Ronald Koeman sees plenty of room for improvement in his Everton side despite them recording another comfortable pre-season friendly victory over a lower-league side.
The Blues beat League One MK Dons 3-1 at Stadium mk this evening to add to their 3-0 win over Barnsley on Saturday but the boss had mixed feelings over the performance which he admitted was probably affected by the pitch.
“I'm not really happy because we didn't play well in the first 45 minutes. The pressing wasn't good enough. They found too many spaces between the lines and that was the problem in the first half.
“Also maybe the tempo of our ball possession wasn't very high, maybe also because the grass was high and it stopped the ball rolling. There was less tempo than Saturday but that's pre-season and it's enough stuff [there] to talk about [with] the players.
“[The length of the grass did affect us] a little bit … because what you need is to play at a high tempo with good movement. The second half was a little bit better. But it's a good friendly in a nice stadium and now we prepare for the weekend.”
The boss agreed with interviewer Darren Griffiths that Gerard Deulofeu, who forced in the opening goal after just two minutes and then set up Ross Barkley for the second, had a good first half playing in an advanced central role in the absence of a recognised striker.
Romelu Lukaku is still on his post-Euro2016 break and neither Arouna Kone nor Oumar Niasse travelled with the team to Milton Keynes.
“Yes, he's a very dangerous player in that position and if we don't have Lukaku, maybe he's the best option to replace Romelu in that position,” Koeman explained. “He showed his qualities — he's fast and he made good runs and, of course, [as a result] of the big fault by the goalkeeper and the defender, he scored a goal.
“But the second [goal] is really what we want — good movement into space, [beating] the defender and then a good cross to Ross and he scored [to make it] 2-0.
Koeman was also pleased to see Muhamed Besic get on the scoresheet and demonstrate his versatility beyond just being a defensive midfielder player.
“We like that,” the Dutchman continued. “One side [of his game] is the holding position but if there is space and you go [towards] the box to score a goal, that's good because we like midfielders to not only keep the ball a defensive role but also to see if there is any space or opportunity to score a goal.”
Reader Comments (27)
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1 Posted 26/07/2016 at 23:42:11
Refreshing words and accurate too
3 Posted 27/07/2016 at 00:19:56
4 Posted 27/07/2016 at 02:49:30
5 Posted 27/07/2016 at 03:39:44
6 Posted 27/07/2016 at 03:59:21
This was not as energetic or expansive as Barnsley, there was far too much sideways, backwards and one-touch return passing, especially from the opposition area back to the goalkeeper! WTF?!?!
Worrying that he sees Deulofeu 'replacing' Lukaku, as if confirming the big man is on his way out. It would have been nice to hear him say something about Stones, who was of course brilliant again, and I was overjoyed to see him playing for us.
But a lot of work still needed and less than three weeks to go...
7 Posted 27/07/2016 at 04:42:57
8 Posted 27/07/2016 at 06:34:44
9 Posted 27/07/2016 at 06:46:23
Passing back to the keeper is precisely what Koeman doesn't want. Give it a bit time. If first impressions mean anything then we just might be alright. I've a good feeling about this fella.
Time will tell.
10 Posted 27/07/2016 at 08:02:40
Michael I don't think the reference to Lukaku meant anything other than if Rom isn't playing we might have found a back up not a permanent replacement.
Excellent interview such a breath of fresh air - I can see only improvement in the coming weeks although my morning is tempered by the news we might purchase Gueye!
11 Posted 27/07/2016 at 09:50:56
12 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:03:13
Got to say so far, things he is doing and saying feel like a breath of fresh air. I can literally feel my Everton Stress evaporating away.
13 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:05:59
14 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:19:27
Given that Ronald seems to want dynamic and productive players in his midfield, it doesn't bode well for Barry and or perhaps McCarthy as they both tend to slow down the attacks. The first half of the season may see some inconsistency and some sobering results but as always we'll have to show patience and hope the manager can get his ideas across to his players as quickly as possible.
16 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:34:50
The players are professional and should accelerate the understanding of the tactics of the manager. We must never start the seasons slowly as usual any more.
Thank you guys for keeping faith with Koeman and the players while looking forward to the best season of our team. No more high blood pressure and sleepless night.
17 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:38:52
18 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:50:29
Think that'll be bye bye to the DCM partnership of Barry and McCarthy and I won't be sheding any tears there. Barry's too old to play the kind of game RK wants and I don't think McCarthy can (or ever will) after playing under Martinez for 7 years.
Hopefully Martinez signs for Hull soon and he can take a couple of our players there.
19 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:51:22
Btw where is Rom? I know he got a longer break but it's not like he ran his ass off right to the final and single handedly won the cup for Belgium.
20 Posted 27/07/2016 at 10:56:28
Also Stones brilliant again? Think he only touched the ball about 3 times.
21 Posted 27/07/2016 at 11:15:58
I'm sure his firm management will bring the best out of them, even with no new signings. I'm not even sure we're that desperate for a new GK at the moment, Stekelenburg looks good.
22 Posted 27/07/2016 at 11:44:13
Pleased that Koeman wants us pressing more and identifies that we give opponents too much space. Thought that was one of our major issues last year and responsible for our horrendous defensive record.
Energy, pace and aggression in the middle of the park needed. McCarthy to be fair has those qualities so I'm not sure why everyone is writing him off. I'm not his biggest fan by a long shot and perhaps his unwilling to play forward passes will count against him but I imagine Koeman will want a good look at him first before getting rid.
23 Posted 27/07/2016 at 11:53:02
24 Posted 27/07/2016 at 12:07:53
Problem with RM is that he's like a snake oil salesman. The guy sounds great at the beginning until you realise he talks utter bollocks.
25 Posted 27/07/2016 at 15:16:46
It's so refreshing to hear constructive criticism and down to earth, no bullshit analysis.
26 Posted 27/07/2016 at 15:22:55
27 Posted 27/07/2016 at 15:29:11
I enjoyed the first half perhaps that shows how my standards have slipped and took a lot from the performances of Davies and Tarashaj. They may not be ready yet, but not far off, and our new favourite Catalan definitely is the real deal. Plus that young lad Barkley we seem to have got from nowhere.
28 Posted 27/07/2016 at 16:57:39
He needs to step up against better opposition, of course, but I think we could have a decent centre-half there.
Also, the McGeady thing has now reached the point where I am actually starting to admire him. He gets so much abuse from the fans and appears to be so far out of his depth, yet he keeps plugging away.
Aaron Lennon looked more disinterested than I ever remember seeing him under Martinez, perhaps we will see him and Kone sold to Hull before the start of the season! Maybe Robles as well.
29 Posted 27/07/2016 at 17:05:14
I think we have a winner in him. It's good to win pre-season, look at last year and the total disaster that followed!
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