Koeman: Unfair to blame individuals for derby defeat

Monday 3 April 2017  22 Comments  [Jump to last]

Ronald Koeman was in somewhat prickly mood in his pre-match press conference ahead of the match against Manchester United in which he softened his stance on not speaking specifically about individual performances in the wake of Saturday's disappointing result in the Merseyside derby.

The Dutchman said early on in his conversation with the media at USM Finch Farm this afternoon that he didn't understand the need to focus on individuals. After facing repeated questions about Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku, in particular, however, he did speak briefly about each player but insisted that defeat was earned as a collective.

“Maybe some players did not perform at the level that maybe they showed in the last few games,” Koeman said.

“Maybe, yes, for Romelu it was difficult. I spoke to Romelu. He was not really sharp, he was a little bit tired and that can also influence the performance of the player.

“Ross played in a little different position than he played the last few weeks. Of course, he lost several balls in the midfield instead of playing a little bit fast and not dribbling with the ball.

“He needs to improve in that, but it's not to take out one or two [players and say] that was the problem last Saturday. No, that's not fair.”

Koeman went on to defend Lukaku further when he was asked how he would be looking to get the best out of the Belgian and Barkley in big games like the Merseyside derby and tomorrow's clash with Manchester United.

“If you speak about Lukaku… he's the top scorer in the League. Why after the Liverpool game do we need to criticise Rom? He's a great striker, he's working hard. [He's] a human boy, [he's] not always a 10 — that's football and if you don't play football, maybe you don't understand it.”


Reader Comments (22)

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Mark Hughes
2 Posted 04/04/2017 at 08:46:20
3 at back horrible system.
5 at back horrible system.

4-4-2 - OK
4-5-1 - OK
4-3-2-1 - OK

You need 4 at the Back – No More, No Less!

Stan Schofield
3 Posted 04/04/2017 at 09:51:15
Since he's talking about Lukaku, it would have been nice if he'd said that he has responsibility to ensure the tactics help get the best out of the players, that his away tactics are repeatedly isolating Lukaku, so he needs to change his tactics accordingly, which he has failed to do.
Robert Leigh
4 Posted 04/04/2017 at 10:44:09
I actually thought Barkley showed that he cared and was trying to take on responsibility on Saturday. I know he didn't play his best game, but he didn't hide.

In my opinion, he looks better with Lookman's movement in front of him rather than Calvert-Lewin's & Lukaku's; Calvert-Lewin is more of a striker so seems to move into the same areas as Rom.

Peter Barry
5 Posted 04/04/2017 at 10:49:58
Well, he would say that, wouldn't he, considering that he was one of those most at fault.
Ernie Baywood
6 Posted 04/04/2017 at 10:54:16
We'll see. If that performance was down to Rom being tired, then we certainly won't see him tonight.

I bet we do though.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 04/04/2017 at 11:12:01
I see no reason why a performance should differ away from home. The pitch is roughly the same size, there are 11 v 11 men, and the only change is the reduction in the numbers of your own fans present.

The reason for poor away results is the team selection and tactics. Simply pick a side designed to attack and score goals, like we do at home, and the team will score goals. The defeat was down to one person, and that was the manager, for his selection and tactics.

I can forgive his defensive formation, and understand him giving youth a chance due to the thinness of the squad, but I cannot see the sense in not bringing Mirallas on sooner, or giving Lookman a cameo.

Either one could have replaced a midfielder or the extra defender as it was patently obvious from the first 20 minutes that they were finding lots of space with our set-up.

Koeman needs to be quicker on his feet – identify the problem and adjust things accordingly, as the best coaches do.

Mike Allen
8 Posted 04/04/2017 at 11:34:51
You cant argue with Lukaku's goals... but a goalscorer – that's all he is. He just doesn't put himself about enough, and makes it easy for defenders when in Saturday's mood.

Barkley just does not have a footballing brain; in football terms, he's a dunce. Time after time, he turns away from a simple forward pass, he can't see the bigger picture. His half-hearted tracking back... he gets so far and stops. I would play him as a striker. We're clutching at straws if we think he is some kind of midfield general.

Saturday was dreadful but we have had a few of them and won this season.

Jerome Shields
9 Posted 04/04/2017 at 11:43:36
In his last game, he got the selection and tactics wrong and was slow to change either. I think he is under pressure as he is earning ٤ million a year. Some players are not happy about taking the blame for him. The next game is at the top of a slippery slope.
Stan Schofield
10 Posted 04/04/2017 at 12:34:28
Eddie, spot on. And the worst of it is, Koeman doesn't seem to be learning from his mistakes, and changing the tactics as necessary.
Paul Smith
11 Posted 04/04/2017 at 12:48:57
I think the consensus is that Koeman is falling short with his tactics against the better teams away from home. He got it wrong against Spurs, changed it against the RS but failed to react to what was an impending disaster after the first 20 minutes.

Tonight will be interesting; I fully expect a better performance but a win might be a bridge too far. Nevertheless, Koeman needs to start getting his team, formation, tactics & changes right against the better teams. No better time than tonight.

If he can't step up, then we are destined to stay where we are.

John Wilson
12 Posted 04/04/2017 at 13:01:19
Koeman did exactly the same mistakes at Anfield as he did at Tottenham. He is self-called the 'master tactician' but is more like Frank Spencer or that Pink Panther (oaf) character, or Mr Bean, when he can't learn from his mistakes.

I think Frank Spencer would be a far better manager than Ronald Koeman. Koeman reminds me of Benny Hill too, maybe it's his farcical managerial input, especially at away games.

Ajay Gopal
13 Posted 04/04/2017 at 13:16:36
"He's a human boy"??? WTF is that supposed to mean?
Michael Penley
14 Posted 04/04/2017 at 13:34:54
Ajay, obviously it means that Rom isn't a heptapod. Which is a shame really, since he'd be a much better footballer with seven legs.
Jay Wood
15 Posted 04/04/2017 at 16:03:31
Stan @ 3.

Still banging your drum about Koeman's away form I see.

It is indeed the manager's responsibility to ensure the tactics get the best out of the players. I don't agree with you that his away tactics 'repeatedly' isolate Lukaku. Nor do I agree that Koeman fails to change his tactics accordingly for away games.

No fair person can reasonably claim that Koeman 'failed' to change his tactics for the game at Anfield on Saturday. No fair person can reasonably claim it was a conservative, defensive selection. No fair person can reasonably claim the line-up isolated Lukaku.

Koeman was bold in his selection on Saturday, given the injuries picked up in the international break. Contrary to your claim that Lukaku is isolated, Koeman clearly played Barkley and Calvert-Lewin in an advanced role to support Lukaku. That was part of our problem. We were, as a result, bypassed and overrun in midfield. As it was, it was a tad too bold and the youngsters in particular down our right flank were badly exposed.

I've already said in the after-match analysis I won't castigate either the selected youngsters, or Koeman on his pick. There were plenty in the week leading up to the game imploring him to go with the kids, especially local lads, play 2 up top and for heaven's sake, don't play Barry. Their wishes were fulfilled.

Where I do take issue with Koeman, as others point out, is that like all of us, he must have seen in the first half it wasn't working. A change of players and tactics was needed. He took no action until after the hour mark, by which time we had gifted them a third goal.

Now he might counter that the first 15 minutes of the second half was possibly our best spell and we were getting a toe-hold in the game. A justification, if you like, that the original selection and strategy was starting to bear fruit. However, a sequence of rank poor play by no less than five players in Blue shirts gifted them a killer 3rd goal.

Like many, at the interval I would have pulled Pennington, dropped Holgate back into the right back position and gone with a flat back four. I would also have withdrawn Calvert-Lewin for either Barry (to firm up midfield and make the side more compact) or, if still feeling bold, Mirallas.

But then, as Koeman comments in his presser, it's easy for me to talk in front of the TV without the responsibilities for my words, actions and their consequences.

As this latest presser shows, Koeman is fighting Everton's corner and accepts that in certain situations, he should be 'the man' taking responsibility and commenting publicly on issues as flared up in the last couple of weeks.

Nor am I ready to label him an 'autocrat' due to his public pronouncements, and a poor away manager based on just 15 away games in his first season at the club. He'll do for me.

Minik Hansen
16 Posted 04/04/2017 at 16:05:11
Nonetheless, it's a good time for a match. It's as much to do with the attitude the players have, where the players need that same spirit in home games. They lacked of it last Saturday...

Now they can make amends for it and come out to face Man Utd the Everton way as we've seen it. I'm sure we can get at least a draw; thinking of the timing of the match, they and we as fan will be up for it. COYB.

Paul Mackie
17 Posted 04/04/2017 at 17:39:16
Ajay (#13) – It means he's not a robot. He'll have good games and bad games and will be inconsistent, as humans invariably are.

As for people commenting that away games should be no different from home games, that's nonsense I'm afraid. The crowd make a massive psychological difference to games – that's been proven again and again. NIMYou can say that players get paid a fortune and should be above all that, but they're not robots! If you have 30-60k people hurling abuse at you and cheering your mistakes then that's going to affect you negatively.

Don Alexander
18 Posted 04/04/2017 at 17:43:30
Nobody expects 10/10 performances all the time but for a 23-year-old "boy" to be as lethargic, again, as Rom was, this time due to being "a bit tired", is beyond the pale. Koeman surely sees the lack of endeavour pervading the long-term squad members and must be hoping that the youngsters are cut from a different cloth, namely his.

Tonight I expect nothing less than 100% visible effort, even if anyone's a bit tired. I expect Man Utd to come off well aware that every single one of them has been in a match, and especially De Gea. With that there's some hope we'll get the result we want. Without it we'll know, again, what a bunch of wallflowers we have, for now.

Damian Wilde
19 Posted 04/04/2017 at 17:45:55
I keep seeing these type of comments 'at least Barkley tried/showed heart'. Irrelevant. He was crap. And is too often. Sell.
Bill Gienapp
20 Posted 04/04/2017 at 18:30:56
Jay (#15) -– spot-on analysis. Koeman deserves criticism for taking far too long to adjust, but his initial tactics and team selection were exactly what the majority of posters had spent the week clamoring for on here – people now suggesting that Barry should have started all along is particularly laughable.

Also, when we had that poor stretch earlier this season, many were advocating that we simply cut bait on Barkley... Then, when we began to enjoy an upswing in form, people started freaking out that we haven't signed him to a new deal and argued that he's more important than Lukaku..

Then he has a poor game against Liverpool and people are ready to write him off all over again.

Colin Glassar
21 Posted 04/04/2017 at 19:07:54
Bill 20, a prime example of the schizophrenia on TW. Tonight, hopefully, both Rom and Ross will be world beaters for at least a few days.
David Price
22 Posted 04/04/2017 at 19:28:47
Jay, an absolute piece of gold, your assessment. The hysteria over Koeman is unbelievable. It's as though people couldn't wait for him, Ross and Rom to drop the standard just to say "There you go, knew they were shite."

We'll have the best manager in this league, give him a chance, the guy is class.

John Daley
23 Posted 05/04/2017 at 07:00:51
"We'll have the best manager in this league, give him a chance, the guy is class."

Cue the 'Rocky' theme and a training montage of Ron just stood there like a fucking mannequin.

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