Koeman still demanding more from his forward line

Friday 18 November 2016  39 Comments  [Jump to last]

It's been a consistent message since the start of the season but Ronald Koeman is still demanding more workrate from his forward players, arguing that they were outshone by the energy of Chelsea's strikers two weeks ago.

The manager says that he has fully analysed the video from Everton's mauling at Stamford Bridge and one of the key areas for improvement remains the need for pressing and productivity from the front three or four players in the line-up.

The Blues have only scored five goals in their last six Premier League matches so a shortage of goals is clearly evident as well as defending from the front.

“Our attacking part of the team is the position where I have the most doubt about players at the moment,” Koeman said.

“I lost my temper, not straight after the [Chelsea] game but when I was watching the game two or three days later, and you see what happens.

“It's about the goals, the assists of the rest of the strikers, they need to improve, they need to be more productive. Also the work-rate of how we press in our offensive part of midfield and strikers.”

Koeman also highlighted the overall contribution of Diego Costa as being instructive to how his strikers, and Romelu Lukaku in particular, can be more influential.

Costa was a live wire during his team's 5-0 win, scoring one and claiming an assist for another on the day but he was also a menace picking the ball up in deeper areas and helping stifle Everton's ability to pass their way out from the back.

“Diego Costa is a great striker and a fighter with a great mentality,” the Dutchman continued. “We have all the details out of that game and it shows the strikers of Chelsea are running more than our strikers.

“That was specifically from that game and we need to control everything, but Costa can learn from Lukaku in other aspects too. But those are the things you want from your striker.”

Koeman also hinted at a belief that some of his players are still trying to shake off the methods of his predecessor, Roberto Martinez, who did not require as much industry from his forward players.

“[T]hey are used to going down, to waiting, and now we need to press a little more,” he explained. “It's difficult. I understand because they need to change their attitude.

“Like Romelu — I can't advise him on finishing in the box because I was not a striker and he is one of the best finishers I have ever seen in football. But, yes, I can teach him how he needs to press, how he needs to run, and how he can make it difficult for the defenders of our opponents.

“If he wants to be that striker, he needs to improve that aspect.”


Reader Comments (39)

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Don Alexander
1 Posted 19/11/2016 at 00:30:07
Took the words right out of my mouth, but no it wasn't when I was kissing him!
Derek Thomas
2 Posted 19/11/2016 at 00:45:55
Good luck with that, Ron, you'll be doing well to get 90 mins of Costa-esque running out of any permutation of 3 forwards... never mind Rom on his own.
Anthony Dwyer
3 Posted 19/11/2016 at 01:52:58
Rom isn't alone in this work rate problem; Mirallas, Bolasie and Deulofeudon't do enough either.

Also, there's an ability problem too which may need addressing... Costa is backed by Hazard and Pedro – Rom isn't!

Tim Greeley
4 Posted 19/11/2016 at 04:03:11
The first two Chelsea goals were hardly the work of a team headed for the title. From my TV view across the Pond, more than half distracted by my kids, I saw exactly what Hazard was doing with that double move to his right (which is what he ALWAYS FRIGGING DOES) and shot across goal. I saw it 5 seconds before he did it. Yet Stekkers flapped at it late and unconvincingly – goal 1.

Goal 2... well it happened so quick and for some ungodly reason it looked to me like a 4-on-1 breakaway from a routine midfield turnover so how do we explain that!? Where was the defense!? And to top it off, Stekkers still should have blocked it.

Point being... not sure! I guess hard work makes your own luck. So yes, Everton needs all of our players to really, truly just try HARDER not just the attackers.
David Barks
5 Posted 19/11/2016 at 04:46:59
Right, the problem wasn't the manager's choice to include only three attacking players, it was their work rate. Of course, those three were supposed to work as hard as the Chelsea 5-6 attacking players, then we'd have them outnumbered. This manager is brilliant!!
Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 19/11/2016 at 07:03:55
So if they had 5 or 6 attacking players, David, and we had 7 defensive players on the pitch, then our 3 attackers would not really have been outnumbered by defenders?

There are 17 teams who have ran more than Everton, this season, and after 11 league games, Liverpool, have ran over 100 km, more than Everton... Staggering?

I agree the tactics could be better, and I have yet to see a style of play develop, but surely there can be no substitute for hard work, and maybe the return of Baines, McCarthy and possibly Lennon, will up this side of our game?

Not to mention young Tom Davies, who can also put in a shift!

Brent Stephens
7 Posted 19/11/2016 at 07:20:01
Tony, I agree about the need for some of them to up their work rate. And I know we get that out of the likes of Baines, Macca and Lennon. Apart from Baines, though, while they bring energy, they're not the most creative of players, which is what we lack right now.

I'm coming round to the view that we should try using Davies more, given his energy, football brain and skills.

Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 19/11/2016 at 08:18:20
Brent, I agree – they are not the most creative players, but who has been really creative for us this season?

To get a foothold on any game, the team have either got to have superior players than the opposition, or they have got to be prepared to work harder than them.

It keeps harbouring back to Lukaku for me, though, because if he fought like Costa and really got hold of the ball, then he would give the rest of the team a platform on which we could build.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 19/11/2016 at 08:51:34
Tony, I see your point(s). I'm looking forward to the next couple of transfer windows. It will be interesting to see how much more Ron can screw out of Rom in terms of work-rate!
Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 19/11/2016 at 08:54:48
Come on, Brent? That's not the way to get more out of Romelu! Did you see the way he was talking to the Chelsea players at the end of the last game?

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 19/11/2016 at 08:57:32
I didn't see that, Tony. I was too busy kicking the dog at that point.
Dave Ganley
12 Posted 19/11/2016 at 09:00:33
Tony, Brent, that's the main problem we have. Either workhorses who have no end product (Lennon, McCarthy etc) or players with a bit more flair who do no work (Mirallas, Deulofeu, Lukaku, Barkley). You'd think that hard work would be a given really for any professional.

I think that some of the latter players mentioned should look at the top top players like Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez and the like to see how much work they do off the ball. Problem with our players is that they talk a good game but don't deliver one. They want the plaudits without having to do the dirty work. Bone idle really.

Whether Koeman can finally get them to make an effort on a regular basis is anybody's guess but my opinion is we should be looking for alternatives. They have coasted for too long and should be replaced. It's not like they are irreplaceable.

Trevor Peers
13 Posted 19/11/2016 at 09:17:48
Bolasie offers the most creatively, he works hard, creates chances, scores the odd goal. Barkley only seems to perform against the lesser teams at home, so should shine today; however, Ross never shows up against the top five teams, and his work rate will always be a handicap.

Mirallas is on borrowed time and contributes very little, so we have real problems with creativity and workrate, and that should be a priority in the January window.

Glad to see Baines back he does offer more going forward. We should have enough to easily beat Swansea; failure is unthinkable

Tony Abrahams
14 Posted 19/11/2016 at 09:23:43
I agree, Dave, so it's a no-brainier to pick the players that work harder, especially coming off the back of a 5-0 defeat.
Brian Porter
15 Posted 19/11/2016 at 09:40:04
On the subject of recruiting new players, I'm amused that Mourinho is bleating about Koeman openly talking about the possibility of signing Depay in January.

Can this be the same Jose Mourinho who spent almost the entire summer two years ago publicly attempting to lure John Stones away from us, even getting members of his team to try and tempt Stones to Chelsea? Kettle, pot, black, Jose?

Brian Harrison
16 Posted 19/11/2016 at 10:55:14
Spot on Koeman, this is the department that is consistently under performing. Unless we dramatically improve in this area we can forget about qualifying for Europe.

He is also right about the players still trying to shake off the lazy attitude that Martinez developed. Lukaku is a very good finisher but as Koeman says there are parts of his game he needs to improve, especially if he wants a Champions league team to part with mega bucks.

I don't know if Barkley will ever buy in to what Koeman wants — he has been allowed for too many seasons to abdicate from his defensive part of the game. Yes I know he had a triple leg break as a teenager but if he cant get over that then he wont be in the mindset that Koeman wants.

While Mirallas is working much harder his goal return is poor, Bolasie again for all his talent another with a poor goal return. Something Koeman highlighted when he signed him, saying his goal record of 9 goals in 3 seasons needs to improve considerably. But so far he has 1 in 11 games.

Deulofeu seems to find goalscoring easy for his countries under 23 team 16 goals so far, but another whose goal record isn't good for us. Although I think we need to play him where he plays for his country which is the number 10 role.

Dave Williams
17 Posted 19/11/2016 at 11:50:06
Spot on, Tony and Dave.

The entire problem is that Ron wants to play a style which is pretty much the opposite of what we have played in the last 3 years. Roberto bought players to play a slow and deliberate passing game and Ron has only bought two outfield players so far thus the team is being asked to play a style which apart from McCarthy none of them are suited to play.

Barry is too old for that style as is Baines. Gibson will never be fit enough to play it, Mirallas runs around to look busy but doesn't really know how to play that way, Deulofeu isn't fit enough or brave enough to run around and get stuck in, Lukaku and Barkley probably could do it but need to be dragged that way by the rest of the team.

Tony is right that Tom is an obvious choice – great heart, great engine and lots of ability as well – he should be given a run of games now or at least a half hour per game to see if he is ready – he sure as hell looks ready to me! I wonder if Coleman could revert to right midfield as I like Kenny and both would bring some added zest to the team. I just think that apart from Bolasie our wide players are passengers in away games at least and of all the others in the squad Seamus would be most likely to do well in that position.

David Booth
18 Posted 19/11/2016 at 12:26:12
What a revelation, a couple of days after a 5-0 humbling in perhaps the most inept display I have seen from an Everton team.

Actions speak louder than words, Mr Koeman. Stop talking a good game and instead, earn your mammoth salary by getting us to play one. Starting today –- with almost a third of the season gone.

I've seen nothing to impress from you at all so far.

Steavey Buckley
19 Posted 19/11/2016 at 13:26:53
Everton only have one goal scorer and that is Lukaku, who at times is left isolated. When Chelsea attack, their whole team moves forward to support Hazard, Costa and Pedro, while most Everton players still play too deeply in their own half. And that is down to Koeman's team selection and tactics.
Andy King
20 Posted 19/11/2016 at 13:37:06
I find it odd that Koeman talks so much about work rate but overlooks Lennon constantly. I'm not his biggest fan due to a lack of end product, but if it's work rate you want then Aaron is your man.

Personally I'd like to see quite dramatic changes after that shaming at Stamford Bridge:

Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines
Barkley/Davies, Gana
Lennon/Mirallas, Deulofeu, Bolasie

If Swansea are likely to park the bus, then jib the two defensive central midfielders and increase the creativity. Start with Deulofeu behind Lukaku in the Number 10 role but move all three supporting attacking players around so Swansea can't get settled.

C'mon Blues, get right at them from the off and look to bury them 4-0 or 5-0!

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 19/11/2016 at 13:52:29
Andy, Lennon gets some stick on here from quite a few Everton fans which I find very surprising since he has hardly got a look-in playing in Premier League games this season.

If he plays and has poor games then fair enough, but to criticise him when he has hardly played is out of order.

Anthony Hughes
22 Posted 19/11/2016 at 18:26:19
New headline: "Everton fans demand more from Koeman".
Clive Rogers
23 Posted 19/11/2016 at 19:50:52
Lennon mustn't have been listening. As far as I'm concerned, he wasn't trying today, just going through the motions.
Clive Rogers
24 Posted 19/11/2016 at 20:45:42
Dave (#21),

he was shocking today, hiding from the ball and just going through the motions. He should never play for us again.

Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 19/11/2016 at 20:55:06
Clive (#23 and #24) – yes, I agree he didn't play very well did Lennon... along with about seven or eight of the team.
Clive Rogers
26 Posted 19/11/2016 at 21:49:33

It's not just that he had a poor game – he clearly wasn't trying.

Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 20/11/2016 at 16:53:49
Clive, that is your opinion. I didn't see it that way, he didn't get much of the ball in the first half. In the second half, he was involved more but things didn't go well for him.

I didn't notice any lack of effort to be honest; he didn't have a good game... As an excuse, he hasn't had much game-time this season in the first eleven.

Barry Jones
28 Posted 20/11/2016 at 18:44:56
Lukaku has to be one of the most overrated strikers ever. His work rate is shocking and there was no evidence of improvement against Swansea. If he cannot work hard at 23 years old, I do not see this aspect of his game improving with age.

Once he loses possession, he gives up and walks, making no effort to retrieve it. He doesn't even make any effort to get back onside when an attack breaks down and gets walking in an offside position when we counter. How lazy is this? The players who are putting in a shift have got to be upset with him at times.

Against Swansea, the cross that Bolassie whipped in and flew over the bar off Lukaku's thigh would have been converted by a better striker. A good player would have been on his toes, well balanced, and able to react quickly. Rom is too lazy to be on his toes. I know he has support on here, but quite honestly I would sell while the inflated price is still there.

Peter Roberts
29 Posted 21/11/2016 at 15:35:25
Lukaku may as well be a semi-retired 32-year-old for all the work he puts in. He is bone idle. He will only run if a ball is put in front of him. Watch him when the defenders have the ball, he toils as if there is a parachute strapped to his back. Has anyone ever seen him win the ball off another player? I honestly don't think I have ever seen this happen.

Okay, he scores goals – yes, and that is why we could supposedly get daft money for him. He scores something like an average 14 Premier League goals a season – for me, that is decent... nothing more.

I said after the Chelsea game that their back 3 could have put their slippers on and lit a cigar. They had so much time on the ball. Look at our lot.. Costa had them stressed out. He was all over them like a rash –- this is the difference.

So, Mr Koeman – unless you are going to magically change this superstar into being a team player, then it looks like you may have to sell him.

Peter Murray
30 Posted 22/11/2016 at 16:50:51
Totally, totally agree with all the comments made by Peter (#29) – just hope & wish somebody eventually agrees a transfer price for him during the January window.

Patience definitely ice thin, regarding his "performances", I just wonder – in a better team, players, he would actually demonstrate, & play with other essential skills that us as Evertonians have NEVER seen.

He appears totally disillusioned with our all round tactics, attempts to play, otherwise he would attempt to improve this unfortunate status. Does anybody else think he appears totally uninterested with general play, unless the balls is actually played in front of him??


Peter Laing
31 Posted 22/11/2016 at 17:32:47
Lukaku scores goals... that is his job; work rate is important but putting the ball in the net is what he is paid for and he can quite clearly do that, even in a poor side.

My issue is with those players around Lukaku – Mirallas, Lennon, Deulofeu and Barkley. In all honesty how many goals do they contribute – negligible and their work rate is largely non-existent.

Out of all the players mentioned Lukaku would garner serious money from a potential list of suitors. How many of the aforementioned others would ?

Derek Cowell
32 Posted 23/11/2016 at 12:38:34
Lukaku can score goals but he also can have some bad misses like that one off his thigh over the bar against Swansea and two for Belgium recently v Holland from similar positions. He is never on his toes so cannot react quick enough to fast balls across the box or move across a defender in the box to attack the ball.

He is also a centre-forward who can't head a ball as he looks scared of it. He is the first Everton centre-forward I've ever seen who makes no attempt to attack a cross or a corner with his head. The Swansea keeper caught numerous crosses on Saturday completely unchallenged by our 'big' centre forward who, let's face it, doesn't lack height!

We will be lucky to get the silly money speculated for Lukaku because surely the biggest European teams want to buy more complete players who can do several aspects of the game and put in some efforts for their team. People have already mentioned the likes of Messi, Suarez and Ronaldo. Add Bale and others.

Barcelona and Real Madrid would not be in the market for a passenger on the field who may pop up with a few goals and nothing else. They certainly wouldn't pay huge money for a player scared of headers (just watch him!). In fact, where were all the so-called giants of football in the last transfer window? They've seen Luakau and made their decision on him that's why he's still with us!!

Eugene Ruane
33 Posted 23/11/2016 at 14:11:51
Rubs chin.

I'm going to be paying close attention to this during the derby.


Patrick Murphy
34 Posted 23/11/2016 at 14:19:02
Eugene (#33),

If true – and I'm not sure that it is – why didn't Webb inform the club(s) who these players were paid by? It's a disgrace that players would actively seek to be booked in order to attend family parties.

I wonder if we have had any players who have done this? Mmm.... Duncan, but he usually just punched somebody in order to have New Year off.

John Davies
35 Posted 23/11/2016 at 15:00:44
Possible change in formation?

Lukaku was isolated for large periods of the game v Swansea. This against a team that played two banks, one of four and one of five.

We havent got a No 10 clever enough to get in between the lines in our squad. This, along with a centre-half, is a prority in January.

Coleman's strength is attacking, not defending; if he is asked to curb his runs it would be better to play Holgate at right back. A better defender in my opinion. No need for two defensive midfielders when both full backs are restricting their runs forward. With Holgate, I would look at 4-1-4-1... Gueye as holding midfielder.

Eugene Ruane
36 Posted 24/11/2016 at 17:31:51
Patrick - 'If true – and I'm not sure that it is – why didn't Webb inform the club(s) who these players were paid by?'

Well impossible for me to say for sure why someone (other than me) does or doesn't do stuff.

I mean as preceptive as I undoubtedly am, I don't know what goes through Howard Webb's head.

That said, he was a ref, so it's in his nature to be twatty and dishonest.

Patrick Murphy
37 Posted 24/11/2016 at 17:53:42
I asked the question in a rhetorical way Eugene, I know you are a smart clever person but I wasn't expecting a categorical reply.
Phil Walling
38 Posted 24/11/2016 at 17:59:26
Surely, but surely, Koeman gets paid his many millions to include motivation amongst his duties.

We hear that his signings are mostly crap, his team selections are crap, his tactics are crap, his comments are crap, his whole persona is crap ...so just what is he getting paid for?

I'm not saying all this (only some of it!) It's just what I've read!

James Hughes
39 Posted 24/11/2016 at 18:03:15
Eugene, you smart clever person, what has your link got to do with the thread?


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