Koeman acknowledges the need to improve

Thursday 3 August 2017  166 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman expressed his happiness at Everton's progress to the playfoff round of the Europa League qualifiers but admitted his team lacked fluidity going forward in the second leg against Ružomberok.

The Toffees matched their score from the first leg by recording a 1-0 win in Slovakia thanks to substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The striker came off the bench to make the difference for Ronald Koeman's side, who had again looked ponderous and disjointed, with a composed finish 10 minutes from time.

The result meant that Everton won the tie 2-0 on aggregate and are in the "hat" for tomorrow's draw but the manager knows his charges must keep improving before the Premier League season kicks off in a little over a week's time.

“I think we were better defensively tonight than we were last week,” Koeman told evertonfc.com. “But we know that we can and need to improve in our ball possession. We had a lot of space for one of the two centre-backs in the first half and we need to dribble in and create more than we did.

"It was a really physical game and 90 minutes that the players need in pre-season. We are through to the next round, the job is done and I'm really happy.

"The Europa League has always been important for me. I like to be in Europe - it's important for our experience. It's good for the club, the players and the fans. It's not easy to reach the group stages but we will do everything to get there.”  

Reader Comments (166)

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Liam Reilly
1 Posted 04/08/2017 at 07:01:50
Energy levels still appear very low; many of the players looked knackered at half-time.

Still, Stoke should be behind us in terms of fitness next week, so that's a positive. Expect an aerial bombardment from them.

Keith Conchie
2 Posted 04/08/2017 at 07:14:37
Massive improvement needed before the season starts.

We need more pace in attack, and a couple more signings. I'm not sure Gylfi Sigurdsson is the answer to that (pace). We have too many midfield players who don't push forward enough, we need to start playing with one defensive midfielder.

Delighted for Calvert-Lewin getting his goal, took it well. Sandro needs more support upfront and could link up well with Calvert-Lewin. Rooney should have came off instead of Sandro, so we can try them out together.

Rooney not fully fit. Keane looks solid. Pickford top quality. Klaassen improving each game.

Ian Bennett
4 Posted 04/08/2017 at 07:57:45
Still early days, but the game highlighted the left-sided defender, winger and mobile striker.
Iain Love
5 Posted 04/08/2017 at 08:03:01
Job done, but as the article points out, a disjointed performance .

I couldn't help but think that playing Rooney messed up what we were trying to do. Surely use him as an impact sub until he has his fitness and touch back. He should have gone off in place of Sandro.

Roman Lizuch
6 Posted 04/08/2017 at 08:06:15
Glad we are through to the next round. Koeman said it, we still need to improve and that´s up to them to work hard.

I agree with you, Liam, Stoke might be less prepared for the game next week, so let's see.

Mike Price
7 Posted 04/08/2017 at 08:36:57
To improve we need to sign pace. At the moment we are massively lacking with only Bolasie, potentially, to give us any.

The dark side only seem to buy pacy skilled players and unfortunately look very dangerous.

Kase Chow
8 Posted 04/08/2017 at 08:53:16
People yesterday were deriding Liverpool's win v Bayern Munich citing the fact they beat Barcelona the previous pre season and didn't achieve anything special. Yes they did!! They got top 4. We got 7th.

Yesterday, we looked impotent as we did the previous week.

We've lost 25 goals from Lukaku and 5-8 when Barkley goes – what are we doing about signing a striker or two??

Calvert-Lewin is unproven, as is Sandro, and Rooney is past it and worth 5-8 goals so where are the rest coming from?

Despite spending a tonne of money, we're gonna struggle unless we buy some goal-scorers.

�ystein Heggelund
9 Posted 04/08/2017 at 08:59:54
Mike #7: Fully agree. In the modern game, pace (and acceleration) is incredibly valuable, and has been an increasingly sought-after commodity over the past few decades. Unfortunately for us, that also means it is something everybody wants and probably the top clubs more often than not beat us to it.

Nevertheless, I'm surprised Koeman hasn't focused more on fast players in his reign so far, perhaps with the exception of Bolasie. Calvert-Lewin and Sandro both have decent, but not electric pace, and Michael Keane has added some pace to central defence (although it must be said Jags has always been one of the quickest around).

Central midfield is the area which worries me the most at the moment. Modern midfielders tend to be both strong and pacy over short distances, with the ability to advance quickly and sometimes past people. We simply don't appear to have that now. Schneiderlin looks slow, Gana is okay but nothing more, Davies is not that quick, Barry needs no further comment, McCarthy the same. Klaassen maybe too early to judge, but he's no Eriksen, Hazard, Salah for sure! Sigurdsson will not add to this, either.

My worry is that we will be overrun in midfield by the likes of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Drew Shortis
11 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:10:11
I thought our problem area last night was central midfield. Gueye & Schneiderlin are both excellent defensive midfielders but together they offer little in terms of forward passing or surging attacking runs. I would have gone with one of them plus Barry for his passing or one of them and Davies for his driving forward runs. Playing both of them against such ordinary opposition seemed like overkill.

Although I agree with the people calling for pacey direct players, I thought last night we were crying out for a target man to get hold of the ball in advanced areas and bring the others into the game. When Calvert-Lewin came on, he provided a bit more physical presence and things began to happen. I think with Sigurdsson picking out the passes and crosses, a big man up front would bang in quite a few as well as be a focal point for our attacks. Sandro, Klaassen & Rooney would play off him. My priorities now would be Sigurdsson and Giroud. It's a shame Ross Barkley is leaving as he would be an option when pace is required.

Three at the back with wing backs would work with Coleman and Baines of five years ago, but Leighton just doesn't seem to have the oomph to get to the byline and put in the crosses. I definitely think Kenny should be given an opportunity if we play this formation and we need a younger and more direct left back as an understudy to Baines and as an option when we do play three at the back. It's a shame Garbutt didn't work out as he looked very good going forwards.

A few pieces of the jigsaw to go, but we have most of the pieces in place now and our performances will improve massively with fitness and familiarity.

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:17:15
Yup. Tonight confirmed what I had suspected for a few weeks which is that Koeman does not rate pace/dribbling ability very highly as a commodity.

I think he is very wrong. With few if any players able to beat a man or burst beyond one, we looked labored and predictable in possession. We are a long long way behind our rivals in terms of attacking options and Rooney looks very much like the uninspired 16-17 version as opposed to the top class player he was 4 years ago.

If we achieve anything this season, it will have to be off the back of a watertight defense though Williams and Jags look shaken to me...

Colin Grierson
13 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:24:21
I thought Rooney, although still lacking match sharpness, played well. He created a couple of decent opportunities with his attacking intent.

Sandro looked like he is still finding his feet and needs to get on the same wavelength as his new team mates.

Klaassen was neat and tidy again and improved a little from last week.

Keane grew into the game and begun to stride out with the ball, though not enough.

Davies was our best player. He looked to attack and was involved in our best moves. The lad is class.

Gana was a bit wasteful offensively but still effective in his defensive duties.

Schneiderlin was a little unadventurous but good defensively.

Baines defended well and tried to get forward but we moved the ball too slowly between the three center halves.

Jags was pragmatic and insecure in possession.

Williams was anonymous in the back three but defended well enough when called upon.

Pickford looked commanding though was hardly tested.

Calvert-Lewin looks better every time I see him. He's getting stronger and more confident. I think we've got another real talent emerging with him.

Did Mirallas touch the ball or just shake a few hands?

Koeman sent out a team to win the game and they did. He needs the deal makers to get the business done as the jigsaw is not complete yet.

Fran Mitchell
14 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:26:34
Still pre season. So not too worried.

We can't compare to friendlies as they are naturally open games.

Calvert-Lewin looking a good striker, no need to go over board and expect him to do a Harry Kane then crucify him when he doesn't, but a very decent player with pace, strength and good finishing.

But I'm not sure if 3-4-4 or 3-5-2 suit us. Not enough pace out wide.

Onwards and upwards. Get things flowing now and start the season flying, 10 points from the First 5 games and top 4 is possible.

Need to use our early start as an advantage.

John G Davies
15 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:28:54
Ronald, I can get you Messi and Suarez if you want them.

"No thank you, they have too much pace and dribbling ability"


Ian Jones
16 Posted 04/08/2017 at 09:48:59
Sam, I don't often disagree with you, but on this occasion re pacy dribblers – he did buy Bolasie last year, possibly not everyone's favourite player, and whilst at Southampton he bought Mane and Long, although he may not have played Long on a regular basis so make of that what you want. :)

But I generally agree – we need to be much quicker, but early days yet.

Philip Bunting
17 Posted 04/08/2017 at 10:14:18
We play with too many similar players. One of Schneiderlin, Gana and Klaassen must be sacrificed for pace.

Mind you, when we got 4th with Carsley, Gravesen, combo it wasn't blessed with pace but had a bit of guile about it and they each chipped in with goals.

Paul A Smith
18 Posted 04/08/2017 at 10:50:37
Posts #7 and #8 touch on some clear points, although I am not sure Bolasie is the speed merchant some think he is.

Truth is we play a boring standard of football. We have nothing different in our team at all. 2 boring defensive midfielders who are grim away from Goodison and no pace anywhere unless Calvert Lewin (who isn't really ready) gets a free run.

Do we honestly set up any different to last season in terms of strategy? I don't think we do. Where do we look to exploit teams? How do we break them down and dominate with no skill or pace.

Barkley should be key to this squad as he is the only player on our books that can take a man on. And Coleman of course, we miss him too.

Alan McGuffog
19 Posted 04/08/2017 at 10:52:15
The "Pacy Dribblers". I see a programme about gangs who wear flat caps in Brum...
Alan J Thompson
20 Posted 04/08/2017 at 10:53:24
Keep making the excuses, you're going to need to!
Mark Andersson
21 Posted 04/08/2017 at 11:22:48
I'm surprised at the negative vibes. Koeman did a good job at Southampton and is doing the same here.. We will remain the best of the rest for some time to come..

At least our profile has risen a tad and will rise even more if Rooney lifts some silverware.

Early days... let's see how it goes.

Ciaran O'Brien
22 Posted 04/08/2017 at 11:40:49
It's quite clear we lack penetration. We have no pace in the side apart from Bolasie and Coleman who are both injured.

We have no width and are still relying on Baines and whoever is at right back to create. Lookman should be starting more since we paid a lot of money for him from Charlton plus he looked good in the under 20 world cup. Calvert-Lewin looked so much better in the centre and with support than when Ronnie plays him out wide. His goal was a classy finish.

Still its still pre-season and the last week shows that even though Ruzomberok aren't a great side but they had 6-10 games on us and it showed.

Sandro looks like he's gonna be an absolute bargain, his touches and movement were top drawer and I'm sure he'll start banging them in soon.

Keane is so much better than Stones and Klaassen is finding his feet but he has a Klassy pass.

Rooney isn't fully fit yet but he can't play up top on his own, he needs to play behind the main striker and have quick runners off him.

We still need a top class striker, left back, left sided centre back and a attacking midfielder/winger to have a strong crack at Europe and the Premier League.

Roy Steel
23 Posted 04/08/2017 at 11:45:23
Baines is finished, the game stops when he gets the ball, he either stops and plays it back or sideways; even when he gets it in front of him his crossing is dreadful.

He has become brain dead and physically knackered. Surely time to try some of the youngsters... young Tom is just about the best player we have.

Steve Ferns
24 Posted 04/08/2017 at 11:51:12
I would agree that the problem last night was in midfield. However, I do not think there is anything wrong with the personnel, it is more down to the way the team is set up and the tactics used.

Koeman had 3 central defenders and 2 defensive midfielders. That's 5 defensive players and they were defending an area no greater than 40 yards wide and 20 yards deep. The opposition never had more than 3 players in this zone. 2 central defenders would have sufficed, with one defensive midfielder and someone like Gueye playing (further forward) in central midfield could still drop deeper to cover runners when needed.

We simply had too many in defence. This meant when we got the ball there was no forward pass, other than a hoof up the pitch. If the ball went sideways, which was the only thing you could do on winning or intercepting the ball, then the player receiving this pass, still had no options as there was so few willing runners, that the opposition were able to marshal them.

I saw Klaassen came in for criticism on here. This was not his fault. He couldn't play his game. When he got the ball, he was needing to take players on (not his game) to create space to pick a pass or to draw defenders to create space for others. This is the game of Barkley, and without Ross we do not have anyone else to do this.

The sideways passes were too slow. If a sideways pass is hit with pace, snapped into feet, and there's a series of fast one touch sideways or diagonal passes, then this can create space or angles for better passes forwards. The problem last night was not with the sideways passing, it was with the lack of tempo, the fact players were taking too many touches, that they were not moving the ball quickly enough. Sideways passing is a symptom of a lack of options / runners.

Schneiderlin and Gueye are a great basis for a good midfield but we need more movement ahead, quicker passing, and less touches. Thereafter, you will see what the likes of Klaassen can really do. Sigurdsson should be able to help here.

But where would Sigurdsson play? He cannot play in Klaassen's position, because why would you spend £75m on two players for one position? Instead, one of them will play further forward, and I think Sigurdsson would be that man. He has played on the right of a front three on occasion for Swansea. Therefore, I would expect him to play from there and look to link up in the space behind the front line, with Klaassen, Rooney, Sandro, and Sigurdsson all looking to drop here.

This then raises the question as to who will actually make up that front line? Up until Calvert-Lewin came on last night, all of the forwards have been dropping off and so, if they all drop off together then the defensive can step up and easily nullify the attack, which causes Rooney to drop deeper and deeper looking for space and the ball. We looked a lot better last night with Calvert-Lewin central, because he has both height and pace. This means the defence has to drop deep to cover balls at head height, and to prevent balls over the top to feet.

By pushing up the front line, Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klaassen have room to operate. I liked the link up of Rooney and Sandro, although we saw only fleeting glimpses of this over the two games, and they would benefit from a more out and out central striker.

Klaassen made some good runs from central midfield, and this needs to be developed in tandem with someone like Rooney. For example, if Rooney drops deep to receive the ball and then plays it right to say Sigurdsson who then slots Klaassen in on goal because he has made a late run into the box, then Rooney looks like he will cover Klaassen's position as he clearly lacks the energy, stamina and speed to be able to get himself forward and also get into the box, so it would be smart for him to hold position and cover Klaassen.

There are positives here. But we just cannot see the team line up like that again, especially after those first five games are out of the way. When you think of those first five games, is Koeman gearing us up to be ready for them by playing ultra-defensively, to get our defensive cohesion in place to try to nick a few points by keeping clean sheets?

Steve Ferns
25 Posted 04/08/2017 at 11:56:46
On Bolasie, doesn't the story go that we only signed him as part of the deal last summer to get Lukaku to stay for one more year? Lukaku identified Bolasie as a player he wanted to put the crosses in for him.

I doubt Koeman would deliberately sign slow players, but he values energy and pressing capabilities over actual speed.

Pickford, Keane, Schneiderlin, Klaassen, Sandro are all players who can press. They are all busy and tidy. Sigurdsson fits into that mould and so you can see clearly what he is trying to do.

Paul Tran
26 Posted 04/08/2017 at 12:22:59
Steve, I thought that one was a bit of a red herring. The likes of Mirallas and Deufelou are too inconsistent/lightweight/ill-disciplined, so Bolasie was a fairly obvious, if overpriced buy. Direct pace, lots of drive and energy, good attitude. Just getting into his stride and got injured.
Paul A Smith
27 Posted 04/08/2017 at 12:25:44
I think we lack some of whats in this link. Plus the fact it shows how poor some of Barkleys critics have been.
19 assists for Deulofeu the year before last if you count the ones that resulted in own goals and our fans who love "the every blade of grass runners" used to say he doesn't do it enough.
The majority only ever remember the times he didnt beat his man.
19 assists. Try and buy that again.
Sam Hoare
29 Posted 04/08/2017 at 12:54:37
Ian @16 true, he did bring pact players to Soton. Not sure why he has dispensed with it in our current squad. Hate being jealous of the RS but Coutinho, Mane, Salah, Firmino etc are gonna tear some defenses apart this season...
Kevin Tully
30 Posted 04/08/2017 at 13:19:32
We can't give a 'best of the rest' free pass to the manager and players after a £150m spend in the transfer market! I don't care if Man City are spending £200m...it's up to the manager to make up that ground with tactics and motivation.

All the commentators in the media want to solidify their 'top 6' agenda, but you can't tell me all the teams who finished above us are going to have a great season – football doesn't work like that.

The manager and players at this club all earn enough to have Champions League expectations thrust upon their shoulders this season. A trophy, any trophy is the bare minimum if we don't challenge for a Champions League spot.

Stop making excuses for everyone, it's infectious. I want Moshiri to make it clear to everyone who plays for this club what is now expected. Trophies and a winning mentality. "Plucky Little Everton" are dead and buried.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 04/08/2017 at 13:23:09
Steve (#24), I agree centre midfield needs sorting out. I wouldn't leave Tom Davies's energy and movement out of it, and as you say I think we have signed an excellent player in Davvy Klaassen who will get better as he gets used to the pace of English football and his teammates play.

Still not enough pace in the team, and I felt sorry for Baines last night. Jagielka is a centre-half and stopper; don't expect him to play football and move the ball around, he can't do it – never has been able to... stopper, pure and simple.

We won last night but the more the game went on the more I wanted Lookman on and Jagielka off with Baines going to his own position.

Steve Ferns
33 Posted 04/08/2017 at 13:40:46
Yeah Dave. I'd have taken off Williams at half time for Lookman and switch to a back 4. And played like so:

Jagielka Keane Schneiderlin Baines
Davies Klaassen
Sandro Rooney Lookman

I'd have been looking to bring Calvert-Lewin on for a tiring Rooney and then have Holgate to come on at right back to Shaw things up once we got the killer goal.

Holgate Keane jagielka Baines
Gueye Klaassen Schneiderlin
Sandro Calvert-Lewin Lookman

Rick Tarleton
34 Posted 04/08/2017 at 14:01:00
I bet the rest of the Europa League teams are trembling after last night's display. We're getting rid of Barkley who makes every midfielder we've got look second rate.

Klaassen looks neat, but I can't see him having the physical presence to control a Premier League game. Sandro looks busy but doesn't look like the best finisher, though he'll obviously run till he drops. Keane and Pickford have added much needed defensive quality.

Sigurdsson will work hard and will help Gueye, Schneiderlin, Davies etc in the pressing game and Rooney looks like a player three years past his sell by date.

Creativity and speed are not there, but I don't see any evidence that Koeman sees them as being as important as pressing and work-rate.

Ciarán McGlone
36 Posted 04/08/2017 at 14:11:36
Gana and Schneiderlin do not belong on a pitch together. Gana is a fantastic defensive midfielder, better than Morgan. Play him as one, rather than expecting him to pop up all over the park.

Davies had a decent game last night, but not as a wing back. He kept drifting into the middle. There was virtually no link up play from the back to front.

We do not have the players for a 5 man offensive back line. I'm not concerned with the rustiness of the advanced players, as that can genuinely be put down to fitness/familiarity issues.

These are managerial problems... Koeman must take the blame. It would be less alarming if these weren't the same turgid and crappy mistakes that were served up for most of last season.

Steavey Buckley
38 Posted 04/08/2017 at 14:54:27
For all the money spent, Everton are just not good enough at the moment to raise hopes and expectations of a great forthcoming season.
Frank Wade
39 Posted 04/08/2017 at 14:58:27
Ciarán (#36), As you sa,y there was a lack of link up play from back to front. Main reason for this was that Schneiderlin and also Gana, to a lesser extent, when they win the ball, will turn backwards to find one of the centre backs or a lateral pass to a wing back. I felt sorry for Klaassen as he was forward of this pairing and got very little decent ball. We saw what he could do when he did get a ball in space from Rooney for the goal.

Last night, when the ball was played back to the back 3, there followed a session of keep ball with one or two Slovakian players pressing hard to retrieve it. By the time the centre back had the space to pass, there was nothing available and it often went long and was lost. The modern obsession with pass completion percentages has created the Schneiderlin type midfielder who will just find the nearest team mate. McCarthy is of the same ilk. It's so frustrating watching a player immediately look to play backwards, with possession often just eventually hoofed away towards the half way line, rather than look to play it forward first time before the opposition has time to reorganise.

It's hard to drop players like Schneiderlin, as he does add so much in breaking up the play and retrieving possession, but he has to be more positive in possession.

Anthony Dwyer
40 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:16:15
Dzeko, Mahrez, Sigurdsson and Sahko in for around £125 with Ross, Mirallas, McCarthy, and Williams going out for around £70m would make us complete.

We are only halfway to being anywhere near good enough to put up a genuine top 4 challenge.

Derek Knox
41 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:17:16
Frank, I agree with comments regarding Schneiderlin, but what has he been instructed to do?

We don't ever know, at the end of the day, whether the players are acting to instructions, which makes them look like knobs, or are they playing off their instincts, in which case they could either be a knob, or a scapegoat?

I, of course, would like to know, as would we all!

I think Gana is one he'll of a player, but also think we are not yet seeing the best of him.

Hopefully, it will all come together by next week, ........next week?

What did I do with them tranquilizers?

Keith Monaghan
42 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:24:51
I agree with the many identifying lack of pace as an issue. However, this isn't always about individual players running quickly with the ball.

For me, and it's not new, one of our big problems is that our central defenders (with the possible exception of Keane) are not comfortable in possession of the ball and stroll around passing square across the park – opposition gets time to mark up forward & midfield players who end up facing their own goal too much. Speed of thought is also a factor. Jags used to be quick, but is now average, and Williams has always been slow.

Last night, the number of times players like Gueye, Schneiderlin, Baines & Rooney passed backwards was driving me mad – Rooney's first touch is poor these days – well known in South Manchester where I live, as also is his lack of fitness – check out his stats in appearances last season – he also had a groin issue before our 2 Europa League games.

Steve Ferns
43 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:37:47
We need Schneiderlin. The guy is top class quality and would not be out of place in that position in a champions league side. However, he just needs to get rid of the ball quicker. He needs to win the ball and snap the pass, it doesn't matter if it's sideways.

We need to get the ball wide or going forwards to feet or into space to run onto as quickly as possible and then we can see how the likes of Klaassen really play. If he's getting a firm ball snapped into feet, he will get rid of it with just one touch, as long as someone, ie Rooney, is there looking for a pass, and then Rooney can play it inside.

The whole problem is, as it was for the final days of Martinez, that we are not moving the ball quickly enough. Also we are talking elite level players, so why do they often hit the ball to feet so the ball almost stops by the time it reaches it's target. these guys can control it. They need to fizz it into them, so the likes of Coleman just take one touch to move the ball forwards and run after it at pace.

Come on Ron, get them passing harder with more pace on the ball.

That said the pitch was clearly atrocious last night.

Barry Jones
44 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:40:03
Keith (#42), not only speed of thought but most importantly, moving the ball quickly. It is easier to defend against someone running with the ball than it is to defend against a team that moves the ball quickly and accurately.
Jay Harris
46 Posted 04/08/2017 at 15:51:20
I'm looking for positives to balance some of the overly critical views being put forward and to keep clean sheets means we cant lose games and it builds confidence.

We all know (including Koeman) that we still need to bring the big guns upfront in and that has been glaringly obvious.

We should remember that Bolasie and Seamus are half a season away from being fit to return and will bring class and pace to the team.

This is not as exciting to watch as the Martinez "Help yourselves to as many goals as you want and we'll try to score more" philosophy but it will bring more success and is built on stronger foundations.

We just need to build some momentum now.

Steve Ferns
47 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:02:00
The positives are we won both games, Jay. We looked solid defensively, except for the save Stekelenburg had to make. Pickford and Keane did not have any communication issues with the rest of the back 5.

Then you could say, that the defence is the priority, with the first five Premier League games, and that as long as the defence is up to it, we have a chance in each of the games. Once you have sorted the defence then you can build from there, etc, etc. I think that's how Moyes would put it!

No one else has mentioned the Sandro issues. 1. Speaks no English, yet 2. Played mainly as a lone wolf for Malaga chasing balls over the top.

So he needs to learn the lingo, obviously harder as we do have scousers in the side, and obviously he will be working with Big Dunc who will also be difficult for him to understand.

Then he needs to learn to play a different way, where it's not head down, try to out-run the or out-dribble the defence and score a solo goal. Instead he needs to learn to pass and link up. I think he's doing that well so far with Rooney. But maybe that's also down to Rooney having world class skills in that department at least.

Michael Burke
48 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:02:02
It's amazing how the mood has changed after 2 games. From the euphoria of the initial signings and the Football Manager names being banded about as potential signings-to the doom and gloom of 2 drab Europa League games.
Steve Ferns
49 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:04:36
It happens at every club in the country, Michael, usually in a few weeks time. It's the bursting of the bubbles as the pre-season optimism changes into realism and anxiety that we are not as good as we thought that we would be!
Michael Burke
51 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:12:58
I actually enjoyed some of the intricate passing around the box last night. I can see what Koeman is looking for. The last two games has shown how vital Seamus is to our play. What a miss.
John G Davies
52 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:55:02
Steve (#47).

Sandro is a very good passers-by of the ball with tremendous vision for an eye of the needle pass. He just needs to settle in and he will be fine.

He will become a fans favourite, mark my words.

Colin Glassar
53 Posted 04/08/2017 at 16:57:28
Michael, did you see the live forum last night? According to a few, we were out of Europe, relegated and going into administration after the game.
Darren Hind
54 Posted 04/08/2017 at 17:44:55

"The manager and players at this club all earn enough to have Champions League expectations thrust upon their shoulders."

"Stop making excuses for everyone; it's infectious!"

Get paid, lad.

Brent Stephens
55 Posted 04/08/2017 at 17:54:08
Kevin (#30) "We can't give a 'best of the rest' free pass to the manager and players after a £150m spend in the transfer market! I don't care if Man City are spending £200m... it's up to the manager to make up that ground with tactics and motivation".

Why should we assume Koeman is a better manager than, say, Pep? "Making up the ground" assumes that, doesn't it? And that argument could also apply to teams and their managers below us.

"All the commentators in the media want to solidify their 'top 6' agenda, but you can't tell me all the teams who finished above us are going to have a great season – football doesn't work like that".

Again, that could apply to us in relation to teams who finished below us.

I'll wait until the new lads bed in.

Frank Crewe
56 Posted 04/08/2017 at 17:58:27
I think Koeman brings criticism on himself with his risk-averse tactics. A back three, 2 wing halves, and two defensive midfielders. That's seven defensive players on the park. That only leaves room for three attacking players.

We may not concede many goals but we won't score many either. At least one of those defensive midfielders has too go otherwise I don't see where Sigurdsson is going to fit in.

We need a back four and one defensive midfielder. This leaves room for five offensive players. 4-1-4-1:

Kenny Keane Williams Baines
Gana / Schneiderlin
Sandro Klaassen / Davies Sigurdsson Mirallas / Lookman
Calvert-Lewin / Giroud / A N other

Paul Tran
57 Posted 04/08/2017 at 18:03:25
Kevin (#30), you're right. This isn't a season for excuses. Most clubs have to assimilate new players and work their way to fitness.

It's also a few weeks till the end of the transfer window and nine months till the end of the season, so I'm not rushing to judgement yet.

There is something that's bothering me, though. Last year, Koeman was shocked at the state of the players fitness. On day one of the season we ran Spurs ragged for an hour before tiring, getting a well-earned draw.

Koeman is happy with the players' current fitness levels, yet most of the squad look like they're playing in treacle. Is there a fitness guru on here that can explain this for me?

Peter Lee
58 Posted 04/08/2017 at 18:52:25
I would never have appointed Koeman.

Swap Martinezstanding on the touchline, arms folded, for Koeman sitting in the dugout arms folded and we haven't moved an inch in 18 months, despite Koeman bringing in a dozen or more players at significant cost.

We have had no pace and no shape or intent going forward, with the odd exception, for three years now.

If Martinez had supervised the two Europa League games, the team would have been booed off at half-time and at 90 minutes. What's the difference? Erm...., £150m.

Rudi Coote
59 Posted 04/08/2017 at 19:13:40
So nice of him to acknowledge the shortcomings of his team! We don't want excuses we're sick and tired of excuses. In fact we're sick and tired of being sick and tired about the same old crap that purports to be a football team on the up. Give us a break! We've heard it all before. nothing, nothing changes.

Getting excited about the new season? The excitement died last night.

John G Davies
60 Posted 04/08/2017 at 19:18:55
Paul (#57),

Their stamina work is done, all the hard work is in now for most of them except the late returns.

Next 7 days is spent on sharpness, they will be improved massively in time for the Stoke game.

Jamie Evans
61 Posted 04/08/2017 at 19:21:14
Under Martinez, we would have conceded at home. And probably last night as well...

Still lots for Koeman to work on. Let's get behind him.

David Barks
63 Posted 04/08/2017 at 19:50:35

Under Martinez, we made the last 16 of the competition. In the earlier Group Stages we beat Lille 3-0 and Wolfsburg 0-2 away after beating them 4-1 at home. I much prefer a 4-1 home win against the likes of Wolfsburg to the garbage that has been served up this year and much of last year.

Paul Tran
64 Posted 04/08/2017 at 20:50:37
Thanks John. Hope you're right.
Ian Burns
65 Posted 04/08/2017 at 20:57:02
I am a regular but not prolific contributor to TW but I am a prolific reader of every single word posted on TW.

I just want to say that Anthony Dwyer at point 40 has clearly understood the problem we have right now.

John G Davies
66 Posted 04/08/2017 at 20:57:26
Difficult to us Sunday League footballers to see how 7 days could make a vast difference, Paul, I have a mate who plays pro football; we discussed it during the week.
John G Davies
67 Posted 04/08/2017 at 21:02:27

Bookies giving odds to win the league without the. "Big 7" 😀

Paul Tran
68 Posted 04/08/2017 at 21:07:10
Cheers again, John. I understand all the fine margins around fitness. I'm curious about our 'lack of fitness' last season and the energy the players had against Spurs. Energy that we didn't often see last season. Maybe that first game was the reason? Is the fitness being built up more steadily and in a more controlled way this summer?
John Roberts
71 Posted 04/08/2017 at 22:55:15
Need to replace Rooney! He has not been good enough for years. My mates convinced me him coming would rejuvenate him and has a point to prove with the World Cup looming.

Two games I've watched, he looked sluggish and well off the pace. I'm sure he's trying hard but I'm telling you his last 3 seasons have been the same; his legs have gone.

Tom Bowers
72 Posted 04/08/2017 at 22:59:15
Why didn't he make this comment after the first leg? Nothing changed in that regard.

The way one expects every game to unfold will be the same as all teams will defend en-masse and especially the weaker ones. The teams that have speed and can produce it from the middle third are more likely to succeed such as Hazard and Willian for Chelski etc.

Everton are static now without Seamus and cannot bring on Deulofeu who did have speed. Yesterday was so boring and even though Everton had all the possession they looked far too slow even against this opposition. It wasn't until the fresh legs of Calvert-Lewin came on that the game was sealed.

Mirallas and Lennon don't seem to be good enough contenders to make right wing-back their own so Davies was installed there with limited success. There just isn't enough incisive runs to suggest that is going to make Everton a dangerous offensive team. Rooney cannot play up front anymore with the same venom as he used to have and Sandro does not have real speed either.

Now, some may say Everton are still in pre-season mode and come the Stoke game they should be ready but they do need more firepower which may only come when Seamus and Bolasie return plus the Gylfi signing.

Bill Gall
73 Posted 04/08/2017 at 23:03:42
According to Sky Sports we are no further ahead with the negotiations for Sigurdsson with previous offers not being improved on.

How long are we going to go on negotiating when the Board at Swansea have made it perfectly clear what is required to get him before we even start offering terms to the player, and in the meantime potential targets are being bought by other clubs? Smacks of the saying "Nero fiddles while Rome burns"...

Kevin J Willis
74 Posted 04/08/2017 at 23:11:03
So just a couple of points from last season (and hope I don't get crucified):

1) I'm petty sure we had 16 different contributors to our goals tally (Premier League highest);

2) Our defense was porous and dropped many a point from a winning position.

3) Even without "him" (no longer wish to say his name) we would have finished in the same position.

I'm new here and definitely points are up for discussion, but I'm much happier that we got a long-term solution in a new keeper and defense. I admit Moyes's fortress Goodison IMHO was better than the fannying around of OFM.

Steve Mink
75 Posted 04/08/2017 at 23:35:31
If we are smart, we would put in a reduced offer for Sigurdsson just to wake then up (and because he is not worth anywhere near £50m – even in this crazy market).
John Raftery
76 Posted 04/08/2017 at 23:39:32
I was expecting that by now we would have signed a replacement for the 'lazy, good for nothing' Lukaku. Easy, surely? Well, we still have 26 days of the transfer window to get someone in but I am beginning to wonder why we have not moved as quickly and decisively as we did to sign Pickford, Keane etc.

Given the club knew Lukaku would move several months ago, it is puzzling that a replacement(s) for a player who has carried the team for the past four years was not identified before the window opened. If I am doing the club a disservice and options were identified, it is puzzling that we have yet to bring someone in with only a week left before the start of the Premier League.

Sigurdsson may well create the opportunities bu,t if we are reliant on Rooney, Ramirez and a still developing Calvert-Lewin to score the bulk of our goals, I fear mid-table mediocrity beckons. Defensively we should be a lot stronger than in recent seasons but, without a top goal scorer, there is no way we can expect to win enough games to finish anywhere near the top six.

Brent Stephens
77 Posted 04/08/2017 at 23:43:39
Agree, John R. 20-odd goals a season to be replaced. And that's before we increase our scoring rate. We have nobody of height in a striking role. Calvert-Lewin looks as if he might make it in that position but we that's to be proven still.
Steve Ferns
78 Posted 05/08/2017 at 00:31:45
We don't need to replace the goals. We replace the points. That's why we strengthen the defence, midfield and attack.
Steavey Buckley
79 Posted 05/08/2017 at 00:34:48
You have forgotten already, Steve, Lukaku does not play for Everton anymore. So where the goals are coming from, this forthcoming season, even the manager does not know.
Dennis Ng
80 Posted 05/08/2017 at 01:21:27
Lukaku is a big miss but big teams are generally well rounded and I would say we're more polished overall than last season. I am excited to see how Sandro and Calvert-Lewin will pick up that slack, especially with Sigurdsson threading the needle.

I am unhappy with the Sigurdsson fee and Barkley leaving but the second is a consequence of the player's decision. Also, Lukaku's departure is also his own decision after years of self-promotion. All we can do at the club is move on and improve on what we can get.

ps: I am drunk with optimism right now and may not reply.

Will Mabon
81 Posted 05/08/2017 at 02:20:40
"I am unhappy with the Sigurdsson fee and Barkley leaving but the second is a consequence of the player's decision."

That decision being a consequence of something else.

Bill Gall
82 Posted 05/08/2017 at 02:29:05
Steve (#78), The defense may earn you the points but it is the goals that win the game .

The problem is you can only play 10 outfield players and we do not have anyone that will give us the goals Lukaku scored or even 60% of the goals he scored and as John #76 stated, the club were fully aware that Lukaku was leaving at the end of last season plus the problem with Barkley not signing a contract.

We may have someone who may pick up the goals that Barkley scored but I do not think that we will bring in anyone that will get the same amount of goals that Lukaku scored.

Joseph Terrence
83 Posted 05/08/2017 at 02:37:19
Will (#81), by any chance, do you mean Barkley's lack of a footballing brain?
Will Mabon
84 Posted 05/08/2017 at 02:55:07
Joseph – you know my answer.
Dennis Ng
85 Posted 05/08/2017 at 03:29:21
LOL – Just leading us on until the great reveal, huh? Barkley is not banging on Koeman's door to sign on after we made our moves in the transfer market. As a fan, I find that puzzling, especially at salaries 99% of the world don't earn. What do I do from here?

Just waiting for Siggy to sign on. Unfortunately for a slightly inflated price, deflated by Neymar's fee.

James Watts
86 Posted 05/08/2017 at 04:25:51
Not really leading us on, Dennis (#85) as Will is definitely a Barkley fan if you had seen any of his other posts about him. Although Will always forgets how crap Barkley has been for the majority of the last 3 seasons and it's all Martinez's, Koeman's, Southgate's & Hodgson's fault...

[Ducks and heads for cover before Will throws out some stats to prove Barkley is a Pele / Maradonna / Ronalda / Messi clone in disguise].

Will Mabon
87 Posted 05/08/2017 at 05:06:39
James, does the whole debate have to be based on such extremes? Barkley is not crap and never has been, that's ridiculous. If that was the case, we wouldn't see him leave for a top team or any Premier League team – but that will be his destination.

As you cite managers to bolster your case against him, so could I cite managers reportedly showing interest in him; more successful managers.

Unlike many that seem happy at his almost certain departure, I've been realistic enough to acknowledge his lack of consistency/variable form at times (seen in my "other posts" that you mention), whilst supporting what he brings. It's already very obviously missing in what we've seen in recent weeks, and that will continue, in my opinion. Quite a few others have said similar.

Is it beyond the imagination that Barkley is not crap, but not the type of player that Koeman wants in what he's building? All the pace has gone.

[Ducks and heads for cover before Will throws out some stats to prove Barkley is a Pele/Maradonna/Ronalda/Messi clone in disguise.]

Never exaggerated like that, James – your words. No need to duck; simply find some stats that prove he's crap compared with other players in the league over recent seasons... or compared with players we have in the team.

James Watts
88 Posted 05/08/2017 at 05:36:09
Ahhh Will, was only pulling your leg. Don't take it so personally. We know we have differing views and we've been down that road numerous times. It's all good!
Hugh Jenkins
89 Posted 05/08/2017 at 06:27:24
Will (#87), James (#88), jesting aside, it strikes me (and many others I dare say), that Ross is s troubled soul who is being badly advised.

Nobody, including Koeman and Ross, has yet defined what the "new challenge" Ross is looking for, is?

When he first broke on the Premier League scene, within a couple of weeks there were stories circulating that he had started dating the girl friend of a known Merseyside "drugs baron" and that he had been "warned off".

Recently, he was "bopped" in a well known bar. Again, no-one has come out and offered an explanation as to why?

Ross, regrettably, seems to drift into the seedier side of life, very easily, and, as we all know, for someone aspiring to be a top class international and Premier League footballer, the two don't mix very well.

I think that he is a genuinely gifted footballer, but like many of that ilk, all his brains are in his feet.

Sadly, like many before, I fear he is destined never to fulfil his potential, whilst drifting through the professional game, looking for his "new challenge", but, never actually achieving very much at all, other than a reputation for being in the seedy places at the wrong times.

Dennis Ng
90 Posted 05/08/2017 at 07:19:19
LOL Barkley and Lukaku such magnets for heated debates.

Personally, I think Barkley is talented and an Evertonian should be kept until absolutely left with no choice. That is the case right now.

However talented Barkley is, he needs to have the desire to play for us. We won't know until he gets a chance to play but why should any manager risk his job to test a theory that has played out for the worst so often?

I wish we get Sigurdsson without selling Barkley so that Barkley can have a mentor. However, it has to start with Barkley signing that contract or at least show indication of loyalty like an extension beyond 2018.

If he doesn't show loyalty, the club will have to act decisively and move on, continue improving the team by possibly selling Barkley for funds. If there is no loyalty from the player, then it will be business.

James Watts
91 Posted 05/08/2017 at 07:22:49
You could be right there Hugh #89. I think there is definitely behind-the-scene forces going on that we are not privy to. Well either that or he hates Koeman. Guess we won't know until he retires and writes a book.
Will Mabon
92 Posted 05/08/2017 at 07:42:58
It's become a drama, for sure. I can't imagine a Ross autobiography but you never know. The story will out eventually though, one way or another.
Mike Kehoe
93 Posted 05/08/2017 at 07:49:16
For all Barkley's shortcomings, his drive and attacking threat was badly missed the other night. If his attitude could be straightened out there is no doubting his abilities.

I hope things can be resolved and lessons can be learned here, that he realizes this is the best place to maximize his potential and he knuckles down; this would involve a large portion of humble pie and I'm not sure he has the appetite.

There doesn't seem to be many teams coming in for him and his wage demands are prohibitive. Also, it isn't easy to see a top six team where he could become first choice: who is he going to dislodge at Tottenham?

The team's needs are there for all to see and I have nothing new to add, but in real terms nothing has been spent yet. With all the Neymar madness done, maybe there will be some movement in the market.

Paul Smith
94 Posted 05/08/2017 at 07:55:24
Another Barkely thread.
John Daley
95 Posted 05/08/2017 at 08:22:18
"Ross, regrettably, seems to drift into the seedier side of life, very easily"

Does he? Getting clocked in a nightclub, and an ex-girlfriend of his copping off with a 'gangster' after they had finished, hardly makes him the Frank Sinatra of Finch Farm.

It Is, yet again, another lazy, baseless, accusation with scant evidence to back it up (along similar lines to the repetitive claims that 'it's a well known fact Ross has a block of lard for a brain, lad').

As for being "badly advised"? How do you know? He could be receiving perfectly sound advice, especially when viewed from the perspective of someone being paid solely to take care of his client's career and earning potential whilst not giving a toss about whatever team he currently turns out for.

You know not the terms of the contract that was (eventually) placed in front of him, nor the details of any private discussions that may have taken place between player and manager regarding Barkley's prospective role in Ron's 'brave new world', if he wiggled his biro a bit and remained on board.

If Ross was offered a salary lower than he could reasonably be expected to earn elsewhere, whilst being promised nothing more than a bit-part, followed by probable post-match bollockings, would it still constitute 'poor advice' on his agents part? Better to say "Just sign the bastard Ross, because this has got really boring now and you're supposed to be a bloody Blue"?

Dave Abrahams
96 Posted 05/08/2017 at 08:30:15
John (#95) and of course your last paragraph was just conjecture as well, but I get your point.
Jamie Evans
97 Posted 05/08/2017 at 08:50:47
Fair point, David @ 63. I was thinking of the latter Martinez performances. Can't shake those memories, unfortunately.
Tony Graham
98 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:06:46
Ronaldo says he wants to come back to England,

He might be worth a punt.
Tony Abrahams
99 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:14:00
Sigurdsson reminds me of when Man City signed Lescott, with the boot just being on the other foot?

Barkley looks like he's going to go but, if the kid has got a brain (which some people doubt), if he's watched our last two games, surely he can see that he would do a lot better in this new-look Everton?

John G Davies
100 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:21:08
For the fee we will get for Barkley, say £25-30 mil and looking what average players are costing, Everton would probably get the better of the deal if he stayed and fought for his place Tony.

I think he has burnt his bridges though, mate.

Henry Lloyd
101 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:23:49
I am convinced that the overall performance of Everton over the course of the two legs was acceptable but of course we all wanted to see more style and certainly more goals!

My general feeling was one of Everton being a bit careful and did not look as though they wanted to commit to much in going forward.

Having said all of that I think we will see a much more Attacking and Polished Everton when we play Split in the Play-Off game. COYB

Steve Ferns
102 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:27:05
It'll be less than £20m, John. Maybe as low as £10m. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a January sale.
John G Davies
104 Posted 05/08/2017 at 09:46:17

If he was available for £10 million, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

He would be gone.

Sam Hoare
105 Posted 05/08/2017 at 10:17:40
No way Barkley goes in this window for less than £20m. There are plenty of clubs who would like him and they all have money. I suspect they hope that by waiting later in the window that the price will drop – and it probably will... but not below that mark.
Sam Hoare
106 Posted 05/08/2017 at 10:23:52
Koeman is still looking for attacking players and I think our success over the next year may depend a lot on who those players are.

If for example we bought in Mahrez, Sigurdsson and Giroud then I'd be feeling a hell of a lot more confident! Unlikely, I know.

I'm surprised we weren't in at all for Iheanacho. Too untested perhaps or maybe the buy-back clause put the club off. If Giroud wanted to leave, then I think that would have happened by now so I'm curious to see what striker they have lined up but, the later this is left, the more I worry we will see another Sissoko-type panic move.

Iain Love
107 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:02:50
Perez, currently at Arsenal, decent player who we where linked with last season; the talk is £10 to £15m would get him.
Eddie Dunn
108 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:05:51
The team is clearly lacking a cutting edge. The current lack of penetration cannot be purely down to lack of match practice, and it is surely utmost in the minds of Koeman and his board that a striker is purchased asap.

We are, of course used to waiting until the last minute for our business to be done, but I did think that this season, we had got it over with early. Alas, here we are again waiting on a creative midfielder and a striker to save us from a season of underwhelming mediocrity.

Our net spend is still modest, and whatever is going on with the Sigurdsson situation, I wonder if the Barkley injury (causing a delay in his departure) may have impacted on the finances, as the club were hoping for the Barkley cash to fund the deal? Whatever we hoped Moshiri would put in in terms of money has failed to materialise.

The reality so far, suggests, he has alleviated our debt worries, and we have the Chinese overdraft facility to help smooth through any short term cashflow problems .However, I wonder if money has been the problem in our pursuit of our relatively modest targets?

Grant Rorrison
109 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:30:09
Sam (#106). Why would anyone pay big money for Barkley when he only has 12 months left on his contract? If we respond by saying that he stays for the remainder of his contract if we don't receive a decent offer then we have shot ourselves in the foot by freezing him out of game action over the pre-season. It will take him a good long while to get up to speed with his teammates assuming he can even be bothered performing for us this season.

I don't see why any club, especially not Spurs, would come in and offer decent money for Barkley when we've made it obvious with our treatment of him that there is only one option this summer and that is him leaving. Expect a derisory offer in the final week of the window from Levy.

As with the sale of Lukaku, the club has botched the Barkley situation.

James Watts
110 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:40:38
Grant (#109). I agree with your Barkley comments but how exactly did the club botch the sale of Lukaku?!?!
Jim Burns
111 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:45:40
Strange that this week's launch of the 125 Centenary retro kit is advertising Barkley shirts in all sizes – or has Ronald not told the marketing folks he's "100% leaving" this summer?
Sean Roberts
112 Posted 05/08/2017 at 11:52:32
Can't help but think people are being a little over critical. We have to bear in mind how early in pre-season these competitive games have come for us. The majority of us fans don't see the team play until the last friendly of the season at Goodison Park and that game is usually quite dull as the players are still way short of match time.

The last pre season friendly hasn't happened yet and some are predicting us to struggle this year!!! Let's see how we perform against a good Seville side that beat the Gooners at the Emirates last weekend tomorrow then the real test will be at 3 o'clock next Saturday when we take on Stoke.

Yes we are going to miss Lukaku's goal threat but we have to believe that Ronald has a plan or a trick or two up his sleeve!!!

Anyway, c'mon the Blues – let's all get behind the lads whoever is in that shirt and have a great 2017-18 season.

Grant Rorrison
113 Posted 05/08/2017 at 12:00:45
James (#110). At the very least I would say selling your best striker while apparently having no credible replacement lined up represented 'botching' something up. We may have irons in the fire but surely someone should have been earmarked and brought in as quickly as possible to make the transition as painless as possible? We look like starting the season next weekend with nobody.

If I wanted to be more scathing, I could say that selling your top players to teams you supposedly aspire to compete with represents a terrible statement of intent and renders that ambition a bit of a futile one to say the least. Especially when you're accepting their cast-offs as part of the deal.

At least we've managed to acquire the services of the Dutch Naismith!

James Watts
114 Posted 05/08/2017 at 12:20:18
Ah, okay Grant. Botching the sale wasn't the issue. Getting the replacement in was. Which I agree with. The day we sold him, we should have had someone signed to replace him. It wasn't exactly a surprise he left.
Raymond Fox
115 Posted 05/08/2017 at 12:47:26
Eddie 108, pretty much says it all for me.

Unless we buy Sigurdsson and spend another say £50m + on two forwards we can kiss goodbye to finishing in the top 6.

We were almost 20 goals short of the top 5 clubs last season and that's with Lukaku in the team; 3 teams scored 80 + goals and 2 others 78 and 77, we scored 62!

With the squad as it stands we are not going to get the required amount of goals to challenge these teams, not in my eyes anyway!

Peter Gorman
116 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:06:32
I fear that is the case Ray but you never know. With the team apparently set up like a Serie A side from the 90s, we may just eke out enough 1-0s to bore our way to the title.
John G Davies
117 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:31:55
Grant (#109).

We have shot ourselves in the foot by freezing him out of game action.

He's injured. Groin operation I think.

Dave Lynch
118 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:37:55
I cannot agree with the negativity posted on here. Are we basing this on the last 2 games?

They came to stifle and parked the bus for both games, it is very difficult to break teams down who play like that, God knows we saw enough of it under Moyes.

We are still not fully match fit and have not bedded in the new players properly.

I honestly expect us to keep improving week on week and, when we actually play teams who are more open, our own performance will improve greatly.

Grant Rorrison
119 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:38:50
John (#117). Oops, I forgot about that! We've still made it quite clear he's leaving though.
Anthony Hughes
120 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:44:53
On the subject of match fitness, when Koeman arrived last year he complained that the players weren't fit enough, a fall out from the Martinez regime. Well wouldn't you think he would have made it a priority to get the players fully up to speed this pre-season?
David Fanning
121 Posted 05/08/2017 at 13:45:59
My fears about the present administration, initially allayed by the purchase of Pickford, are back. So far, this summer's net transfer spend is approximately zero, with the possibility of a like-for-like swap if Sigurdsson replaces Barkley. If Giroud, or a striker of similar quality, is bought as the cherry on the cake, it will amount to nothing more than the purchase of Yakubu.

On the field, the team showed plenty of promise in the second half of last season, occupying second/third spots in the year-to-date table, until securing Europa League qualification allowed them to start booking their holidays. The defence had most of its Moyes-era solidity back, and the Mirallas-Lukaku-Barkley trident was working quite well, I thought. A bit of summer spending and the race for top four was on, it seemed. Now, it's back to square one. With Lukaku and Barkley gone or going, and Jagielka, Williams and Baines rapidly approaching the end, Koeman has another rebuilding job on his hands.

I only watched about half of one of the Ruzomberok matches. I actually sat through the whole of it, but my attention drifted elsewhere, it was that poor. Rooney is as bad as he was towards the end of his playing days with Man Utd. If you think the extra motivation of playing for Everton will make him good again, look at his recent performances for England – he's just as immobile with the pride of his nation draped over his back.

The jury is still out on the Moshiri era, as far as I am concerned.

David Pearl
122 Posted 05/08/2017 at 14:07:47
You could say the jury is still out on Koeman, and on Walsh also.

Sandro doesn't look to have the pace for all his running.
Klaassen is anyone's guess.
Pickford and Keane immediately look good.

So the problem it seems still looks to be with productivity up front. We are also poor in wide positions. We don't have any cutting edge or pace up top. We don't have anyone to pick a killer pass... maybe Rooney. I'd still play Barry over Schneiderlin.

Loads of work to do still but, unless we get off to a great start, we won't be breaking into the top 6 this season. By the looks of it we will need another transfer window after this one to put the final touches on the squad.
Eddie Dunn
123 Posted 05/08/2017 at 15:11:19
Dave (#118). Not trying to be negative, but Koeman knew the dates of the qualifiers a long time ago, so he has had ample time to organise his squad to gain their fitness. To bumble about against a team of minnows is pathetic – I don't care if they're ahead in their season, we have a team of high-earning athletes and they should have swatted the Slovaks away like pesky flies.

The Stoke game looms large and I would presume that those monsters will be fighting fit. The whole fanbase must surely be thinking that a season of excruciating underachievement beckons unless we see the influx of some creativity and potency.

As for the calls to wait and hope for the side to bed-in, I have seen nothing to suggest that we have the tools to do the job. We have a truckload of worker bees in midfield, and a defence that flick through Saga catalogues sitting in their Parker-Knolls.

Seamus papered over many cracks for us with his attacking overlaps, and with Baines in his dotage and Bolsasie still out, we are crying out for pacey wingers. Deulofeu has gone, Barkley is in the cold, Lennon hasn't played for months.

Why haven't we bought a striker, a winger or a big centre-forward, not to mention another centre-back to make up for Funes Mori?

Dave Lynch
124 Posted 05/08/2017 at 15:35:27
I honestly get where you're coming from, Eddie, but I still think it's not as black a picture as people are pointing out.

The Premier League is an altogether different fish from the Europa League and I reckon we will see an altogether different performance than the last couple of games.

Here's hoping, eh, mate.

Dermot Byrne
126 Posted 05/08/2017 at 15:46:56
"The whole fanbase must surely be thinking that a season of excruciating underachievement beckons..."

Absolute self indulgent and spineless nonsense Eddie mate.

Many of us saw crap games in the Europa League but we did not conclude what you think.

We saw bits that were good (Keane, goal by Calvert-Lewin, Klaassen in first game). And saw bad tactics or maybe just the get through shit Euro stuff has thrown up for years in early rounds.

So in the end I suggest your great passion is not helping your mind. Post next in October and then give a view based on real evidence.

Otherwise you just annoy the crap (as you have a right to) out of people who are not reacting so bloody fast.

Soren Moyer
127 Posted 05/08/2017 at 15:58:59
So, the first leg was satisfactory then, Ron?
Tom Bowers
128 Posted 05/08/2017 at 16:11:29
I suppose it's only natural for most of us to be un-optimistic about the new season given the poor performances against the Slovakian side. Despite the new signings the team lacked the incisiveness needed to show they can do any better than last season in the Premier League.

Things may change and we certainly hope it's sooner than later as some players looked lethargic but there is no denying a couple more players are needed at this stage especially up front.

Calvert-Lewin is coming along and Sandro may need a few more games to settle in but Rooney, Mirallas and Lennon don't convince me this team can go places.

By the way, is the Seville game a non-event?

Will Mabon
130 Posted 05/08/2017 at 17:50:48
Three consecutive posts of wisdom from David Fanning, David Pearl and Eddie Dunn. Not negativity, but realism.
Trevor Peers
131 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:00:56
Maybe Koeman thinks until he has a decent playmaker, he has zero chance of getting a top striker in?

Let him get on with the job in hand and stop trying to second guess him, until he has completed his business. Then criticize him by all means.

Dermot Byrne
133 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:04:50
Eddie – fair points though I doubt your intro.

I suspect by the end of the window some may be addressed.

Phil Walling
134 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:28:37

For all their inconsistency, I don't think we have a better midfielder than Barkley nor a better striker than Lukaku on the books, so we are bound to be a weaker team than last season.

Thus, unless Koeman can find replacements pronto, we shall struggle to repeat last season's modest seventh. Of course his inspiration (if he has any) could bring about a Leicester City but I think that unlikely!

Colin Glassar
135 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:44:06
Funny how the oft criticised Rom and Ross are now seen, by some, as Everton greats. Need to make your minds up guys.

Maybe Stones, compared to Jags and Williams, wasn't that bad, eh?

Trevor Peers
136 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:47:18
Well Phil, just give him that chance, all we can do is wait and see.
If he gets it wrong I'm he will be rightly burnt at the stake as was Roberto and deservedly.
Phil Walling
137 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:55:31
Dead right he wasn't, Colin, but we always need to sell.... in order to buy worse!
Trevor Peers
138 Posted 05/08/2017 at 18:59:27
Rom is oft looking like a walking wardrobe by Manc fans, so the jury is still out on him, Colin.
Eddie Dunn
139 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:08:33
Trevor, we waited through the break to see what happened, and we can only comment on the games so far. The season has begun ,so criticism is warranted, whether we get more players in or not.

I don't like the window being open once the league season starts, surely there is enough time to do business, especially without any major international championships taking place (apart from the young ones).

Christine Foster
140 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:08:56
I watched both games and honestly thought we were dreadful. We look tactically poor, slow of thought and body with no spark. The tippy tappy football is back with no-one taking responsibility or creating anything.

Yes, there are new players but significantly its the established players who look complacent and a lack of pitch awareness runs through the whole team. It's no use pointing the finger at any one player, they all look as though they have never met before!

I watched the other lot, far sharper, Spurs, Man Utd all look ready to start the season. We don't, by a long way. If he is still around I would expect Barkley to figure sooner than later, because there is not much (other than some good work by Rooney) in midfield.

Gana is lost.. Three centre-halves at the back? What is Koeman up to?

Ron Marr
141 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:10:37
Rom's 25 goals are a big loss. The Echo described Rooney and Sandro as abysmal in Thursday's game.
Colin Glassar
142 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:14:45
Just watched the last 20 mins of the Liverpool - Bilbao game. They look fit, play at 110 mph, find each other etc. We looked like a bunch of zombies who'd just met up for the first time.

What the hell do Everton do in their pre-season training? Weightlifting?

Trevor Peers
143 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:21:02
Koeman is only here for three seasons at most; if he gets it wrong, I'm sure he will be gone long before that. Maybe he sees Sigurdsson as a catalyst to fire the rest of the team, who knows.

Certainly, since Cahill and Arteta have gone, we haven't replaced them. Barkley just never measured up as a true winner, I'm afraid, far too fragile.

Phil Walling
144 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:34:35
Because of the resources of the Sacred Six, I can't see us having any chance of breaking into their club with a weakened team.

However, it's vital that we stay in touch – either by pulling off the Europa title or gaining another 7th place in 17-18.

You see, I have little faith in Kold Koeman because I think he – and any other manager the club appoints – will do extremely well to achieve back-to-back 7ths in my lifetime.

Unlike so many dreamers on here, I just don't believe in miracles!

John Otway
145 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:38:27
"You see, I have little faith in Kold Koeman because I think he – and any other manager the club appoints – will do extremely well to achieve back-to -back 7ths in my lifetime. Unlike so many dreamers on here, I just don't believe in miracles!"

Well let's hope you drop dead soon, Phil. Best regards. John

Martin Mason
146 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:48:57
Phil, I'm not as negative as you but I also can't see the break into the top 6 happening soon and I also doubt Koeman's ability to turn it around with the tactics he's used since he came.

I live in hope though that we can make a side gel from the good buys that we've made and tbf it's early days yet. The big dysfunction that I see is that we have great difficulty in getting the ball out of defence and forward via Gana and Morgan.

The left side looks weak too with Baines a shadow of himself, he's never been the same since the Pienaar debacle.

Nigel Munford
147 Posted 05/08/2017 at 19:55:28
And to cap it all, there's rumour that a Derby want Lookman on loan, ffs!!!
Brent Stephens
148 Posted 05/08/2017 at 20:03:30
Nigel, you don't believe that, do you? I guess the "ffs" says you don't believe it.
Kim Vivian
149 Posted 05/08/2017 at 20:35:01
On the evidence of those two games, and I know we have more targets to go for, but I sure hope that isn't all we've got to offer.

I kind of hope that either by design or just psychologically they were playing within themselves due to the quality of the opposition who themselves were out looking for a giant killing and played accordingly. They were not that far off pulling it off actually, but we definitely need a couple more incomings (I am hoping for Giroud) but I think if we were up against quality opposition I'd expect us to be putting on a better show.

People are right about Gana and Schneiderlin together – too defensive. Bench one of them for Davies I say, and use Lookman and Calvert-Lewin together more until we have reinforcements (they know each other pretty well from the England U23 set up).

I think (hope) Rooney will perk up. I think he is suffering a bit of nerves actually with the spotlight over the homecoming and needs a good couple of games or goals to get the crowd really on his side. Then we will see a better Rooney. You can see his brain is still working well.

So far as Barkley goes, I don't really get it with Koeman. He doesn't seem like a real motivator like Klopp (groan) or Conte for example, and Ross is no way the waste of space that many make him out to be. Maybe Ross has been dilly-dallying with Mrs Koeman.

Travelling up for the friendly tomorrow so hoping for some insight and trust we can subsequently get fired up for Stoke – but I can see that as a KITANO type of afternoon's entertainment.

Trevor Peers
150 Posted 05/08/2017 at 20:52:56
Kim, like others, you give Barkley an enormous amount of rope to hang himself with.

Ross won't sign a new contract with us, and he's never proved himself to be a warrior, but he is popular – that seems to be a cure all for some. But not in the brutal world of the Premier League.

Most of us, like Koeman would be quite happy to have him as a squad player, but he'll never be the cynical winner we need.

Kim Vivian
151 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:20:26
Trevor – I think with Barkley it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. No-one seems to know but is Ross reacting to Koeman or is Koeman reacting to Ross?
Eddie Dunn
152 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:26:11
Kim and Trevor, Ross may not be the force we all hoped for, but it would be interesting to see how he could fit into this team, as it is very different to last season.
Trevor Peers
153 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:30:07
Kim forget about Koeman v Ross.

We need a warrior in the team. Sigurdsson looks like one, fights like one, passes like one, thinks like one, scores like one, therefore he must be one! £50 million is cheap.

Kim Vivian
154 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:32:02
I guess that's why everyone's chasing him then, Trevor.
Trevor Peers
155 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:37:58
He's what Everton need, Kim, the top 6 already have theirs.
Nigel Munford
156 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:40:30
Correct Brent. Media ha!!!
Kim Vivian
157 Posted 05/08/2017 at 21:43:08
I hope we get him, Trevor – really I do. But I wouldn't describe him as a 'warrior' from what I've seen of him. Will be sorely disappointed if this goes tits up now, and we do need to get it over the line and get on with the more pressing task as I see it of recruiting a lethal hit man.......

......In THIS window.

Paul Birmingham
158 Posted 05/08/2017 at 22:02:06
Got the result and luckily kept two clean sheets, but we look laboured, leggy and not near fort enough for the initial onslaught as it looks in the first 5 games.

New teams do gel eventually but effort and lacking presence upfront and over all shape but some good signs, and the keeper looks like he's played for years and uses the ball intelligently, Keane and Klaassen looking better and Sandro more than a nuisance factor.

Hopefully this month we can find another Talisman striker, aka Stracqualursi, but we need some shape as I see goals in Sandro And Klaassen but corners aside I don't see where the goals will come from else where.

Early days and it will hopefully get better. Stoke and Split are tough games and banana skins. Goodison must be the 12th man in both games.

John Audsley
159 Posted 05/08/2017 at 22:03:39
We need a striker, ideally two, and we need pace throughout the team.

We are really lacking both.

So,if the bloke from Swansea simply isn't available for the price we are prepared to pay, we need to move on asap.

As it stands we won't have a striker for next weekend. Fucking crazy.

Dick Fearon
160 Posted 05/08/2017 at 22:29:19
Kim and others, I would be happy if Koeman displayed a little more warrior-like attitude.
Josh Barber
161 Posted 05/08/2017 at 22:36:58
I agree that we don't look to be even in the same league as the top 6 at this point. But if i'm being honest we didn't look like Arsenal or Man City last season either and we still came 7th.

We bought a ton of new players and they do need time. But I do have to say that I think Klaassen is quality and really loves to make a first time pass instead of holding the ball for no reason (a la Barkley). He had his moments in the last couple of games, but the main problem is that no one is looking to make runs that allow Klaassen to show his ability.

Sandro of course is always willing (and he was slipping all over the pitch), but there should be many options. If we manage to get Sigurdsson then we will have two crafty midfielders that can make a quality pass. But if everyone just stands there and watches them, what good does that ability do them?? I think natural wingers or full backs would do this more often. Baines simply looks too old these days.

I'd like to see a Giroud transfer but I'm seeing articles linking him with multiple French clubs near the end of the transfer window. I suspect Everton will leave that one too late, or Giroud may decide to just play in his home country.

Tom Bowers
162 Posted 05/08/2017 at 23:00:55
It's all about movement and control in the final third. The top teams have it a lot more than the rest.

Everton don't have it just yet but keep possession for long periods as good as anyone.

Dennis Ng
163 Posted 06/08/2017 at 03:34:18
Barkley's contract ends in 2018 right? Which means if we don't sell him now, we would probably end up with nothing. Unless I forget how transfers work. I wish he would stay but he does need to sign the new contract.

For all the moans about £50m for Sigurdsson, do we realistically have anyone else we can try to buy for the same role? Surely some kid at PSG must be knocked down the pecking order with Neymar in town.

John Smith
164 Posted 06/08/2017 at 08:14:02
"Still, Stoke should be behind us in terms of fitness next week, so that's a positive."

FYI Stoke just beat RB Leipzig 2-1.

RB Leipzig far superior to Ruzomberok.

Eddie Dunn
165 Posted 06/08/2017 at 11:39:57
Dermot 126. I don't see how my comment was "Self indulgent" or "spineless". I added "unless we see the influx of some creativity and potency".

" Spineless" would be to sit quietly watching dross, hoping for some transfer activity. We may be happily surprised by a couple of late additions but I will prefer to add my voice to those who want to see action.

As for accusing me of self-indulgence, isn't that what most of us are doing here? Indulging our opinions and sharing them with others. It would be a funny site without a bit of self indulgence!

Kevin Tully
167 Posted 06/08/2017 at 12:20:29
I suppose we will eventually sign Sigurdsson and a couple of others. This will take our total summer transfer outlay near to £180m...think about that for a moment.

Then we have quite a few posters saying we can't compete with the 6 teams who finished above us. So, how much do we need to spend then? £250m? £500m?

Kevin Tully
168 Posted 06/08/2017 at 12:26:35
Evertonians talking transfer fees in the Winslow next Saturday:


Keith Conchie
169 Posted 06/08/2017 at 12:44:26
Can't make it to the game today, anyone know if it's televised?
Colin Glassar
170 Posted 06/08/2017 at 12:46:20
Billions, KT
Colin Glassar
171 Posted 06/08/2017 at 12:48:28
Televised Keith? It's not even on the TW homepage!
Keith Conchie
172 Posted 06/08/2017 at 13:01:44
I know Colin, thought there would have been a page on here for the match by now. Was hoping to go the game, but workmen over run on extension so can't leave the house. Thought it might have been on Everton tv, surprised it's not
Kevin Tully
173 Posted 06/08/2017 at 13:02:12
We should be talking about winning the League, CG!
Tony Twist
174 Posted 06/08/2017 at 13:20:31
Plain and simple, we are not ready for the new season and there is no excuse for that. There is little directness about the team though this could be cured by purchasing a quality centre forward as a minimum.

Koeman has his positive points with him ruling with an iron fist and bring in players that would not come to Everton, that's if we didn't have him as the manager, but there are an awful lot of negatives with him. I just hope he starts really integrating the youngsters a lot more before they are palmed off on loan when they could improve things.

If we get Sigurdsson (£50 million pounds, crazy money, what would you have to pay nowadays for, say, a modern day Matt le Tissier, a player with real talent) he may improve things. A monster CF is what we need first though. Let's have an encouraging performance today please blues.

Ian Bennett
175 Posted 06/08/2017 at 13:51:15
Sifting for shit. Giroud doesn't want to join, Welbeck is an injury crock with a league record of no more than 9 goals a season, or we go for a risk like Bony and hope he's more Swansea in delivery than Stoke.

Worrying times. We've known Lukuka was going for the 4 months, yet we still don't have a plan. Not had a 25 goal striker in 30 years, don't make it another 30 years FFS.

Steve Ferns
177 Posted 06/08/2017 at 14:11:58
Why not go for dolberg or dembele? Bit of a risk, yes, but we need dolberg's height. The kid is good enough to lead the line in a European final and could get even better as he's still very young.

I'd rather spend the sigurdsson money on him and bring in some pace, even if it has to be someone like Nyiang.

Mark Morrissey
178 Posted 06/08/2017 at 14:13:33
Kevin Tully you say in your post, this will take our total summer transfer outlay near to £180m...think about that for a moment. Then we have quite a few posters saying we can't compete with the 6 teams who finished above us. So, how much do we need to spend then? £250m? £500m?

In truth Everton have spent just £1millon so far. Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Brighton, West Brom and others have all spent in excess of between £10 and £30 Million. We have spent about £94 and received £93. In truth at this time there does not seem to be a direct replacement for Rom other than Rooney and Sandro and we are a week away from the start of the season. We are in a state of flux at this time and whilst big money is being spent by some it certainly isn't being spent by us.

Jay Woods
179 Posted 06/08/2017 at 14:30:40
The pessimistic / conspiratorial view will say that we've spent the Lukaku money on the players that have come in, and that we need to be sure someone is going to fork out for Barkley if we are going to be able to buy Sig. I have to say, I can see a strong argument for that view going by evidence so far.
Clive Lewis
180 Posted 06/08/2017 at 18:53:39
Expecting a lot of 0-0 and 1-0. Also I expect when we get turned over it will be a real turning over. The midfield and attack is too defensive. No width and seems lacking in confidence going forward and ability .
Will Mabon
181 Posted 06/08/2017 at 19:01:37
Kevin, post 168:

So much inconvenient truth in that link. "Debt" indeed.

Alan J Thompson
182 Posted 07/08/2017 at 05:59:44
Why do we lack, or are starting to lack, confidence in this manager?

Barkley is slated for saying nothing, other than what the manager says he is saying, and not signing a new contract. When appointed the first thing Koeman did was to go on his holidays. At the end of that season when trying to sign new players he again goes on his holidays but this time takes his phone with him.

We play our first serious game of the season and the excuse is that the way we played is all you should expect at this stage of pre-season. It was known some time ago when the game was to be played but the usual pre-season training was planned.

Now, with 6 days before the Premier League season starts it seems we still need at least three new players. Doesn't sound much like the height of efficiency or the level of management that will match the clubs who finished above us last season.

A lot, including myself, have said that he needs to be given more time in the job even if, to me at least, he doesn't seem to want to use any.

Will Mabon
183 Posted 07/08/2017 at 08:29:25
Alan, I think we've already stretched things to the limit as far as goes bedding in new players, and some of this early flat play we've seen is a symptom of that. We are desperate for firepower above all else I believe, and maybe we could slot someone in at the eleventh hour for that.

Any more and I think it will be detrimental, if it means trying to add them in before the Stoke game. In a sense, we're at too late a stage for it to be a rush now. Ideally a worthwhile forward would have been obtained during (or instead of) this protracted Sigurdsson saga but it's not happened.

I think the thing to do now is consolidate and refine what we have from the recent matches, and try not to get splattered in the very difficult first month or so. Anyone obtained in the remaining portion of the transfer window can be added in later to a more stable base.

It's not ideal maybe, but trying to get players adequately rested and then getting to the highest fitness for the extra workload of European games, whilst integrating many new members, is a real balancing act... and a compromise. No other clubs will have done appreciably more than us; only so much is possible.

I'd rather we spent the remaining time chasing the absolute best quality we can based on the money available (whatever amount that really is) and skip the panic buys. They'll only dilute the tactical recipe even more IMO, and quite honestly, I'm struggling to see what it is already.

Koeman will get his time. It's started in earnest now, but rushing and buying below the best we can obtain is short term thinking. There's no panic – yet.

I'm not a big fan of Koeman but he started to get it together last season, at home at least. Now there have been big changes, all but one of them his changes. It's hugely different, doesn't even feel like "Everton" yet. It will either work or it won't, and in a few months, we'll know either way.

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