the days of Walter!)

As for Leicester last season, a fish rots from the head down and if you have a crap manager, like we did, it doesn't really matter what the players are like. I will take nothing away from Leicesters' achievements and anyone belittling them is only jealous in my view. Loving watching them in the Champions League and hope they go far and give a couple of the 'big' sides a bloody nose. They can stuff their breakaway European league.

As for Everton, we're currently on a great run of results which would not have happened, in my opinion, had we had to play Man City, Arsenal or them earlier as fitness and confidence would not have been where it is now. The players' confidence is obviously increasing week by week and any inferiority complex they had will be going away. I personally do not believe the Leicester achievement is a 1-in-20-year event mainly due to the mass amounts of money that have flooded the league. Each team has the cash to buy players that would previously have only been found in a 'top 4' side. It is no longer the norm for the 'big sides' to walk over everyone else, although it is obviously still harder (normally) to play against them.

Personally I do think we can do a Leicester this year given we finally have a top manager in the dug out – which is the most important thing at a club. You have to go back at least 20 years to be able to say that and on current form (early I know) I would put Koman ahead of Big Joe, so you potentially have to go back to Kendall Mk1 since we had a world class manager. Man City however look unstoppable at the minute but that can change. The only real issue as I've said above is our lack of squad depth. It's a long season and we can't rely on Lukaku, Gana and Barry being able to maintain this level for 9 months. However, the ride is fucking great at the minute and I hope we can wrap the main players in cotton wool and give them a rest against Norwich.

I think we now have the manager and first team capable of finishing top 4 and personally see us as serious contenders. Only injuries and lack of squad depth can/will stop us.

Tim Wardrop
81 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:12:40
To those who say we've had an easy start to the season - in the same fixtures last season we got 5 points. (I'm counting Watford at home equivalent to Boro at home, as both were runners up in the Championship the season before.)

Just saying...

Stan Schofield
82 Posted 18/09/2016 at 21:21:55
Denis, I agree with you there. The only reason I mentioned Leicester was that they'd been mentioned earlier in the thread, and I agree – the whole debate about who's 'bigger' is a bit daft.

On the subject of history, it's not simply dry history for me, it's about something I innately feel after supporting Everton since my dad took me at age 7. I was talking about Everton with him a few years ago, and he said Everton would never do anything nowadays because there's so much money in the game, and Everton aren't rich enough. I said we could do with someone buying Everton, like the Man City situation. But we both agreed that we wouldn't really want this to happen if Everton became like any other rich club, with money and hard-nosed cynicism dominating over stylish football and passion (Goodison Park style).

Anyway, I feel (for what it's worth) that our 'new era' is not just about having more cash, it's also about this 'project' that's been talked about. Indeed, I recall Ryazantsev saying it was more than just a project. In a way, I feel things are improving in a way that's consistent with the Everton I grew to know. It's mainly a feeling, based on things seeming to be fitting together nicely like a jigsaw.

A young red recently asked me why on earth Koeman chose to join Everton over Southampton. I told him that, when I was his age I'd seen several trophies, and then more, and gave him an inkling of the history I'd experienced, the kind that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck at Goodison. It seemed to make an impact on him, and I think changed his perception a bit. But that's really the only reason I go on about it, because other folks ask such questions.

Dale Rose
83 Posted 19/09/2016 at 10:54:46
Things are good at Goodison at last. Mr Moshiri and his team coupled with Kenwright's social conscience are a good mix. The team have started to believe in themselves again. Koeman is a genius. Long may this go on.

The bonus is I don't have to sit in work on Monday listening to the Red Shite going on about another Bobby Brownshoes disaster.

Liam Reilly
84 Posted 19/09/2016 at 14:35:08
What's very comforting is the change in discipline Koeman has installed at the back; Coleman and Baines both choosing when to go and when to hold.

This has made a huge change to last season where at every opportunity, they would just charge forward and leave glaring holes at the back.

Anyone see West Ham on MotD; I think it was the 3rd goal they conceded; the Hammers had a corner and ALL 10 of their outfield players were in around the West Brom box. Of course the inevitable happened and West Brom won the ball, charged the length of the field and scored.

Ghosts of watching Everton last season; hopefully laid firmly in the past.

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