Koeman: 'Start has been very positive'

2 October  38 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman has been highly encouraged by what he sees as a strong start to the 2016-17 Premier League season, saying that his side are where they deserve to be in the table after seven games played.

Speaking to the press after Friday's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, in which Christian Benteke's towering header cancelled out his compatriot Romelu Lukaku's beautiful free kick, the Dutchman said the shared point was a decent result for his side amid a positive beginning to the campaign.

“I think we did well,” Koeman said of the game againts Palace. “Of course, at home and one-nil up you expect to win the game but you have to be realistic. They made it very difficult — they are physically strong, [they had] good headers, fighting for second balls.

“I think had really outstanding defending set plats against a tough team and [they got through] one time. But that's the nicest part about football — you can't stop everything all the time.

“Great goal [by] Benteke with maybe the best chance of the second half falling to Gana and some [there was] some luck maybe in the offside decision [that would have made it] 2-1.

“I think [in the end] it was a fair result. I think I'm happy about the performance. Of course, in the first half the final pass was not that [of the] quality to score the second [goal] but in [terms of] the performance, we did a good job.”

Asked if he felt his Everton side should be higher in the table based on the promising nature of their early results, Koeman laughed.

“Higher in the table? Please, think about it. Before the season, you expected Everton after seven games [to be higher than they are now?]

“We didn't steal a point. All the points, all the victories and the defeat last week as well were all deserved.

”I think that's overall positive. Of course we need to improve, we need to get better but I think the start of the season has been very positive.”


Reader Comments (38)

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Bobby Mallon
1 Posted 03/10/2016 at 08:16:48
I must admit he is correct in saying the table does not lie. But in two of the games, Bournemouth and Palace, we really were poor in a half each game.

I can't help think back to Sunderland, the Barkley sub and the difference when Mirallas and Deulofeu interchanged from right to behind Lukaku and how good we looked. Bolasie got more space because Sunderland had to start thinking of the other forward threat.

Give Barkley a rest.

Richard Dodd
2 Posted 03/10/2016 at 09:28:13
A little bit Robertoesque, I fear. We thought the days of bullshit were over!
Darren Hind
3 Posted 03/10/2016 at 09:30:53
Not THAT positive.

The knowledge that it could and probably should, have been better is head bangingly frustrating.

The boss is right to remind us to "please think about it". Most of us would have settled for this start before the season kicked off, but I can't help thinking about the easy chances missed by Valencia and Lukaku at Bournemouth and the one Gana missed on Friday.

Unreasonable? Maybe, but when the honours are being dished out at the end of the season these are the sort of things that will make the difference.

Confidence, form, ability, energy levels They're all major contributing factors as to where you finish, but being clinical when opportunities arise is the be-all and end-all.

Sam Hoare
4 Posted 03/10/2016 at 09:36:18
Quite positive. 5th but with possibly the easiest start to the season in the whole league.

I would be more encouraged if our run of wins had come in the last few games but, as it is, we go into an international break having lost to Bournemouth and been somewhat fortunate to get a point at home to Palace.

John Hammond
5 Posted 03/10/2016 at 09:44:20
7 games, 1 defeat, 14 points, I'm happy. The team will get fitter and play better no doubt. There'll be tougher times ahead though when key players start getting injured.
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 03/10/2016 at 10:07:26
Always two ways of looking at anything, but I can understand what Koeman, is saying. He took over a squad which was mentally fragile, and had also become push-overs to play against. By going back to the basics, this seems to be changing, but only when the team is prepared to play at full throttle.

We do lack a bit of quality at times though, and don't look as comfortable in possession at the minute. It's possible we haven't had enough time to work on this side of our game; enough, up to now... and hopefully things will get better now we seem to be slowly getting the dirty side of our game up to scratch.

I'm sure someone with as much experience and knowledge of the game as Koeman will be able to sort out the technical side of our game, but as always, hard work, and then a few new players, must come first!

Paul Kennedy
7 Posted 03/10/2016 at 10:26:32
Yes you can look at the glass half-full or half-empty. I have felt very positive so far this season but confess that, watching the game on Friday and the impetus that Palace were building against us,

I thought the manager took a very long time to react; and when he did, I was surprised that he took off Barkley (not having a great game but okay) and left Cleverley who looked slow and sluggish, gave the ball away, and really contributed very little.

I can look that we are 14 points toward a European slot or 26 points for safety. I want to stay positive.

Paul Tran
8 Posted 03/10/2016 at 10:27:50
I've got a slightly different take on this. Koeman's made us more solid and difficult to beat. Just for that, I think we'll finish higher this season. I'm thinking that, for all the energy and pressing we've used in most games, we haven't really played that well and we're 5th.

I'm frustrated at the missed chances that have cost points and the apparent lack of goals in the team. What will happen when actually start playing well?

Victor Jones
9 Posted 03/10/2016 at 11:47:12
I want Everton to win every game that they play. We all do. Can you be critical of the start to the season? Well yes you can. One point from two winnable games. Not great. We could now be sitting at the top of the league but Everton always seem to find a way to balls up winnable games.

People saying that Bournemouth and especially Palace are not bad teams. Really! Harder games than those two will be coming thick and fast. Let's hope that we can somehow pick up points from the "bigger" teams , over the next few months. Now that would be positive.

Last point: we need players other than Lukaku scoring goals. IMO that would be positive. I know that Lukaku gets critised for some aspects of his game but where would he be without his goals? Last season we would have been close to being relegated. This season we would be hovering around midtable.

Fourteen points looks good. But this time last season we had 13 points.

Can players like Barkley, Mirallas and Delofleu really make positive contributions? Do some supporters linger far too much on past good performances from these players? Hoping that they can reproduce those performances on a regular basis.

Maybe Koeman needs to change things in January. Or maybe start playing a few of our promising youngsters. Now that would be positive. Positive thinking, if nothing else. Banging on with players who are simply not doing is not positive.


Ste Traverse
10 Posted 03/10/2016 at 12:59:17
Of course it could have been better, but if I had been offered back at the start 5th place with 14 points from 7 games and only 5 goals conceded, I would have taken that.

It's getting needlessly knocked out the League Cup is what pissed me off though.

Chris Gould
11 Posted 03/10/2016 at 13:05:05
Every team can say, "If only that chance had gone in. If only we were more clinical. If only..."

It's a cliche, but the league table doesn't lie. We deserve to be where we are. We would all love to be higher, but we don't deserve to be.

Every game in the Premier League can be difficult. Man Utd drew at home to bottom of the league Stoke City. Man City lost. Arsenal got very lucky to beat Burnley. Liverpool were one down for sometime. Chelsea have been struggling. There are no easy games and Palace will give a lot of teams real problems with their height, strength and direct play.

In the short time he's been here, Koeman has made us solid defensively. Only Spurs have conceded less, but unfortunately we're still susceptible to crosses. All but one of the goals we've conceded have resulted from crosses.

Making us more potent up front is going to be difficult with the players we've got. We need to buy well in January.

Stephen O'Donnell
12 Posted 03/10/2016 at 14:06:15
I bet Pep Guardiola is shaking in his boots when we come to town. I hope the boy Davies gets a chance rather than Barkley now...
Steavey Buckley
13 Posted 03/10/2016 at 14:49:05
Everton fans are between a rock and a hard place, not content with premier league survival; or just finishing in the top half; or even in the top the top 6, but only prepared to accept the elusive top 4.

Three years ago, Everton fans were promised by the former manager, Martinez, a top 4 finish; that still remains on the table, but not with the squad of players the current manager possess.

At least with 3 important players, Barkley, Deulofeu and Mirallas, who have reached a level of inconsistency, that would not be accepted by any other team that has any ambitions.

Darren Hind
14 Posted 03/10/2016 at 15:09:21
"Every team can say, "If only that chance had gone in, If only we were more clinical, If only ..."

Absolute bollocks. Only those who miss their chances think "if only". How many times have you heard a Leicester fan say "If only" when he talks about winning the League?

Man Utd fans didn't leave last season's FA Cup semi-final thinking "If only", did they? That was us, because we knew Lukaku had enough chances to win two semi-finals.

"Every team" My arse. Winners don't concern themselves with "If only"s.

Kevin McCartney
15 Posted 03/10/2016 at 15:41:15
I hope this week's training is geared toward 'pressing from the front'. Lukaku – take note, hopefully the players will all have been watching how Tottenham pressed Man City into making mistakes etc> Let's see how we go about it next Saturday.


Mark Morrissey
16 Posted 03/10/2016 at 15:54:37
It's game of opinions when recounting football performances.

I thought Benteke's goal was not "great". He out-jumped a static Coleman who should not have been marking him; it ought to have fallen to someone who is capable of competing against a centre-forward. We used to use Phil Neville for that sort of stupid defending.

Stekelenburg was rooted to the spot in concrete boots. I don't rate him which is why I am being critical. Watching Benteke out-jump Seamus was like watching a car crash. As the ball floated over I shouted to my missus "It's in, far post" and that was before he'd actually finished heading it. A great goal??? really... I've seen better.

Excuses and I don't see why... just come out and say once again we were still not quite at the races. We are a team in transition. Just be truthful. It was not pleasant to watch. Do not turn into Roberto Martinez. Please. I hate weak management. Be supportive, be constructive. Talk about the things we need ti improve on and pick out some good points. You don't have to be negative but don't say Benteke's goal was "great".

Rob Halligan
17 Posted 03/10/2016 at 15:59:10
Agree, Kev (#15). Especially the way Man City are now playing from the back, starting from the goalkeeper.

Bravo is going to cost Man Cty a lot of goals with the way he tries to play out. The games I've seen already, he is putting himself in trouble by trying to be clever.

Lukaku needs to push right up on him when he has the ball, and whoever plays wide needs to cut off his options of playing the ball wide, which tends to be the City centre-backs.

This is not La Liga where Bravo could get away with it with Barcelona. Could make for an interesting game if we play it correctly and press City hard.

William Cartwright
18 Posted 03/10/2016 at 16:30:33
"Mentally fragile" seems to sum up the collective psyche of Everton, players and supporters alike. I was listening to the Swansea and Redshite game and yes, you guessed it, in goes the injury time penalty winner again. Oh and then (surprise, surprise) there it goes for Arsenal, 'have been disallowed' a goal in injury time...

What is evident is favoritism among the refs? Perhaps. But what is more evident is quality teams keep going to the final whistle and beyond. Then do not get exasperated, temperamental, depressed, frustrated, they just put their heads down and go for it. It's amazing how often they manage to pull it off. Congrats to them.

I think there is something deeply flawed in how Everton conduct themselves during games and it has been around for 3 years plus, if not longer. This is already identified by Koeman and it is what will bring about a gradual root-and-branch overhaul of the squad. This is what Moshiri is paying him for. Let's give him a reasonable amount of time to sort it out.

I think it's time for a similar mental refresher for fans as well. We need to be patient, realistic, take the medicine that a real sonofabitch of a hard-nosed manager is going to have to dish out.

I was really impressed with Sean Dyche's response to the appalling referring, just shrugged his shoulders and bollocked his defenders for allowing Arsenal the opportunity to take the advantage. We need more of that, or this season is going to get ugly.

I love watching Ross, Rom, Gerry and Kevin at full throttle; however, they are not doing it often enough. Gana has been MotM for what, 4 or 5 games out of 7? Now that is what I call class and quality. We have some wonderful prima donnas but very little true quality throughout the team.

Tony Hill
20 Posted 03/10/2016 at 16:57:35
William, I think that sums things up perfectly, though the malaise is indeed much longer than 3 years in my view. You're right about us as supporters too.
Chris Gould
21 Posted 03/10/2016 at 17:28:55
Darren, you're missing my point. Any team CAN say "if only" but only whiners do.

Every team can point to poor finishing or poor refereeing. For people to say that we would be higher in the league IF we had beaten Bournemouth or Crystal Palace is pointless. Every team could say the same thing and point to missed chances.

Darren, you have a way with words. No, actually you don't. You just come across as a cantankerous and rude individual. Very many of your comments are absolute bollocks, but I wouldn't be so rude as to say that.

Mark Morrissey
22 Posted 03/10/2016 at 17:48:24
Kevin Mac & Rob Halligan – you have already said it. Now let's just wait and see just how quickly we press up front against their keeper and full backs when playing out. I'd like to think that we will be on 'em straight away.

We've recognised that from watching the bungling Bravo trying to justify Guardiola's decision. If we don't get a goal from that shambling game play, I'll eat my hat. I just hope Koeman is on it as we speak....

Steavey Buckley
23 Posted 03/10/2016 at 17:52:28
Koeman had a far better team than at Everton at present when he was manager at Southampton 2 seasons ago. Yet, even last season, Southampton only managed 6th place and well off the pace to finish in 4th.

And with the inevitable of the top 5 teams always reinforcing season after season, it is going to take a mighty leap in faith to predict that Everton will finish 4th this season or the next. Because, unfortunately, finishing in 4th is a 'red line' – anything less should be considered a failure.

Denis Richardson
24 Posted 03/10/2016 at 18:11:20
I would rather have played not too well and be where we are than have played well and have lower points and position in the table. We haven't set the world alight but still managed 4 wins in the first 7 games.

We're a work in progress and arguably there are 6 teams (excluding us) who at the start of the season would have said top 4 is their realistic target/expectation this season (and I don't even include Leicester here). Taking that into account, we're doing very well so far – admittedly tougher games on the horizon but it's great to be averaging 2 points a game.

So far so good.

Ciarán McGlone
25 Posted 03/10/2016 at 18:13:02
Is this what Koeman honestly believes? Because it appears to be at odds with his previous 'calling a spade a spade' comments following the actual performances.
Tom Bowers
26 Posted 03/10/2016 at 18:20:29
Naturally Big K will be quite happy, as we all were about 10 days ago, but the more astute fans could see it wasn't much improvement over what went on over the last 3 seasons.

We don't expect overnight success but the influx of Stekelenburg, Gana and Bolasie gave some indication of future success.

A poor run of 3 games without a win and only one goal (that being a fortunate free-kick award) has knocked us back a little but ,if ever a game was made to use as a rebound, then it's the next one against Man City, who proved they are not invincible yesterday and against a Spurs side without Kane.

It won't be easy but at least they have 2 weeks to prepare; if they frustrate Man City early and keep Silva quiet, then they could snatch a favourable result.

Peter Mills
27 Posted 03/10/2016 at 18:45:22
I don't know why people are talking about 3 years. It's been 30 years since we had a seriously good team.

That's right. 30 years. Many Evertonians have never followed a team of proper winners, and that is very sad.

We have a new manager, his team has accumulated 2 points a game. I don't for a minute believe that he has turned things around, but it's an excellent start.

Tony Sullivan
28 Posted 03/10/2016 at 18:58:39
Peter, if we carry on accumulating 2 points a game, we would finish the season with 76 points!!! Interesting thought.
Kunal Desai
29 Posted 03/10/2016 at 19:01:39
There are no easy games in this league. Burnley were unlucky not to get a point against Arsenal and Stoke did take a point off Man.Utd.

You have to beat what's in front of you. Sitting in 5th with a return of 14 points is excellent. I wouldn't put it past us to go to Man City in two weeks and get something there.

Steve Carse
30 Posted 03/10/2016 at 19:37:44
Kunai, the something we'll get at Man City is most likely to be a good pasting. Many posters on this thread see hope in Bravo and hence think simply pushing on to him and the City back line is cause for optimism.

Problem is, the more you press the bigger the gaps you leave and the more vulnerable you are to quick passing counter attacks. You need the whole team to press further up the field from where they are doing so currently and the pressing has to be unified from all 10 outfield players.

Quite simply this Everton side is some way from getting the hang of this and overloading with players like Lukaku, Mirallas, Deulofeu and Barkley, suggests they never will.

Darren Hind
31 Posted 03/10/2016 at 19:52:09
Chris Gould,

I did not miss the point. I just think it was simplistic nonsense.

Try to get your head around a point before you challenge it. The people who take their chances don't ever look back and think "If only".

I want our strikers to score when they have open goals. You are clearly happy to adopt the "shit happens" philosophy.

Take it from a "cantankerous" old bastard. It's bollocks... losing bollocks.

David Ellis
32 Posted 04/10/2016 at 03:41:17
Chris Gould – I'm with you on this one!!

Darren – every team misses chances and lets in weak goals... and if it costs them points, they then postulate how their league position would look if for them... and only them... those chances went in and those goals were saved.

But if that happened to everyone then – hey presto – the league table would look exactly like it does now. One team's scuffed goal is another team's "weak" concession. One team's missed chance is an equaliser or winner completely discounted by their opponents in calculating how many points they "should" have had.

It's neither simplistic or nonsense. It's got nothing to do with wanting or not wanting our strikers to score goals.

John Pierce
33 Posted 04/10/2016 at 05:04:06
Too much of a "wait and see", "give Koeman time" vibe going on here in this thread. We have had 2 years of patience, based on one season achievement of 5th.

Koeman was brought in to win and achieve either a cup or finish 4th and above, any poppycock about projects and windows is rubbish. Koeman will be at the helm at the most 3 years based on his own ambitions, he will owe us nothing. He can therefore be judged quickly and as harshly as you like.

I for one like the physicality and the better defensive shape. But his team cannot do anything well for more than 30 minutes. His selections betray the players' lack of adaptability and his own limitations to use players who don't possess the power and stamina he demands.

Based Moshiri's changes off the field, the manager has become dispensable, as we now have a set-up which is not beholden to the manager. My opinion being, if Koeman doesn't achieve this season, he will be vanquished or under severe pressure to be at it from game one next season.

I welcome this ambition and expect it; no longer should we be treading water, waiting for the manager to get it right. We had 18 months of indifference, 5 months of apathy and then a full on mutiny. This paucity of form that damaged the image of the club so much, it did appear to influence potential targets to stay put or go elsewhere.

Many have criticised Levy at Spurs for his revolving door of managers, even when they delivered good league results. He kept firing and hiring until he found a guy that could do it immediately and under pressure.

Moshiri should and I hope will do something similar with the club now able to absorb sacking a manager. Koeman I suspect gets this model and will not unless pushed, indulge in youth players, or persist with mediocrity. He lives in the 'win now' world. So Tom Davies et al may have to wait, and perversely Ross won't get dropped, because – however crap he has been – he can do something others cannot.


Darren Hind
34 Posted 04/10/2016 at 05:54:29
Dear me... It's not rocket science. What the fuck has us putting away our chances got to do with anybody else?

If we (that would be Everton) score our open goals (not a great deal to ask), then we will be finishing far higher up the table than we will if we continue to miss them.

This is an Everton website (the clue is in the name); I'm not interested what other fans are saying, although I KNOW Man Utd and Leicester City fans were not saying "if only" as they paraded their trophies around.

Shrugging the shoulders at missed sitters and saying "it happens to everyone" may make for an easy excuse, but it will never make for a successful football team.

If we (that would be Everton) are ever going to get back to the top, we have to make sure we grab our opportunities... a bit like Leicester did last season, often against the run of play.

If we want to stay where we are, we just have to continue to accept missed opportunities, that "shit happens"... we can even make ourselves feel better by claiming it happens to "everyone".

Three domestic trophies are up for grabs this season and I guarantee you that not one of those clubs who win them will be parading their trophy thinking "if only"...

Paul Tran
35 Posted 04/10/2016 at 08:16:03
Last season it was 'if only we were better in both boxes'. This season it is 'if only we were better in their box'.

That suggests to me we've done something about it, we're more organised and have tightened up defensively. No 'if only' involved here.

The harder part is being effective in their box. We have one goalscorer who scores plenty and, like all goalscorers, misses some as well. Problem is, we don't have any others, so when our only one misses, it's a disaster.

If we're going to get rid of the 'if onlys', we need some goalscorers to emerge from this team, or from our recruitment.

For most of my life, we've been surrounded by 'if onlys'. On the rare occasions we've been successful, we've sorted out them out ourselves and we must do that now.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 04/10/2016 at 09:14:50
"If only we got more men in the fuckin box!"

I thought Darren, had a touch of The Boomtown Rats yesterday, but he has got a point because the oldest adage in football has got to be "look after yourself".

I think Paul, usually talks a lot of sense and hopefully, now the defence is starting to look a bit stronger, we can now start to concentrate on our forward play a bit more.

Now let's start looking to get more men into the other team's fuckin box!

Stan Schofield
37 Posted 04/10/2016 at 09:37:15
There are no easy games. Even though the opening games have been 'easier' on paper, we haven't played consistently well, but have an average of two points per game. If you don't play well but can achieve that, I regard it as encouraging. It indicates that, when we do play well, we should be a force to be reckoned with. It'll be interesting to see how the Man City game turns out.
Brent Stephens
38 Posted 04/10/2016 at 10:52:29
David Ellis #32 - the voice of reason. And politely put.
Matthew Williams
39 Posted 04/10/2016 at 17:16:23
Bring back Garbutt and Galloway from their loan spells...we're gonna need 'em!

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