Koeman says display against Arsenal should set the standard

Wednesday 14 December 2016  50 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman says that he hopes his players have taken some important things on board from last night's win over Arsenal in how they should be performing at home.

Everton recovered from a nervy start and the concession of the first goal from Alexis Sanchez's deflected 20th-minute free kick to equalise just before half time and then win it late on through Ashley Williams's header .

The manager didn't mince words in his reflection on that first quarter of the contest, describing them as "shocking" in one of his post-match interviews, but he was fulsome in his praise of the players' attitude as they clawed their way back from a goal down against one of the best teams in the division.

He acknowledged that his players might have been nervous and lacking in confidence in the early going but was pleased that they found the best way to beat Arsene Wenger's Gunners — by essentially getting in their faces and not backing down.

“[Their] weakness is if you go face to face and you be aggressive and you win battles and you run and you go,” Koeman told the press after the game. “And you need a little bit of luck, of course [with] what happened in the last minute, in the last 20 seconds.

“I hope the players will learn [from] what happened tonight and if they watch back and see how we started and then what we did after 20 minutes… that is what we need to show.

“I hope that from now on we realise how strong we can be if we play like this. Of course, it's always possible to lose a game but [the fans] will accept it if you show this commitment.”

Koeman singled out James McCarthy in particular for pointing the way towards a high-octane performance that eventually ended Arsenal's 14-match unbeaten run in the Premier League as well as crediting Enner Valencia for an energetic first league start.

“It starts with the players,” the Dutchman told Darren Griffiths for evertontv. “If you play like the first 20 minutes, you can't expect the fans to support the team and, yes, how we played after 20 minutes — aggression in the midfield.

“I think James McCarthy played fantastic tonight. He was one of the players to start to press and to be aggressive and it was a good message to the rest of the team.

“[Enner] did well. He really worked very hard, made it difficult, was running, was behind the [Arsenal] defence, was defending and that's what we need to do in a difficult situation in the season… one win out of 10.

“It starts with commitment, it starts with working hard, being aggressive. You get the support and you get a win finally. It's the way how we need to play at home.

“We deserved a win, I think, because we played better. We had that spirit and belief and the support of the fans and that makes it perfect tonight.

“It was one of those memorable nights at Goodison Park. Still unbeaten [at home], if we play with that passion and the fans show the passion as well, we are too strong most of the time.”


Reader Comments (50)

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Andrew Presly
1 Posted 14/12/2016 at 19:42:54
Norwich was a bit sad Ron. Don't forget that one too quickly as it's a trophy we should one day win, but it looks like they're playing for you, which is a relief.

Monday awaits.

Colin Metcalfe
2 Posted 14/12/2016 at 19:49:09
Too right! To a man they were all brilliant last night 100% effort.

We are still short on a bit of class up front and still too many long hoofs upfield for me but if we show the same passion and desire the football will improve as will the confidence.

Glynn Holland
3 Posted 14/12/2016 at 20:10:09
I hope Koeman learns from this as well. We need to get a consistent starting 11 and also Lukaku needs the support that Valencia and Lennon started to provide after we went 1-0 down. He's never going to be the non-stop running, pressing striker while he's on his own. Would like to see us play a standard 4-4-2 and see how we look.

Good on him for giving Calvert-Lewin a run out as well. Looked confident and has got a nice touch. Also our full backs are starting to look the part again.

More of the same please and we can hopefully come away with some points on Monday. (Don't know whether I'm alone thinking this but I'm kind of glad Jags won't be playing.) coyb's.
Mick Davies
4 Posted 14/12/2016 at 20:19:08
As good as McCarthy was (and when fully fit, is one of our assets, doing the unnoticed but appreciated Mr Muscle jobs) , Koeman should never single out a player, either for praise or condemnation; 8 or 9 of them played at 90/100% for 70+ mins. This ought to be congratulated by the boss; we were a team as opposed to the bunch of egos that we've endured for years.

Now is the time for him to work on keeping the momentum going, and playing Valencia is crucial to the balance of the side. He compliments Rom with his hard work, whereas Lukaku makes up for Enner's lack of goal threat. One positive for me is the suspension of Jags – he is nowhere near the standard of 3 years ago, and age is against him reclaiming that standard, unlike Baines, who was free to maraud again now that we have 2 energetic CMs. I hope this is a new dawn and not a flash-in-the-pan performance
John Malone
5 Posted 14/12/2016 at 20:35:18
Mick (#4),

I think Jimmy Mac deserves to be singled out for some praise after the way he has been treated, starting with the Sissoko transfer debacle and Moshiri's pathetic comments afterwards attempting to save face. Moving on to be dropped for Gueye then mistreated by Ireland with his injury and then getting jeered at home against Swansea.

That lad has give nothing but 100% every time he has wore the royal blue shirt, granted he may not have the most technical ability but his sheer tenacity and work rate definitely brings something to the midfield.

I definitely don't want to see McCarthy leave the club at least until our squad is packed with quality and we are at a level above!

Well done, Jimmy Mac – great performance!!

Mick Davies
6 Posted 14/12/2016 at 20:49:10
John @ 5, I agree 100% with your assessment of 'Supermac'. What I don't like is the manager singling out one player for praise; you and I can praise or pillory any player we like, it won't make any difference, but Koeman should be trying to engender a team ethic, where every player should be striving to do his best for the cause.

Re: McCarthy, some fans fail to realise that he was playing with injuries for about 12 months: his tempo and tackling that 1st season did him a lot of damage, and playing internationals when not fit has taken its toll. But now he's looking back to his old self, and that early 'Neville' tackle seemed to change the mood in the ground. Here's hoping he and Gana destroy the kopites in the engine room.
Lev Vellene
7 Posted 14/12/2016 at 20:49:54
I think Koeman should do well to remember that HUNGER is the prime motive for anyone! The 'very good' players we field will always relax if they think they are 'safe'.

I never knew anything about Enner Valencis, but I've always advocated letting the younger players get a spot or two. Not because I necessarily think they are better, or will turn things around. Valencia worked his socks off, and I'd like to think that set a tune for the established players to realize they have no safe spots in the team.

Unfortunately, I feel Koeman will always rely on weary experience before he deigns to touch youthful will-to-do with a VERY long pole...

Dean Cooper
8 Posted 14/12/2016 at 21:21:43
I'm all for the singling out of McCarthy. If the rumours are true about him wanting out in January – look who just became indispensable and added a few more £m to his price..

I do hope he stays obviously. If we are able to pick a defensive midfield from him, Gueye, Barry and Schneiderlin for the next 18 months, that is European qualification quality.

Peter Gorman
9 Posted 14/12/2016 at 22:24:44
I was pretty underwhelmed when we signed Valencia – a forward of mediocre talent and not what I'd expect to propel us to the next level.

But he was absolutely great last night in terms of doing the hard work and setting the tone to redeem the match. If that is his standard then he is a good Blue and aok in my book (which is the equivalent to 10 MotMs as everyone knows).

Tony Hill
10 Posted 14/12/2016 at 22:35:23
Peter, that's very true. He was also the main one trying to get us going in the earlier part of the match and in fact set up a couple of openings. If he carries on like that (and as he has done in his sub appearances) then he will be a real asset.
Christy Ring
11 Posted 14/12/2016 at 22:37:19
Dean (#8)

The reason McCarthy wants out in January is because he's not in Koeman's plan. But, after Koeman's praise after his performance last night, which is the McCarthy we know, and who is now injury free, hopefully it'll open his eyes.

Paul Holmes
12 Posted 14/12/2016 at 22:46:57
I've criticised the team on here following rubbish displays, but credit is due for last night's performance, that's what we want.

If we put the effort in like we did last night then everybody at the club (players and fans) will be united! We can accept other teams might have better technical players in certain positions but hard graft can stop them playing and get us results.

Same again on Monday!
Michael Coffey
13 Posted 14/12/2016 at 22:52:49
Let's be honest: this was a Moyes-era Everton performance. Gritty battlers overcoming a Sky 4 team.

It worries me that not only are we just about capable of such showings with a vastly better paid and pricier team than Moyes ever had, but that Koeman takes such a throwback as his new gold standard. We have basically gone nowhere since around 2009.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 14/12/2016 at 23:09:20

Football all over the Prem has moved on since 2009.

The perennial strugglers like Watford, Stoke, West Brom etc have all consolidated with the new found wealth.

We unfortunately have regressed under the Martinez experiment.

It will take some time and rebuilding. (Taking note that Howard, Jags and Baines are now veterans with of course Howard, Hibbo, Ossie moving on together with Tim, Arteta, Pienaar, Distin and Fellaini.)

Steve Barr
15 Posted 14/12/2016 at 23:14:52
Great performance in the end and Koeman's assessment is spot on IMO.
These are all big boys and should be able to take criticism (even if it is in public) and be motivated to be the individual to be singled out.. even in a great team performance.

However, this is Everton, so I'm not going to get too optimistic just yet, well not until we string together a decent run.

How better to build a good run than with a win over Liverpool!

Steve Ferns
16 Posted 15/12/2016 at 01:36:02
That's all we want to see. A bit more effort. A bit more fight. Playing like they actually care.

One swallow doesn't make a summer and all that, but beat the RS on Monday and I think everyone will be back behind Koeman again.

Darren Hind
17 Posted 15/12/2016 at 06:50:11
This was as good a foundation to start the rebuild as we will get.

The manager helped by finally being honest about himself and admitting he was underperforming too. For me, the earlier stages of this season are now water under the bridge.

January will not bring in a whole new bunch of better players, but we may be able to get in one, maybe two, influential "winners".

It's not just about bringing players in. Ross Barkley is a prodigious talent. He has lost his way for sure, but we need to fend off the reported interest from the likes of Spurs. When Barkley does eventually overcome his obvious lack of confidence, it really does need to be in an Everton shirt.

Things are looking so much more encouraging than they did on Monday morning. I was dreading playing the Shite, now I cant wait.

Yeah, I know, One swallow 'n all that, but, some of us are now looking forward to games again. That's a massive step in the right direction.

Liam Reilly
18 Posted 15/12/2016 at 08:40:53
I think he should've singled out McCarthy as he dragged the side into the game with his tenacity and leading by example.

This is the McCarthy from season 1 – injury free, and long may it continue, because he has this in his locker.

Clive Mitchell
19 Posted 15/12/2016 at 10:37:47
Do NOT let McCarthy or Barkley leave the club.
Barry Pearce
20 Posted 15/12/2016 at 11:03:49
I think jimmy Mac will only be allowed to leave if we sign Schneiderlin. We love to have them both, plus Gana will be missing for the AFCON. A fit jimmy Mac is real asset.

Did anyone else notice the great leap Calvert-Lewin. Head and shoulders above the Arsenal defence. Here's hoping Unsy had found us a gem.

Barry Pearce
21 Posted 15/12/2016 at 11:25:30
I would love it.
The great leap Calvert-Lewin had. Has he found us a gem.
Dave Pritchard
22 Posted 15/12/2016 at 11:59:36
Barry, I hope you're right about Calvert-Lewin but one good leap doesn't make a great player. Let's not build him up after 15 mins of play.
Kevin Tully
23 Posted 15/12/2016 at 12:17:47
McCarthy has literally had ONE good game in 18 months! Easily pleased doesn't even begin to describe some Blues. I look at any player who decided a big televised game was a suitable showcase for them to put a few tackles in as shortchanging every single supporter – some for months on end.

They'll have to run like that for the next 5 months before I start praising some of the lazy bastards who have been playing at 70% effort for the last two and a half seasons.

Barry Pearce
24 Posted 15/12/2016 at 12:18:13
Agree Dave, but at least it shows he's got something... also he's impressed for the Under-23s by all accounts. I did say here's hoping.

Merry Xmas.

Matt Butlin
25 Posted 15/12/2016 at 13:00:20
I agree with Kevin #23. As delighted as I was with the performance, let alone the result against Arsenal, it shows that they've not been trying for the last few months.

The game we've got on Monday night has a tendency to expose everything that's wrong with our squad rather that what's good. I'm talking about the ability to raise your performance when it really, really matters and deal with the pressure of the occasion. I know we can. Here's hoping that we do though.

Craig Walker
26 Posted 15/12/2016 at 13:54:57
I think "70% effort" is being kind, Kevin.
Tony Hill
27 Posted 15/12/2016 at 13:56:19
Yes, Kevin and Matt, I agree very much. But I don't think there's any rowing back for players or management from that performance and, more importantly, from that occasion. It was too intense and re-defining.

Of course, we will still have serious problems to overcome but I do not think we will see again under Koeman's management the disgraceful lethargy and lack of direction that have been so depressing (as they were, of course, under Martinez).

Barry Jones
28 Posted 15/12/2016 at 13:56:36
I have always thought that Enner Valencia was a good acquisition. I saw him play quite a few times for West Ham and I was always impressed by him. I would like to see us keep him.

As for McCarthy, he is the type of player every club needs. Gareth Barry is a class act, but his days are almost numbered. Having McCarthy and Gueye as a holding duo is a very high-energy unit. I like the idea. As Koeman says, sometimes its not just about the niceties. You have to get in people's faces too. When you physically upset a player like Ozil from minute one, he is reluctant to get involved, as we witnessed.

It is obvious that Koeman needs time. Calling for his head so early in his tenure is not warranted. It also takes time to convert a team to a high pressing game. It requires big physical demands. Even if the fitness is not there throughout the squad at the moment, we need to have players do what Valencia did, work his socks off for 70 minutes and come off. Better than playing 90 minutes and exiting with a dry shirt.

Paul Conway
29 Posted 15/12/2016 at 15:24:07
Mick Davis (#4),

I would have been a bit suspicious of this game being the catalyst for our turnaround, had we walked all over the arse, scoring at will. As true to our form, we can never keep that kind of rhythm going.

But, what pleases me and gives me more encouragement that we can well kick on from this, was the manner of our victory. Normally a goal down to Arse very quickly becomes two, or three. But we took the game by the scruff of the neck and showed our mettle.


Paul Holmes
30 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:16:09
Everton need players who, week-in & week-out, give you 7/10 not 4/10 most weeks! And even though Ross had a good game on Tuesday, the reported 㿏 million from Spurs is unbelievable (if true) for a player who is most weeks 4/10 for Everton.

㿞 million for Stones and 㿏 million for Barkley – now that would give me some Christmas cheer!
Craig Walker
31 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:17:29
Sorry, but I just don't see it with McCarthy. He had a good hour on Tuesday but he has no creativity whatsoever.

There was an article a couple of seasons ago about misleading reputations in football and one of them was that McCarthy is a ball winner. At the time, he lost the vast majority of challenges he competed in. I haven't checked, but he hasn't changed in this respect, in my opinion. I wouldn't be sorry to see him go and think there are better options out there.

We need to lose this mentality that a player has a good game and suddenly they're gonna show it more regularly. Ask yourself, which of our players would get into the RS, Man Utd or Spurs teams, for example? If they aren't good enough for the teams that we aspire to be then we need to be ruthless and get shut. I'm talking about the likes of Lennon, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Cleverley, Funes Mori, McCarthy, Kone, Gibson.

Mick Davies
32 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:21:02
Kevin @ 23, I think you're being harsh, and a tad amnesia-struck there: If you go back to the final game last seaon, McCarthy was just back from an injury-hit season, and along with Tom Davies and a couple more, was touted as MotM, even scoring a rare goal. He started the first few games this season (when we were doing well) but fell victim to another injury, and has only just come back.

A lot of fans don't really notice what the McCarthys and Carsleys of the football world do – I call them the Mr Muscles, as no one wants to do it as there's no recognition. If Mac and Gana can build on that display (and them two were key to the win) then we can turn the season round.

It's no coincidence that these two helped produce the most energetic performance of the season, against one of the top sides, without Barry slowing the midfield pace as usual

Mick Davies
33 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:29:01
Craig @ 31, well done, you've managed to get rid of over half our squad.

I think you need a reality check: Gana will be going to Africa for a month in January, Bolasie is out for the season and some of the squad you didn't mention: Jagielka Barry, Williams will need replacing and we are NOT Man City. So, unless you've got a spare 𧺬,000 to lend the board, I suggest you rethink that post... some people on here really are living in cloud cuckoo land.

Craig Walker
34 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:43:11
Mick: I've still got the players' performances from the Watford game in my head. I'm not going to be swayed by one good performance. We beat Chelsea in the cup last year on a similar performance.

I'm not saying we can get rid of them in January but we need to start to get rid of the deadwood and look at replacements. We spent the John Stones money and that's it.

If we're led to believe that Moshiri will do whatever it takes to make Everton successful then we can start by improving the playing squad. I don't know about you but I'd be seriously disappointed if the likes of Cleverley and Kone are still Everton players next summer.

Liam Reilly
35 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:46:47
What's the spare £500k for Mick, Lukaku's monthly wage?

Mick Davies
36 Posted 15/12/2016 at 17:51:51
Craig, sometimes I see that Redshite mentality of 'We deserve the world' in posts on here, and some people can't face reality. Everton FC has been seriously underfunded for at least 25 years, so until we have an owner who can go out and buy a Ronaldo, a Neymar etc we have to make do with what we've got, and get behind them.
Raymond Fox
37 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:03:28
McCarthy is not in the team for creativity, Barkley's the one who is trying to do that. McCarthy wouldn't leave the club if I had any say in it.

I see Spurs are reported to be sniffing around Barkley who is reputably on 㿭k a week, no wonder players lose their edge when their getting so much money, it's not the real world is it.

I watched Barkley closely against Arsenal; as the game went on he got better in the attacking department but he's still a passenger when we are on the back foot. He made some half-hearted advances when Arsenal had the ball but I cant remember him actually tackling anyone. It's a big flaw in his game and he doesn't appear to try and correct this deficiency.

I have only seen the game once and I stand to be corrected on the above but that was my impression, which lets face it isn't a new criticism of him. It's a tough one, but I don't think he's the answer to our midfield playmaker need, I would be inclined to press the sell button before his value falls further.

Mick Davies
38 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:11:11
I like it, Liam... He probably thinks he's worth twice that; pity he doesn't move a bit more or he might be a world class striker. Besides that, he is the best goalscorer we've had since Cottee, so I hope we can keep hold of him.
Mick Davies
39 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:15:52
Raymond @ 37, I recall Barkley lost the ball pissing around on the edge of our area and Jagielka gave away the free kick that led to their goal.

I couldn't stand Osman coming back anywhere near our area and I feel the same about Ross; some players are a liability in defence and should stick to where they are most effective, and leave defending to those paid to do it. It's not like we don't have a back 4 and 2 defensive midfielders.

Ray Roche
40 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:22:17
Raymond (#37),

"I cant remember him actually tackling anyone."
It was Barkley's old fashioned tackle,adnittedly after he'd lost control of the ball, followed by two more in quick succession, that roused the crowd and got us back on track. Our performance, roared on by the crowd, picked up noticeably after that.

It may have been Baines and McCarthy who made the other tackles and it was after about 25-30 minutes.

Raymond Fox
41 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:32:53
Mick, if he doesn't at least make some effort, your effectively playing with 9 men against the other teams 10 men when they have possession.

Also, we have Lukaku, who almost never gets involved in tackling the opposition; you're putting a big onus on the other players to compensate.

Raymond Fox
42 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:39:11
Ray, I said I would stand to be corrected on that match if that's the case, but I think it's fair to say for a midfielder he needs to put more tackles in.
Ray Roche
43 Posted 15/12/2016 at 18:47:22
Raymond (#42),


John Pierce
44 Posted 15/12/2016 at 19:59:50
The performance was an improvement but really that is the least we expect from that team and manager.

Despite worthy contributions, Valencia, Jagielka & McCarthy are done at Everton.

Barkley's tackle was a thing to behold!!! Cannot remember the last time I saw that, probably because it hasn't happened. The triple leg break is to my mind why we don't see Ross get amongst it.

A better level is expected again on Monday, if the quality isn't there we will get riced. It's likely another pumped up performance will definitely see red cards – Funes Mori, McCarthy heading the line. But nice to hope again.

Mick Davies
45 Posted 15/12/2016 at 00:04:05
John @ 44, Valencia, Jagielka & McCarthy are done at Everton.

Could you please explain that assumption? Jags, yes. But McCarthy is only 26, and every player who gets stuck in as much as he does will get injured. My own view is that the change in attitude of the players is down to Macca: he's just come back from injury, was probably nervous about coming back into a side under pressure, and of a recurrence of the injury, then he ends up being fouled and not getting a free kick. This was the catalyst for his aggressive tackle on Coquellin (?) and from then on, the lads got stuck in. It was a Neville on Ronaldo moment.

The frenetic pace of the Premier League has left Barry and Jags looking pedestrian and the McCarthy of 3 years ago was one of the success stories of that record season.

As for Valencia; how many minutes has he played? He get's stuck in, works hard and gets into the right positions – he should have had a penalty to his name too. I really don't know why some on here are writing off players after a performance like that. WTF do they really want?

John Pierce
46 Posted 16/12/2016 at 02:20:17
Mick, their performances were good but those players are merely place holders for better individuals.

Valencia was and is a last minute body, who really wasn't part of the plan until the wheels started to come off. Jo matter how well he does he will go back to West Ham.

McCarthy has had 3 years at Everton, I will cede that injury may have hindered him. But its his attitude, in particular the performances for Ireland only to be followed up by bang average for his club. Ultimately he needs to have more 'skills to his set. He doesn't score nor assist. He will be replaced by someone who can. Schniederlin in all likelihood.

Jags has hit the wall. Loyal and steady that decline has been evident for 18 months, his knee injuries have become a defining factor.

A shame but he his not the player who can string together consecutive performances, Koeman has hinted as much. For a centre half you cannot play or captain a side when your place in the side is unsure.

Silencing the kop was enough for me to remember a decent player for a long time.

Sorry but they're done.

John Daley
47 Posted 16/12/2016 at 04:01:12
Raymond (@37),

You say "McCarthy is not in the team for creativity, Barkley's the one who is trying to do that" and then go on to claim "I cant remember him [Barkley] actually tackling anyone. Its a big flaw in his game and he doesn't appear to try and correct this deficiency."

How come McCarthy is exonerated from imbuing zero attacking impetus into the side, whilst Barkley is seemingly expected to both attack and defend? If Barkley simply must, in your book, look to work on the weaker defensive side of his game, why is McCarthy given the blasé pass of "he's not in the team for creativity"?

Craig Walker
48 Posted 16/12/2016 at 09:21:48
It beats me how anyone playing centre midfield can only manage 1 or 2 goals a season. All the top teams have goals in their midfield. Gueye won't get goals but contributes in other areas.

If McCarthy is playing for his ball-winning ability then he needs to start doing it and consistently. I didn't see him doing much closing down against Watford. I really rated him when he first arrived but he's been awful for two seasons. I hope he proves me wrong in the derby though.

Lee Brownlie
49 Posted 16/12/2016 at 10:41:46
What's with the dumb posts about Koeman shouldn't single out anyone (in particular McCarthy) for praise? What, like he said it was ALL him and he's great but the rest are the ones who fucked it up, first 20 minutes?

Pretty sure Koeman knocked how badly WE"D played at the start but then quickly how well WE'D played as a team to get back into it and go on to win it with the play and effort WE'D put in!!

Mentioned someone by name? (someone some folks maybe just don't like, for example?)... of course most managers, and especially savvy ones, just don't do this, do they? No timely words for anyone in particular are ever a good idea, yeah? Yeah, right lads.

David Booth
50 Posted 16/12/2016 at 17:33:14
Whoah, the FA are going to have to re-write the coaching manual after this revelation from Dr Koeman: teams get better results when they try hard from the kick-off.

Sensational – and after only 18 competitive games in charge. At last, I can see why we are paying him ٤m a year.

Talk about getting credit for speaking the bleedin' obvious...

Wonder how long it will take him to declare his next revelation (that we have been privy to since he took over): that Lukaku – and as a consequence, the whole team – also play better when we give him support and play two up front?

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