Koeman bemoans squad fitness as new season looms

11 August  94 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman says he has been stepping up the fitness training of his players to compensate for the extended lay-off they were given after last season.

One of the key messages from his first pre-match press conference of the new season earlier today was his belief that even though he began pre-season training three days earlier than planned, the "the team is only on 70 per cent of the fitness of what I think a Premier League player needs,"' and he explained further during the ensuing print media portion of the "presser".

"At Southampton we had a really strong team," Koeman said, in another frank assessment of the previous regime. "In terms of a physical state, the team was high.

"But [at Everton] they had a holiday of six or seven weeks. I had planned for Southampton to start the season one week or 10 days earlier on because it is not good that players get six or seven weeks of holiday.

"That is one of the reasons why they are not on the level they need to be."

Together with fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg, Koeman has, according to sources at the club and MailOnline's Dominic King, had his players doing double sessions at Finch Farm but only within the bounds of what he feels that can withstand without suffering injury.

"I call it intensity of training," the Dutchman explained. "My training sessions and exercises are really intensive. I know football is stop-sprint, stop-sprint.

"Football is no longer running two kilometres. You have to build it up with cleverness and it takes time because we don't want injuries. They need to get used to this training.

"There is a lot of work going on at Finch Farm (in terms of renovations and redevelopment) but inside, too, there is a lot of work going on."  

Reader Comments (94)

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Kieran Kinsella
1 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:05:52
Funny that our rebuild got off to a slow start cause of Koeman's own holidays.
John Austin
2 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:12:01
We all knew the players were unfit last year. Performances and results proved it. RK is only confirming the reality but good to see him doing something about it.
Brian Williams
3 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:16:32
Koemam wasn't our manager when he originally went on holiday. It's not his fault our players are/were unfit.
Doug Harris
4 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:16:58
So we are 2 years behind what he would like us to be. The failure of some mis-management.

Lads, we are in for a long and drawn-out (in my eyes at least) 3 years. We go with the flow though.

Jay Harris
6 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:19:29
At least someone has acknowledged what we have known and seen for two and half years.
Stephen Scofield
7 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:19:37
It's so refreshing that the manager is honest. Hope it's not an excuse for a poor showing on Saturday.

The amount of good first halves and terrible second halves at the start of last season showed that. Let's just hope he can turn that around.

Jon Gorman
8 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:25:50
Getting his excuses in ahead of Saturday.
Stan Schofield
9 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:27:29
Kieran @1: The time taken for Koeman's own holidays is insignificant in terms of the time it will take to get the squad to the proper level of fitness he's demanding, so his holidays are irrelevant. So far as I can see, everything he's said has been consistent with the concerns us supporters expressed last season. So far so good.
Tom Cuffe
10 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:30:37
It's like a breathe of fresh air, honesty something were not used to, hopefully the team he puts out responds, and wear the shirt with pride, and give us the performance we deserve.
Damian Wilde
11 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:33:45
To be honest 70% is still better than what they previously were!
Lewis Barclay
12 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:35:26
Great stuff. Identify the problems and fix them.
Trevor Peers
13 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:39:08
Give em hell Ron, lazy rucker's !
It's about time, after 3 years of the clown and his non exsistent discipline.
Joe Clitherow
14 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:42:44
Doesn't take excuses from Koeman to confirm what we al knew, that players were unfit, overweight/overmuscled and patently completely ill -conditioned to play 90 to 120 minutes of Premier League level football. That was easy enough to see from 20-23 year old supposedly professional athletes blowing for tugs after an hour and conceding last minute goals plenty of times.

No, no excuses from Koeman, that can all be laid at the door of the total excuse of a manager we have paid millions to for the last three seasons, who incidentally inherited one of the fittest squads in the division.

Eddie Dunn
15 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:50:07
Everyone please lay off Ron - he is not to blame for having a holiday before he was appointed our manager. The previous incumbent is to blame for the pathetic fitness levels that we all witnessed last season. His mantra of doing ball work as opposed to other fitness work has been exposed as rubbish.
Many a poster on here has pointed the finger at the thickening waistlines of last term and the worrying fall-off in concentration towards the end of matches - an indication of poor fitness levels.
So let's give him a chance to impose his ways on our soft lads and see if the new approach bears fruit.
I, for one am willing to give him time, as he is such a refreshing change from old phenomenal bollocks.
Ian Riley
16 Posted 11/08/2016 at 00:12:41
Koeman is right. I am no fitness expert but we appeared to lack energy last season. Fitness or couldn't care less attitude? It was hard to tell.

Professional footballer's need to take some responsibility. The training ground doesn't close over the summer. Double training sessions should start as soon as they walk in from their summer holidays.

Need the season starting in three weeks really. Transfers and training not up to the start of a season. Fear Tottenham may kick our arse on Saturday.

Darryl Ritchie
17 Posted 12/08/2016 at 00:20:26
"Fitness" is a relative term. It could be that 100% fit, for one person (Martinez), could be only 70% fit for another (Koeman). It will take time to change the habits that took 3 years to establish.
Brendan Fox
18 Posted 11/08/2016 at 00:29:12
Comes as no surprise to me that the players fitness is not good enough to start the new season.

The legacy from Bobby Brown shoes runs much deeper than just poor player fitness/conditioning. The squad needs de-Martinizing and this will not be a short process so patience will be required from all Evertonians whilst this happens.

This will also weed out those players not able to get fit enough or good enough for what RK needs for each position.

Hopefully no player is safe from this purge.


Andrew James
19 Posted 12/08/2016 at 00:40:47
I'm not a fan of this tendency of our new manager to blame legacy issues or other such things in arse covering. He was prone to do it at Saints as well.

I agree that our squad has been allowed to drift fitness wise but he is being disingenuous. I had major surgery and kidney dialysis in June yet did London Triathlon last weekend. He has not got the core of the squad fit enough in over a month? Not having it. He's making excuses.

He implied Finch Farm was not up to it either. Strange but perhaps I am reading that wrong. Personally I don't think Mr Koeman will be with us much longer than our former manager. But he might give us a trophy...

Andrew Presly
20 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:11:03
Andrew #19 astute statement but we need a trophy and it must be really strange for a man like RK, I'm not a fan boy, he elbowed Craig Short in the eyeball last time I checked in, to encounter the culture of gross mediocrity / making up numbers mentality of the EFC staff.

Even Barry Horne referenced our "slightly higher" ambitions than Swansea as a way to discuss the Williams migration. Barry we like you but if you refer to us as having "slightly" higher aspirations than Swansea you need to be paddled, in public, in the Fan Zone, at 14:20 in unison with the team news. The team news is that it's the same team from last season.

Lee Courtliff
21 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:26:41
It does sound a bit like he's preparing us for defeat on Saturday.

When a new manager comes in it always takes time to implement new tactics, new players, new 'philosophy'...i suppose New Fitness should be no different.

Anthony Dwyer
22 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:43:32
Blame Roberto all you want for this, but fact is RK knows the date of our first game, and he should have them ready, no excuses.

We can't blame him for the lack of signings, clearly that's either down to him needing time to assess his inherited squad, or a failure by our board to back him properly.

But getting the first team ready for action for the start of the season is his job.

I'm not starting a witch hunt, and I'm more than happy with RK being at the helm, but fact remains its his job to get a team ready for this weekend.

My opinion is we will more than likely find the spurs game a very tough one, but luckily we have a decent run of fair fixtures between now and the end of the transfer window.

I think a lot will change by the close of the window, and we will have to just bear with RK and his players.

Pete Edwards
23 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:43:54
Andrew, he's just saying there us work going on at FF not that its not up to scratch. If it was that bad he would have the team training somewhere else more suitable until the work was done
David Ellis
24 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:46:21
This is the oldest trick in the book - " the squad I have inherited is not fit"
OK it may have some truth in it..but he's already had pre-season to get them up to speed...how long does it take to get professional athletes up to full fitness? I don't know but what... two more weeks?
David Ellis
25 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:51:04
ToffeeWebbers lose their usual cynicism when it comes to new managers. I am always excited by new managers (and new players). I was excited by the appointments of Mike Walker and Walter Smith FFS!

Roberto's optimism was met by universal approval (almost) on TW as the antidote to OFM's negativity. Now Koeman is praised for his realism..but how quickly will we say this is "negativity"?

Stay grounded chaps. The results will soon start to speak for themselves. We don't need to build up Koeman only to knock him down if/when we get a mid table finish. Let the tabloids do that.

Plato Stavrinos
26 Posted 12/08/2016 at 01:59:57
Maybe a bit of mind games by RK before Saturday's game???

I don't think any team will be 100% fit on Saturday so let's judge it after the game.

James Watts
27 Posted 12/08/2016 at 02:03:40
Ronnie is not to blame for this in my eyes. We all know how shocking the fitness levels under Martinez were. Add those poor levels to the extended holiday they have had because of the previous agreement with the regime and you can see where his frustration lays. 5 weeks of pre-season training will not fix those poor levels.

If he is still saying it in 3 weeks time though, he deserves a smack round the face with a wet kipper.

Jim Hardin
28 Posted 12/08/2016 at 02:05:19
70%? Well, that is still an 80% improvement over where they were last season, which is 100 % job still not done.
Nigel Gregson
29 Posted 12/08/2016 at 02:11:00
Realism ? he's lowering expectations for himself. The excuses have begun even before the results. Sounds like David Moyes mark 2, but one that spends tons of $$$ on average players.
Mark Andersson
30 Posted 12/08/2016 at 03:07:40
I think he is being realistic. A lot of people have said his job was a bigger task than that of Southampton. Before pointing the finger at Koeman look at the root cause, and that's Billy darling. He still wanted the Spanish omelet running our club.

I can see Koman resigning after a season trying to appease some fans and having to deal with the bull shit from the board. He needs 11 new players.

Who cares how much it costs it's not your money.

Jay Harris
33 Posted 12/08/2016 at 03:41:32
I'm not having that.

The vast majority of Evertonians were overjoyed at getting Koeman.

Now after a few weeks in the job some people are carping before a ball has been kicked in our first league game.

If you could not see the atrocious way our club has been run these last 3 years and what Koeman inherited then you must be blind.

Nigel Gregson
34 Posted 12/08/2016 at 04:04:33
Jay - I wasn't one of the overjoyed. in the last 3 years the first year we finished 5th. Atrocious that. He inherited a team that should have been competing for far higher honours according to the widely held expectations of the fans last year. Its time Koeman talked about meeting those expectation rather than whining about what he inherited and talking down expectations.
Dennis Ng
35 Posted 12/08/2016 at 04:43:00
Nigel, is this lack of fitness news? Did he say we're not good enough or that "not winning" is the true normal that we have to accept?

He has not managed a league game for us yet, so saying he is talking down expectations is foreboding all the negativity you'll throw at him for every less-than-spectacular result we get in the new season.

He merely stated something many of us believed to be the case. I don't believe that Moshiri or level headed fans will fall for the same excuses the past 2 managers threw at us.

Jay Harris
36 Posted 12/08/2016 at 05:01:47
He inherited a squad which has aged since 3 years ago,a number of whom have left and two of the so called top talent want away with one already gone.

Never mind the lack of fitness no manager in the world could expect to turn that around in a few weeks.

And BTW the 5th was a nailed on 4th until the team fell away at the last hurdle as the Martinez experiment started to hit home.

Barry Williams
37 Posted 12/08/2016 at 05:01:58
Give people a reason to moan and they will moan!

I believe Koeman is telling it like it is, would we want the over optimistic parlance of the previous regime to make a reappearance? His claims about fitness levels we all know are true and to criticize him for not getting them up to scratch in the time he has had is quite ridiculous! If you read what he has said he is pushing them to the limits without it being detrimental to the injury figures. If we suddenly has loads of hamstrings and calf strains then the boards would be awash with people moaning that he is pushing them too hard!!! He has a fitness coach in place and as a top ex-player who worked with other top players and top managers and coaches I feel he knows what he is doing. It is all very well saying they should be fit by now, but if fitness was just a case of running a lot to increase stamina ... then we wouldn't need fitness coaches, would we? The team already looks fitter than it did, therefore we are going in the right direction!

A ball hasn't been kicked in anger yet, give the guy a chance to get his feet under the table, undo the negatives from the last few years, change mentalities, change tactics, introduce his own players and a decent time frame, then we can assess!

I thought I was pessimistic before coming on ToffeeWeb!!!! wow! I realise now that I am indeed a chirpy optimistic happy chappy! Yes rainy days are not to be bemoaned, the skies are a life giving etc etc!

Tony Draper
38 Posted 12/08/2016 at 05:10:41
All managers indulge in deceptions. Whether that's "mind games" aimed at the upcoming opposition, their own board or the fans.

Our last two were a right pair of Charlie's in this regard.

At the point where Ronald was being snared, I felt encouraged that when this stage of our preseason arrived I'd be thinking "Bring the buggers on!". But I don't. Instead, I'm now in thinking "OK, this seems better, but it doesn't feel brilliant", I wanted brilliant.

The realistic part of me is arguing "the ship isn't heading beyond 11 degrees south anymore, we're heading true North again".

And thereby hangs my problem, with me, I didn't actually want "a bit better", I'd become very attracted to the idea of being bloody good, scarily good.

Still, better is ... well better than worse, isn't it ?

And there was me, looking forward to feeling confident and here I am feeling grateful again. I hate feeling fucking grateful !

Amit Vithlani
39 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:00:42
I don't understand the expectations that we could change manager and in the course of a pre-season transform into a fit team ready and capable on day 1 of the season to match all comers.

Apart from the utterly diabolical form shown for the last 10 games of the season, and the appalling fitness levels on display for longer than that, there is the small matter that the squad he inherited contains a number of players who are injury prone (Deulofeu,Jags,Gibson,Besic,Kone)

He makes reference to the fact that he has to be careful not to over do the fitness work to avoid too many injuries.

And as for this shite that his holidays were partly to blame - he was there on the first day of pre season training.

Koeman has his nay sayers on TW and so brickbats will be thrown. Fine. It will make for a good debate through the season.

Me personally, I think the man will need (and deserves time). I don't expect to beat Spurs - not least because our recent record has not been great. So there is no playing down of expectations ahead of Saturday in my book. Just good old fashioned honesty.

Brian Porter
40 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:19:15
Reading a little further into RK's words, if you accept his judgement on the general fitness levels of our squad, not only does it actually vindicate everything we were saying on here last season but it may also give a pointer to why Stones and Barkley didn't get any game time at the Euros. Hodgson probably saw what we saw when his squad assembled for the finals, two players who were patently miles behind the rest of the squad in fitness terms, and he didn't have time to spend bringing them up to the required level in the time available to him. None of our players particularly stood out for their countries at the Euros either. Seamus was ok but not electrifying for Ireland who went out in the group stage, and Rom scored a couple but also showed plenty of his lazy attitude for Belgium too.
Let's give RK time. He was probably shocked in his first week at Finch Farm to see just how unfit a squad of Premier League players can be. RM's legacy to us may take a while to eliminate. Any manager who would pay £13.5m for Niasse clearly hadn't a clue of what was needed for PL success or standards. And we expect RK to cure it in a month? The shadow of Martinez's ineptitude may hang over us for a bit longer than expected I fear. God help Belgium is all I can say.
Brian Porter
41 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:19:17
Reading a little further into RK's words, if you accept his judgement on the general fitness levels of our squad, not only does it actually vindicate everything we were saying on here last season but it may also give a pointer to why Stones and Barkley didn't get any game time at the Euros. Hodgson probably saw what we saw when his squad assembled for the finals, two players who were patently miles behind the rest of the squad in fitness terms, and he didn't have time to spend bringing them up to the required level in the time available to him. None of our players particularly stood out for their countries at the Euros either. Seamus was ok but not electrifying for Ireland who went out in the group stage, and Rom scored a couple but also showed plenty of his lazy attitude for Belgium too.
Let's give RK time. He was probably shocked in his first week at Finch Farm to see just how unfit a squad of Premier League players can be. RM's legacy to us may take a while to eliminate. Any manager who would pay £13.5m for Niasse clearly hadn't a clue of what was needed for PL success or standards. And we expect RK to cure it in a month? The shadow of Martinez's ineptitude may hang over us for a bit longer than expected I fear. God help Belgium is all I can say.
Barry Williams
42 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:25:16
Amit and Brian 40/41

Yip, What do people expect him to do given the circumstances? Are we entering an age of instant gratification?

William Cartwright
43 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:31:36
Jay, relax, you are right. Nigel is blind . . . . . . . Lets move on!
Darryl Ritchie
44 Posted 12/08/2016 at 06:54:09
Preseason was Koeman's chance to assess the squad.

Fitness - not much
Depth - under strength in a few key areas
Academy players - played them a lot preseason; has a fairly good idea of who is who and just what they can do.

Give RK a chance to get settled and get his system in place and working. I don't think you should judge him, based on the preseason. Winning games was not the main focus. The season will be a whole new ballgame. We won't win the league, but we will be better. ( I think 90% of the posters on TW could manage the club better the than the last fella).

Hell, we might win the league but I strongly doubt it. Not this season anyway. Maybe next.

Paul Conway
45 Posted 12/08/2016 at 07:17:10
Lack of fitness can be a polite way of saying that the majority of the squad he inherited were, by his standards, simply not good enough.
Abhishek Saha
46 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:01:44
What would our line-up look like tomorrow? We don't even know what are Koeman's preffered choices are and what formation he would deploy?
I would reckon .

Davies/Holgate, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines
Barry, Gana
Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas

Abhishek Saha
47 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:01:51
What would our line-up look like tomorrow? We don't even know what are Koeman's preffered choices are and what formation he would deploy?
I would reckon .

Davies/Holgate, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Baines
Barry, Gana
Lennon, Barkley, Mirallas

Dave Ganley
48 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:18:36
Think people need to calm down a little bit, Koeman is only saying stuff we have known for a good while. The players have been so unfit for PL duty it's untrue. Whilst we may think that 5 weeks of training would be good enough to play a game of football, to reach the optimum fitness levels to cope with top level football requires so much more. Most footballers come back from close season still relatively fit from the season before so 5 weeks is adequate. We were hopelessly unfit so, ergo, will take much longer to reach the levels of fitness required.

Those saying that the excuses are already out, well guess you will just moan about anything really. The manager has only just got his feet under the table and already the knives are out. Maybe they would be happy with the gobshite Martinez back? The fact is the club is currently being swept with a huge fuck off broom to get rid of all the bad habits and slovenly attitudes of the previous regime to, whisper it quietly, run the club in a professional, manner.

Tony Draper, the ship is heading north and given time we will be scarily good imo. We won't have to be grateful but this will take a bit of time given the amount of shit he has to clean up. Have faith and I shall discuss it further tomorrow afternoon with your in the main stand in our usual places.

Roll on tomorrow COYB

Ernie Baywood
49 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:19:09
With the players at 70% it's like taking a knife to a gunfight!

To be honest, I've haven't been too impressed with his press conferences so far, but it doesn't really matter.

We didn't like Moyes' negative words when we were crap. Martinez's tripe wasn't a problem until we were shit. I don't care what Ronald says, it won't be a problem until we see his results.

Amit Vithlani
50 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:23:05
I think Abhishek's XI is most likely based on the press conference, although Rom may still make it on to the pitch.

Formation wise, our lack of RB cover (why isn't this being addressed) suggests to me a likely back 3 with wing backs. I can't imagine Davies/Holgate playing RB as Spurs have good wide players (Lamela/Chadli) and ofcourse Rose who can overlap. It would be too much pressure on the opening day of the season at home for a youngster whose natural position is not RB. If they do come through it, then it could save a few bob on buying cover.

I would play a back 3, with Baines and Lennon as WBs and a midfield 3 of Barry, Gana and Barks. Geri up top with Mirallas darting into wide areas behind him.

Whilst we lack height, we have pace to burn so it should mean Spurs won't press high up.

Intriguing game.

Brin Williams
51 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:30:45
Not sure what exaclty 70% fitness means – is it like 110% effort?
David Greenwood
52 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:32:58
Dave @48, exactly.

The 70% was a message to the players, the hard work is only just starting. Be on board or you are out.

Dan Egerton
53 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:53:19
Koeman had earned his holiday, our players did not.
Eric Myles
54 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:56:35
David #24 "This is the oldest trick in the book - " the squad I have inherited is not fit" may be a pertinent comment in December but not in summer.

They are of course not fit, having had their summer hols, coupled with some extended Euro competitors.

Although why professional athletes cannot go to the gym every day when I can to keep in shape beats me.

James Morgan
55 Posted 12/08/2016 at 08:59:40
Barry Williams, spot on.
I believe he's just telling it like it is. He will get them fired up and organised at least for Spurs. Ideally we would like all our transfers done for the first game and the players to be fully fit, but sorting what the spaniard messed up will take time.
Ernie Baywood
56 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:01:57
Eric, I'm sure they're fit by most people's standards. We're talking about top class sportsman peaking at the right time.
Brent Stephens
57 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:07:13
Barry #42 "Are we entering an age of instant gratification?"

Not "entering" but "still enduring", Barry! In that respect, we the fans, wanting instant signings and pre-season friendly wins with a new manager, are a bit like the players who want to move clubs for greater glories?

Ged Simpson
58 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:13:12
All we are ending up doing is assessing press conference tactics at this stage. However, I do think some of us are being negative for the sake of it, so in x number of years they can hope to say they were the clever oracle that saw it all coming. And don't we all love the people who do that!

To me, the changes we know about seem sensible so far, not a spending spree for the sake of it and the tone to me seems to be very different, ie. that the manager is now in charge and players are expected to work for their money. May explain why they are not just buying "names".

Len Hawkins
59 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:25:24
I can't believe the number of Superheroes who post on here who can walk into a job and have everything running at 100% straight from the off. Christ the bloke has only been here a matter of weeks and still he gets moaned at. I know how sh*t Everton have been I also know that the most successful manager in the clubs history was on the verge of being sacked. As was Rudolph at United and he didn't do bad did he? For christs sake cut the bloke some slack he hasn't even finished recruitment yet, lets see how things go before building the gallows and getting the knitting out.
Ged Simpson
60 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:38:10
Brent 57 and Barry 42. So right. I think a 24-hour, multi-channel media coupled with game culture means expectations are insane. Read a forum of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal –those who have the so called megastars. They are full of little babies spitting out dummies because some hack on the Daily Nonsense has said Messi won't come due to type of fish fingers sold in Manchester.

Everything is a crisis. Tiny things become a sign of everything being wrong. The Premier League clubs feed the media, the media regurgitate it and rack up the crisis, the Premier League clubs respond to confirm there is a crisis and the fans swallow the frigging lot.

Just maybe we all do play in this game.

"Simpsons Not True Fan Crisis Shock"

Michael Archer
61 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:39:05
I have been saying this for 2 years that we were a lot slower since Moyes. One thing I remember from Moyes when he first took over was that if we weren't 2-0 up by 70 mins we would lose as our boys didn't have the legs.

Moyes changed that and credit is due, but noticed under Bobby Martinez that intensity had gone. Good to see it has been recognised and addressed. Well done Ronny, this is proof he is good for our beloved blues. COYB.

John Pickles
62 Posted 12/08/2016 at 09:55:30
If fitness was all important, clubs wouldn't spend half the pre-season jetting around the world playing pointless exhibition matches/tournaments to build up the fan base.

Anyway, Koeman should be judged on where we finish the season, not how we start it.

Drew Shortis
63 Posted 12/08/2016 at 10:04:13
The new fitness regime seems to be going well in terms of players not picking up needless injuries. As far as I remember nearly all of the niggles have been picked up in friendlies rather than in the gym or on the training pitch. A few knocks are to be expected in matches but it is very frustrating when multiple players get crocked doing drills. It won't happen overnight, but it would seem the new regime is quite rightly focussing on the players condition and this will pay dividends as the season progresses!
Laurie Hartley
64 Posted 12/08/2016 at 10:05:13
Well my spin on it is that it was a very clever example of man management.

Instead of - "you are phenomenal"

They got - "I expect you to be much fitter than you are (and your a bit soft)"

And - "just because you start in the first game I am getting new players in so don't expect to walk into the starting eleven in 4 weeks time - you are going to have to earn a start"

Furthermore - "One of my new players is a real leader and if he thinks your slacking he has my permission to tear into you."

I have watched and listened to Koeman in his interviews and I am looking forward to the coming season.

I am tipping that within a few weeks we will see an Everton team as fit as any team in the premiership that can defend and get the ball forward quickly.

Tony Abrahams
65 Posted 12/08/2016 at 10:27:57
Andrew 19, congratulations on doing a triathlon mate, especially considering what you have been through.

I do disagree with you about the fitness aspect though, because we are talking about a ten month season here.

Whilst it wouldn't do the squad any harm to have your mental toughness, to have the squad flying too early, would only result in us fading away come February.

Iain Latchford
66 Posted 12/08/2016 at 11:21:57
It was blatantly obvious the squad wasn't fit last season. Now they've had a break it's fair to assume they were less fit when they returned. RK clearly wants them very fit and says they will take a bit of time. Nothing out of the ordinary here. All seems straight forward to me.
Andrew James
67 Posted 12/08/2016 at 12:35:46
Thanks Tony much obliged. Yeah I know I was being a bit obtuse but just frustrated by the fitness problems in general.

I'm used to training alone so I'd have got super fit if I was a paid professional but I don't know what Martinez and his staff had them doing or, perhaps, not doing. There might have been subtle changes which ultimately meant they were 20% off everyone else.

It did occur to me this is reverse psychology or he is downplaying us as some have pointed out. We are about to play an extremely fit, high pressing team...who knows?

I live very close to Tottenham and would love a surprise win because I'm sick of being told how much a bigger club they are with their sole top flight title back before The Beatles were topping the charts.

Jim Burns
69 Posted 12/08/2016 at 13:13:14
Jon @8 - what do you want? Honesty or bullshit?
Jim Burns
70 Posted 12/08/2016 at 13:20:59
Anthony @ 22 - it takes more than a few weeks to turn around a fitness regime that we all know has been inadequate for several seasons now - he's not a miracle worker.

He's also talking about 70% of the fitness level HE believes is necessary to perform in today's top flight - not 70% of what went before.

he also clearly makes the point that you cant suddenly inject a turn around in fitness levels over such a short period without risking injuries - then we'd have something else to hang him with.

Lets give the guy a chance ffs!

Jim Burns
71 Posted 12/08/2016 at 13:41:43
On a related point - I see the official club site has announced that from Saturday the players won't be on parade before the match - but they will be available for selfies, autographs and awkward questions like -' why couldn't you run properly for 90 minutes? ' and ' what do you call that? '

Love it - might just focus one or two of them if they have to face a frustrated Dad with his young kids and look them in the eye - after the result instead of before it.

All change !

Richard Lyons
72 Posted 12/08/2016 at 13:53:14
Well, we're currently 6th in the Premiership - that's an improvement on last year...

Plus Lawro & "indie band Blossoms" (no, me neither) both reckon we'll get a draw.

Things are looking up!

Liam Reilly
73 Posted 12/08/2016 at 13:57:32
Koeman's right and its not his fault. These fancy dans have had it too easy for 3 seasons and only got away with it in RM's first season cause they were still well oiled from Moyes.

He's not going to change that in a few weeks. I suspect we'll see another torturous backs to the wall effort for the last 20 minutes on Saturday; if we're still in the game.

Ernie Baywood
74 Posted 12/08/2016 at 14:18:35
Feels like giving the players an excuse. And this lot aren't shy in taking such an offer.

In comparison, Guardiola was just asked about John Stones' fitness. Apparently he's fit and ready.

How did we manage to get only one player fit - and it was the one that we apparently knew was going for some time?

Brian Griffin
75 Posted 12/08/2016 at 14:38:34
I don't think I'm the only one hearing enormous alarm bells going off right now. This is the first time in years - yes, even under RM's reign I was always wildly optimistic before the start of each season - that I have no feeling of confidence for the season ahead. Is RK craftily trying to deflate our hopes, just in case it all goes horribly pear shaped?
Mark Murphy
76 Posted 12/08/2016 at 14:54:24
Brian (and others) - have you tried Sertraline?

I used to worry about stuff - like my age, my missus running off with a younger bloke. My small(ish) genitals (probably connected with the former worry?) Money worries, skin cancer, hereditary baldness
So I went the doc and he gave me these pills and I'm happy again
Ok my wife left me, I'm bald and skint and have a dodgy mole on my shoulder, and my appendage size no longer matters
But one thing that I'm absolutely not worried about is Everton being shit before the season even starts!

David Cromwell
77 Posted 12/08/2016 at 14:54:40
Yep, I'm totally uninspired. My mate Gav summed up our new gaffer pretty smartly "the Dutch Michael Laudrup". I wish the man well but he's not inspired me at all - his saints teams never scared me for example.
We've bought nobody either.
I hope it's a great season but I can't see much basis for optimism.
James Watts
78 Posted 12/08/2016 at 14:58:09
To be honest, I've all but written off the first few weeks/months of the season. Which is completely depressing and not something I thought I'd be writing.

Not getting in the required players in weeks ago with time to bed in and get fit, was at best amateurish. But with 'True Blue Bill' still heavily involved it makes perfect sense. "Hey Ronnie lad, I've got an idea. We wait until 4 days before kick off, we sell Stones and then you'll have your war chest *misty eyes, wipe away a tear*. It'll be like the good old days."

I have faith in Ronnie his team but we need to realise what a mess we were left in at the end of last season, that will take time to iron out. We have to be realistic.

James Hughes
79 Posted 12/08/2016 at 15:08:23
Mark #76 quality
Kevin Tully
80 Posted 12/08/2016 at 15:11:57
Haha Mark #76..very good. You're right of course, we don't have a clue how this season will pan out.

One thing I am sure of though, is that Koeman knows how to organise a defence, and Ashley Williams is an excellent defender. Unfortunately, he isn't starting tomorrow.

I read one poster who had typed something along the lines of 'all of the Koeman supporters.' Fuck me, a ball hasn't been kicked in anger yet and some half-wits have taken sides already! Shouldn't every poster on here be a 'Koeman supporter' at this juncture?

ToffewWeb never changes. You can rely on some posters to start off every season moaning before a ball is kicked. Glad I don't drink with any of the miserable bastards!

Chris Corn
81 Posted 12/08/2016 at 15:17:13
It's not just here Kevin @80. Footballfancast.com has Bolasie as flop of the season. He hasn't even signed for us !!
Joe Clitherow
82 Posted 12/08/2016 at 15:18:04
Brian 75

So you were wildly optimistic before each of Martinez's seasons, presumably having witnessed the steady decline the season before, but you have no confidence and you're hearing alarm bells before a Koeman side even kicks a ball in anger?

Forgive me if I'm not calling the Samaritans based on your judgement and assessment just yet.

Me, I'm mostly still just happy that we've got someone - anyone - other than the complete weapon who has been picking the first team for the past three years.

Mike Oates
83 Posted 12/08/2016 at 16:13:33
I live down on south coast not far from Southampton and quite a few of mates are supporters. Koeman is like Klopp, he likes his teams go be high energy, pressers, fast counter attackers. The pressing starts from the front and he's finding out that Lukaku, Deulofue, Mirallas, Barkley etc aren't pressers at all. They were allowed to stay upfront and it was left to McCarthy, Barry and co to do their legwork. Well they will have to change, because Koeman just won't accept it . I'm sure the 70% figure he mentioned was about our front 4-6 players, who just haven't got the fitness, or will to press for 90 minutes.

I suspect we will see a change over the coming weeks, but I'm not sure Lukaku or Deulofeu have got the will to challenge constantly .

Mark Morrissey
84 Posted 12/08/2016 at 17:05:15
1-0 to the boys. It's all mind games but the lads will be fitter this year. There is no doubt he'll have him earning their crust and we won't have any favourites like Moyes and Martinez had. Baines penner to win the match
Raymond Fox
85 Posted 12/08/2016 at 17:41:16
As I said in another thread Martinez was sacked in May, so what's been happening since then.
Who's been in charge of the squad since then?

He's preparing us for the worst, but I cant blame him, the team we will turn out doesn't inspire me at all after last season, their simply not good enough that's the problem.

This fitness lark is a joke, these guys are getting ludicrous money and they cant take the trouble to attain a certain level of fitness for 4-6 weeks before the action is due to start, talk about pampered.
Also surely Williams can play for 45-60mins cant he If all of them are 70% fit.
General opinion is that we will finish 9th, and that's about right unless we sign some real class.

As far as Koeman is concerned, he strikes me as someone who will be a strict disciplinarian which I like, but he borders on dour, just saying!

Tony Draper
86 Posted 12/08/2016 at 18:23:57
Dave @48.
You're right, of course you are, and I'm suffering from preseason jitters.

And I was just about to begin a sentence with "but", so instead I'll go and apply a spot of "Mr Sheen" to the bases of the one and only subbuteo squad who have "biographies" (handwritten) in the base of their box.

See you tomorrow in the "The Grand Old Lady"!

Steve Smith
87 Posted 12/08/2016 at 19:06:39
Not sure saying we're only 70% fit is "refreshingly honest", just a mechanism for lowering expectations, not that it matters. What I want to see in the first twenty minutes tomorrow is sneaky elbows here and there some horrible (but legal-ish) crunching tackles followed by some snarling face to face confrontations, bullying, refusing handshakes or help from opposition players, full on fucking nastiness. then after that we can play our game at whatever fitness level RK thinks we're at.
Colin Glassar
88 Posted 12/08/2016 at 19:18:47
I'm not expecting too much until after 4-5 games, then I think we will start to click with the new players and management.
Nicholas Ryan
89 Posted 12/08/2016 at 19:21:12
I do wish people would read what he said, rather than what they imagine he said:

'...it takes time, because we don't want injuries. They need to get used to this training...'

Of course the squad could be got fit, if they did an 8-hours a day, 7-days a week Royal Marines assault course the point Koeman is making, is that if he DID do that, there would be a hospital-full of pulled muscles and tweaked tendons !

Tony Twist
90 Posted 12/08/2016 at 19:42:53
That excuse won't wash tomorrow if we mess up. We have archives and archives of how the players play. He has had plenty of time to drill the defence and we have had numerous friendlies to put it into practice. He should say we will be better prepared next pre-season not bring out the negative talk now.
Patrick Murphy
91 Posted 12/08/2016 at 19:52:09
Tony (90) Even without Ron's assessment of the current fitness levels I wouldn't have been that hopeful of an Everton success tomorrow, as for one reason or another Everton don't often win their opening match of the season, the last time was four seasons ago when Fellaini scored the winner against United and prior to that it was an opening day victory over Wigan in 2007. That's not an excuse or an acceptance of the inevitable just a hard cold fact of Everton life.

EFC opening day matches

Dean Adams
92 Posted 12/08/2016 at 20:26:39
So Patrick, 4 - 1 to Spurs and we win the league!!
Colin Glassar
93 Posted 12/08/2016 at 20:32:07
2-0 tomorrow to the boys in blue.
Barry McNally
94 Posted 12/08/2016 at 20:50:39
2-0 tomorrow and top end of August!
Darren Hind
95 Posted 12/08/2016 at 21:07:19

"Shouldn't every poster on here be a Koeman supporter at this juncture?"

Well you'rr consistent, Kev, no doubting your love for this club and your desire for success.

I can't love managers; I'm suspicious of them all. I didn't rate Martinez, didn't trust Moyes, and didn't sympathise with Walter... they're not Evertonians, mate – thats us. They are hired hands, paid employees.

Support Everton, love your club (as if you need telling) but offer fuck all to a man who is here because we pay well.

Let him earn your support; too many people gave our last two managers too much love too early. Let's make this one earn it.

Niall McGurgan
96 Posted 12/08/2016 at 22:02:07
Absolutely ridiculous that professional athletes are 70% fit a day before start of season. Barring injury they are paid to be at peak fitness. What were they doing during the off season? What have they been doing since returning to pre season and what training were they doing last season?! They get PAID TO TRAIN. so do what ur paid to do, work ur ass off in training and get fit ffs!
Mark Murphy
97 Posted 12/08/2016 at 23:41:34
I used to go the game (in the 70's) with this guy who, every time the opposition crossed the half way line groaned "uh oh here we go"! 50 of us used to scream in unison to "shut the fuck up you miserable twat" – and that was when we WERE shite!

Now, we have new moneyed investment, signs of a new stadium in the offing and a new coach who seems to know what the fuck he is doing. We still have the bulk of the squad that many agreed last year could challenge for top four, without the hindrance of a tactically inept and naive coach.

We are selling players that we bought for pennies for mega bucks and buying astutely towards building a new team, to the envy of most footy fans I know (except on here) and I, for one, am excited and looking forward to the next chapter!

We may not win tomorrow, Spurs are a good team, and I predict that some on here will get some kind of perverse pleasure out of that, and I will not be ruining my mood by reading the live comments on here during the game.

We are on the cusp of something good and just because we aren't signing the stellar signings that the RedShite, Man City or Man Utd are, doesn't faze me one bit!

Come On You Blues!

Brian Porter
99 Posted 13/08/2016 at 07:07:16
Ernie #74, perhaps what that means is that RK's definition of 100% fit actually exceeds that of Guardiola. That's no bad thing in my book. Guardiola is talked about as if he's a bloody God or something. Yes he's been successful as a player and a manager with some mega fantastic teams. Only time will tell if he can replicate that success in the far tougher environment of the Premier League. If RK wants his players fitter than Guardiola expects of his Man City squad that's a big positive for mw.

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