Koeman satisfied with first-leg win

Thursday, 27 July, 2017 108comments  |  Jump to most recent

Ronald Koeman said he was happy with Everton's victory over Ružomberok in the Europa League qualifiers this evening, particularly given that his players are still some way short of being completely ready for the new season.

The Blues' entry into the Third Qualifying Round necessitated the earliest start to a competitive season in the club's history and it showed in a display that was pedestrian and lacking energy, at least until new signing Sandro Ramirez came off the bench to offer some pace and directness to the attack.

With Wayne Rooney making his first appearance since returning to Goodison Park, first in a central striking role and then as a more withdrawn right attacking midfielder, Everton eventually edged the Slovakian side 1-0 thanks to Leighton Baines's deflected 65th-minute strike.

“We know we are not at 100%. It's still the fourth week of the pre-season,” Koeman said when asked for his thoughts on the game. “We took it very seriously and we did everything to get a better result.

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“1-0 is not a big result but it's a good result. Every clean sheet in the first game is a positive result.

“I think we had good pressing and a lot of ball possession. Maybe we [should have] created more open chances but I think we scored a good goal, we kept a clean sheet so there are a lot of positives tonight.

“I think it was a physical test for the players. Normally you don't play 90 minutes after only four weeks [of pre-season]. It was an important game, the boys did well, they tried for a better result and, finally, I'm happy with the result.”

While he probably wasn't signed with the intention of replacing Romelu Lukaku like for like, Sandro offered plenty of evidence that he could be one of the better close-season introductions to the Premier League and he helped spark the Blues into life when he was introduced with an hour gone.

“Sandro brought pace to the team and he had good movement that gave Wayne a little more freedom on the right side and that was good to see,” Koeman said. “After only 10 days of training, that's what he needs to [get] stronger and next week he's one more week [further] into training and it makes it easier.

Asked if he was still confident of progressing to the next phase, Koeman replied: “Yes, of course. It's normal. I don't expect much this far in pre-season; normally you need five, six weeks to be at your best.

“We have a lot of new faces and maybe that's also the reason why we need some time.

“But I'm happy with what I saw tonight. I'm happy with the commitment, the aggression, I think we had a lot of the ball, we tried to get it back really soon when we lost it so I'm happy.

When quizzed on new signings, the manager reiterated that the Gylfi Sigurdsson situation was in the board's hands while also saying that “we'd like to sign another striker up front. Normally we will have two number nines.”


Reader Comments (108)

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Chris Perry
1 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:24:42
Poor poor effort. I can see an upset here I am afraid unless there is massive improvement.

Slow boring backwards side wards just like Martinez had not gone. But this is Koeman's team! Disapointing to say the least.

Please no to Sigurdsson. He will only add to the lack of pace, drive and energy that we sadly sadly sadly lack.
Christy Ring
2 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:45:31
We were at home to a team of minnows, and only for our keeper, it would have been embarrassing.
John Dean
3 Posted 27/07/2017 at 23:56:45
Ruzomberok were better than I thought they'd be. They had their own boots and everything.
Stan Schofield
4 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:04:06
I now understand fully why Koeman gets paid £6M/year. His expertise enables him to see things that I cannot see. The pace, cohesion, commitment, pressing. All of these things escaped my attention.
Clive Mitchell
5 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:13:58
John, just brilliant.
Kev Johnson
6 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:20:00
I had a gut-wrenching feeling of University College Dublin, 1984-85 season, all over again. Were they really good or were we that bad?

Not looking forward to the second leg...

Chris Scully
7 Posted 28/07/2017 at 00:25:51
John, that is an absolute classic mate!
Simon Bates
8 Posted 27/07/2017 at 00:34:17
I like Koeman as our manager and think he'll ultimately succeed, but tonight the team selection left me baffled.

When you're bedding in so many players, leave one section of the alone.

I can understand Stekelenburg playing as two new defenders and a keeper is risky; that being said, the need to blood Martina tonight wasn't exactly a necessity.

If you must, though, or do, surely give yourself the insurance of an established section in front of them, especially when it's a successful trio of midfielders who already have half a season together.

Breaking up the engine room of Davies, Schneiderlin and Gana was madness. With those three intact, the defence is more protected with one sitting deep whilst the other two alternate nicely. That would then have given him the luxury of having an interchanging front three of Rooney, Sanrdro and Klaassen.

We have to get this right next week or it doesn't bare thinking about.

Mike Green
9 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:17:47
Stan (#4) – given Everton must have accepted your offer by now (after all it must be less than 24 hours old since it was put on the table) to advise Ron on how deal with the media for 1% of his wage, maybe you could negotiate a combined deal with tactics and strategy – I'd go for a clean 5%. A pittance for the value you could offer to a man who clearly knows fuck all about the game.

He could show you his medals, regale you with stories of working with Cruyff and scoring the winning goal at Wembley in the European Cup Final – and you could show him your well worn keyboard.

Mike Green
10 Posted 28/07/2017 at 01:38:22
Actually – thinking about it, throw in a BOGOF teaching Rooney the art of the keepy-uppy! He's on £7.5m a year!

This time next year, Rodney...

Anthony Dwyer
11 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:14:07
Mike Green,

You can't really have ago at anyone, mate, you've just watched that game and came out with a line 'Rooney is still world class' around comment 100ish on the other part of the chat about this game!

How did you manage to think that?

Anthony Dwyer
12 Posted 28/07/2017 at 02:16:09
Comment 122 it was.
Will Mabon
13 Posted 28/07/2017 at 03:23:01
"He could show you his medals, regale you with stories of working with Cruyff and scoring the winning goal at Wembley in the European Cup Final – and you could show him your well worn keyboard. "

Mike, Roy Keane has about as many medals and successes as Koeman, and was of similar standing as a player. He also shares Koeman's party ice-breaker personality type.

He was a crap manager. The playing record is not a guarantee by itself.

Jay Harris
14 Posted 28/07/2017 at 04:51:12
I have to say I really rate Ronald Koeman but he didn't get it right tonight.

Rooney is what a number of us suspected – a class act but a spent force at the top.

I didn't think Martina needed slaughtering but Kenny was the better option to run at what is essentially a "Marine FC" standard of team. The little interplays were neat but not effective and far too rare.

For me this was a classic chance to give Dowell, Lennon, Kenny and Davies a good run out as they are all players who are prepared to run at the opposition. As soon as Martina got the ball on most occasions he had to stop and look up so the momentum was gone.

I don't care what Ron says Calvert-Lewin is not a right winger and should not have been playing IMO.

Rooney struggled to get to passes because his legs have gone; while you couldn't fault his effort and determination, he should not be first choice in a team with top 4 ambition.

Jason Broome
15 Posted 28/07/2017 at 05:33:13
We lacked pace and creativity last night. We needed a dynamic creative midfielder and a direct striker.

Why are we not looking at Jack Wilshere and Dembele. Wilshere is almost back from injury and wouldn't cost anywhere near as much as Sigurdsson whilst Dembele would have loved running at that lot.

Just a thought.

Darren Hind
16 Posted 28/07/2017 at 05:45:18
Stan @4,

I hope you're not suggesting that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes?

Carefu,l mate. He's only had a season, Apparently, you have to wait a couple more years before you can state the blindingly fucking obvious.

In the mean time, get used to hearing "I really rate Koeman but..."

Jason Broome
17 Posted 28/07/2017 at 05:49:47
This is what we needed last night.


He's in his last year at Arsenal and would cost between £10-15 Million tops. He's dynamic and in a World Cup year with something to prove. He's only 25 and a serious upgrade on Barkley. This kid has everything.

At Bournemouth prior to his injury he showed maturity and a willingness to work hard. Worth a shot.

Mike Green
18 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:43:37
Anthony - I think it's #11

a) I'm not your mate

b) Maybe I can see something you can't

Is that OK?

Peter Larkin
19 Posted 28/07/2017 at 06:53:01
Lets call a spade a spade here. We was shite and, apart from a worldie save and them squandering great chances, we would of lost that.

My issue with Koeman is this workmanlike shite he is building. Where is the flair the pace the movement? At least under Martinez we were watchable, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

I can see us losing over there and be bottom 3 in the league come September. I said before Koeman will be axed by Xmas. This aggression he talks about what exactly is that? Wheres this famous high press?

We made a bunch of minnows look like Barça. People will say I'm negative or whatever. But after last season, he proved he is nothing more than a Moyes with more money. Let's hope he proves me wrong.

Mike Green
21 Posted 28/07/2017 at 07:08:51
Will (#13) – Koeman has won 8 honours as a manager from the Erevidisie to the Copa Del Rey. Keane won the Championship with Sunderland ten years ago.
Rick Tarleton
22 Posted 28/07/2017 at 07:10:01
Rooney was off the pace, Klaassen looked neat, but a trifle lightweight, especially considering the opposition (see John Dean's cogent comment above). Sandro looked a prospect, very one footed though, and Keane looked quite classy.

I'd have liked to have seen Davies starting. You never know – Koeman might decide he's the next Barkley, a promising local player who needs to be shown the way of Ronald.

Thomas Lennon
23 Posted 28/07/2017 at 07:29:29
They came to block and spoil and did a good job. The one thing that irritated was when almost all of our midfield received the ball with back to goal would invariably pass backwards. On many occasions they had no one on them. The opposition seemed to turn and run much more frequently.
Paul Rimmer
24 Posted 28/07/2017 at 07:41:49
Rooney really had to graft 1st half to try to get on the ball and became gassed. He's not a number 9. Equally, Calvert-Lewin is not a wide man – he should have been the focal point with Rooney on the left.

Schneiderlin was wasted in a game where we needed more creativity – Lookman would have been the better option and was given little time. Martina was skinned a few times and, save for two decent crosses, was poor. Kenny would have been ideal.

We still need a striker and Sigurdsson would be a massive improvement on Mirallas at dead ball situations. Koeman baffles me at times.

Stephen Davies
25 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:33:11
I was disappointed; they looked rusty. As people keep saying it is our first real match of the season.

I missed Seamus, the sooner he is back running down the line the better, Martina was never in with a shout.

Hopefully, in the return leg, we will improve.

Mike Berry
26 Posted 28/07/2017 at 08:47:48
I think the big mistake was Calvert-Lewin out on the wing, wasted; we needed a presence in attack and a target man.

Sandro will be superb mark my words.

Early days, lets see where we are after the first 6 games when all is in place and we are on the pace.

Roman Lizuch
27 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:07:07
First competitive match with fresh new squad. They need time to learn to cooperate with each other.

I am not gonna rant about the performance or whatever. All we need now is a win away from home. First, results; beauty will come later.

Richard Lyons
28 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:18:28
I actually thought Schneiderlin was good – he worked hard and won the ball back in midfield on several occasions. Gueye was good as well, he knows which direction the opposition's goal is in (in Moyes's & Martinez's days, Neville & Fellaini usually had it wrong).

For me the weak links were Mirallas (never ready on the too few occasions when Baines got the ball in space on the left), Martina (not enough pace) and Calvert-Lewin (out of position).

Is it me, or has Baines's drop in confidence regarding penalties now spread to his whole game?

All in all, though it was frustrating that we didn't get a second goal, I thought we looked as though we have much more creative potential than before. Klaassen and Sandro look great.

I'm sure we'll do better in the 2nd leg. The Ruzzers know they have to score at least one goal, and so they're bound to be left exposed at the back at some point. I just hope they don't get an early goal...

James Ebden
29 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:41:03
Well, the initial excitement for the season has been brought down to earth after that! However, it is still practically a pre-season game, with new players still settling, so needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

They were pretty big and strong and a few weeks further along in fitness. They came to close down and spoil which they did pretty well. I would have hoped our extra bit of quality would have unlocked a few more chances, but we got a clean sheet so it's not a disaster.

I thought Martina's performance was excellent, just what I wanted – as it will surely now guarantee Kenny starts in future! lol

Gana looked good. Williams didn't have the best game. Calvert-Lewin was better than I expected, even though he was out of position. Sandro looks a steal.

Will Mabon
30 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:41:55
"Koeman has won 8 honours as a manager from the Erevidisie to the Copa Del Rey. Keane won the Championship with Sunderland ten years ago. "

I know, Mike (Keane basically went downhill after that success. The big stick doesn't usually work for long today). The Premier League is a different kettle of fish, though. My point stands – some of the best managers were very ordinary or unsuccessful players, many top players don't make it as managers.

In Koeman's case, this season will tell us much.

Alan J Thompson
31 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:48:26
Based on what is reported above as Koeman's comments; "Bollocks"
Douglas McClenaghan
32 Posted 28/07/2017 at 09:59:50
Dire. Rooney and Martina every bit as bad as I expected. We will suffer an embarrassing exit unless something amazing happens.
Steve Bell
34 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:06:04
Last night, we looked like what we were – 4 games into our pre-season with a lot of new starters. Our attack lacked a focal point.

We also faced a familiar problem - breaking down a defensive team with no real width. We improved a bit second half (Rooney more effective out wide and Sandro looked very good) and two of the issues will be addressed before the window closes (Sigurdsson and Giroud) – I am just not sure that until Bolasie and Coleman come back we'll have much to offer out wide.

Which could mean a lack of variety in our play this season. If I was Koeman I'd be eyeing up a replacement for Deulofeu instead of defensive cover (we should be okay there until the New Year really).

To those advocating Wilshere over Siggurdsson... really? A team based around pressing and work rate can't afford to accommodate two known smokers in it I'm afraid. Plus, he's injured a lot. Not what we need!

Steve Ferns
35 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:09:19
These guys were no mugs. They are professional footballer playing the biggest game of their lives. They have had all summer to train for this, they were playing their 5th game in the competition and the 6th of the new season.

Their manager had coached them well. They got men behind the ball quickly, they didn't get over excited and pour forward every time they had a sight of goal. Even on the attack, they kept their shape and were ready to fall back into position.

if this game had been in a few months time, then they would have blown out, and Everton's superior conditioning would have told. Only, it was not later in the season, we have not yet reached that elite level of conditioning, and they are clearly at the peak of their physical fitness.

What did Koeman try to do in that game? Well he told us at the start, He wanted wingers, rather than forwards. So he played two out wide and tried to stretch their tight defensive lines wide to create room for Rooney to find space.

Who do we have on the left? Mirallas and Lookman. It's a straight choice, and if you had to make it, with so much riding on it, would you really have picked the young lad, particularly if you thought that he's always an option for later in the game against tired legs.

Then on the right, we have Lennon and Calvert-Lewin, that's all we have who can get properly wide, although Calvert-Lewin doesn't cut it there for me. Bolasie is a long way from coming back. Up top, it was a straight choice between Rooney and Calvert-Lewin. Rooney was always going to start.

If I was going to be picky, then I would have said, we should free the midfield up a little. Invert the midfield triangle and push one of the two midfielders slightly further forward, playing just one of Schneiderlin and Gueye there and then I would have gone with Davies alongside Klaassen. You could also have pushed Gueye alongside Klaassen and then been able to tweak it by sending him deeper, if play dictated it.

I cannot for the life of me understand the need to play Martina. This game was nailed on for Kenny. It was lower league standard opposition, a safe home ground, an opposition defending hard, and the right back required to attack more than defend. Why, oh why, didn't we give the young lad a chance?

I predict that Kenny will be this season's Davies. We will spend a few months clamouring for him, Big Ron will refuse to play him, then he will give him a go, and Kenny won't look back, and then even when Seamus is fit, Big Ron will stick with Kenny.

Probably a bit far-fetched on the latter part about Coleman, but you get the point.

John G Davies
36 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:09:24
We've won our first Europa League game and kept a clean sheet. In effect, it's a pre-season friendly, timescale-wise.

Fucked we are. I can only see a relegation fight on our hands here.

Dick Fearon
37 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:19:02
I thought we had binned the Martinesque horrors of yesteryear but once again they were displayed in all there mindless boring negativity.

Most concerning was Koeman's inability to change tactics and his visible lack of concern at his back passing dismaying team effort.

The lack of creativity shown by his highly paid side were put to shame by opponents who had little to offer other than enthusiasm and fitness.

Had we faced a half-decent Premier League team, I shudder to think what the result could have been.

Steve Ferns
38 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:22:07
Steve Bell,

If Koeman wanted width, he would sign wide players. He clearly does not intend to play with width. He was gearing up for a narrow 4-3-3.

say we sign a "Giroud type" then expect to line up with Sandro left of him and Rooney right. As you saw last night, Sandro will pop up all along the front line. The problem for me is, if he does this, and Rooney does this, and they are two of the front 3 and the third guy is Mirallas, then you don't actually have anyone leading the line and pushing the defence back. If the forwards all drop back, then the defence can push out with them, and close the space. We need someone with height, who causes the defence to sit deeper concerned that we can cross to him. This then gives Rooney and Sandro the space to exploit.

I also like the idea of Rooney as the 9, with Sandro to his left. This way if Rooney drops from the middle, then Sandro can run into that space. The movement of these two players makes it difficult for the defence to hold their shape. Does the fullback run into the centre of defence? Does the centre-half cover Rooney in midfield? If Klaassen makes a run beyond Rooney, does the defensive midfielder go for Rooney or cover Klaassen?

This movement will only happen more cohesively once the players get to know each other. Sandro's lack of English does not concern me, as players need to learn his movement and he theirs, and their passes, not to talk about it on the pitch.

Tony Hill
39 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:35:40
Steve (#38), Rooney is going to be part of the problem not part of the answer. I was genuinely saddened to see him last night: a truly great player whose body just cannot do it any more.

Having brought him back, the pressure to keep playing him is going to be considerable and I am very worried that this will prove to be a serious brake on the side's organisation and development.

Mike Green
40 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:37:38
I don't disagree, Will (#30), in fact it is usually the case.

What I disagree with is people mugging Koeman off like he's just got off the boat.

Steve Ferns
41 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:44:34
Tony, I am worried that we will see more of him in midfield.

Koeman appeared to be building a hard-working, hard-running, hard-pressing team. An action-packed team that is all about winning the ball and going directly at the opposition. Rooney of old would be great at this.

Rooney of now, playing deep is not. He slows things down too much, puts his foot on the ball and lets the defence recover, runners run passed the point to get the early pass, and generally let the move break down so all momentum is lost and an easy ball sideways is all that is left. Sure, he can still pick a pass, but that falls within a patient build up side like Martinez had built, and Koeman has shifted all of those players on.

So the Rooney we are left with needs to play as a forward. This way he can had less of the pitch to cover. If he drops deeper, he needs to learn to drop 10 - 15 yards, not 30. He can also be more economical with his running if he plays a Number 9, as Lukaku showed last season, a number 9 can run little and still be very effective. If Rooney is no longer an athlete, then it is as a 9 that he needs to play.

Of course, there's some great Number 10s who ran little, lacked pace, and where still very effective, but this requires a different set of players, and a different type of tactics and, most importantly, it means we cannot properly employ the hard-pressing game Koeman wants to.

Tony Hill
42 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:50:19
I agree with much of that, Steve. My fear, indeed my conviction, is that Wayne is no longer of a physical standard to play anywhere effectively. As I say, I thought it was a poignant sight.
Steve Ferns
43 Posted 28/07/2017 at 10:54:01
I think if Sandro started on his left, things might have been a little different. An alternative is Calvert-Lewin central and Rooney and Sandro either side, and very narrow. But Koeman said he wanted width last night.
Colin Grierson
44 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:02:43
The positives:

1. Keane had a steady debut. Looks composed and assured.
2. Klaassen looks a tidy player; intelligent and worked hard.
3. Gana was excellent as usual.
4. Sandro's positional play was excellent. He made some great runs and found space.
5. We won and kept a clean sheet.
6. We still have new additions to come in.
7. We are likely to go through to the next round.
8. The sky is not falling in.

I'm not even going to discuss the negatives as there are plenty of others to do that. I've learned to keep my glass half-full.

Steve Ferns
45 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:07:55
Nice one, Colin. We need more positivity around here!
Ray Roche
47 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:16:31
Steve (#43),

If Kenny had played instead of Martina, I am convinced he would have given us the pace and width that we lacked.

Martina is too conservative, he gets the ball and stops and doesn't go for the "wall pass " or get behind the full back as Kenny did regularly in the Under 20s World Cup as well as for our Under 23s.

And Calvert-Lewin in the middle to use his height and aerial prowess.

Gordon Crawford
48 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:21:47
We are crying out for pace in the team, and yet we will continue to buy slow players. Yes, it was very pre-season, but some of the early play and the managerial decisions were baffling.
James Watts
49 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:24:04
Steve Ferns. Agree with most of what you say except "Then on the right, we have Lennon and Calvert-Lewin, that's all we have who can get properly wide, ".

Calvert-Lewin can not play out wide properly. He can do just about do a job there but he simply is not a winger and should never be played there. We saw it last season so it should be no surprise. And everyone can see it. Except Koeman. Throw in his old pal at right back and our right side is a complete joke.

But Koeman's comments after the game worried me as he was saying he played him there as he felt the left back couldn't defend. That makes no sense as surely, if that was the case, Lennon or Sandro would have exploited the space much better than Calvert-Lewin could and did.

If he wants to play him, play him through the middle with Rooney and Sandro behind like you suggest. It's not rocket science.

Koeman deserves a shed load of criticism for what he did last night with tactics, selection and subs. We're in for a bumpy ride if he keeps playing his favourites and sticks to this formation come what may.

I can take lack of fitness. I can understand team gelling. I can't understand why the obvious is completely missed by our manager.

Steve Ferns
50 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:35:06
I agree, James, and the use of the word 'properly' was wrong, I meant who "can do a job there" as you put it.

That Koeman gets rid of the width then plays strikers out wide makes no sense. It would have been a game for Lennon, he would have got a good reception and would have played well. Calvert-Lewin needs games to develop, but I can't see how playing right wing will develop him as a centre-forward.

I don't think Koeman is one to stick to a formation, he changed several times last season, he even changed several times in the middle of games. Perhaps it's his desire to be rigid last night so that the new players can learn his preferred system? Who knows? I'm sure time will tell.

Steve Ferns
51 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:39:17
Ray (#47), yes, I said we should have played Kenny. If you can't play him at home in a game like that, then when can you play him? Surely the answer is not Stoke on the first day of the season.

So when will we see him next? The League Cup? But Holgate will need a run out then.

Winston Williamson
52 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:39:50
I'd like to see what Kenny and Coleman down the right could achieve. Obviously, this isn't going to happen any time soon (if at all), but it would provide pace down the right and defensively, would be exceptionally sound.

Other than that, we need a striker. An out-an-out striker. I'm not particularly suggesting a straight like-for-like replacement for Lukaku, but a striker who cannot be classed as anything but.

Additionally, we need to replace a couple of players who have not and never will be good enough. Mirallas being one of them. I've liked Mirallas, but he's a member of the 'class of inconsistency' and we need pace and creativity... quickly

Stan Schofield
53 Posted 28/07/2017 at 11:45:05
Mike @9 & @40: I haven't actually criticised Koeman on this thread, have I? So I could be smart arse and work on that. But I won't, because there's no point.

Instead, I'll say, oaky, I'm being sarcastic, criticising Koeman indirectly via 'interpretation'. I think I'm justified, in part because I've supported him a lot since he arrived, but have become more sceptical as time has worn on, for very good reasons.

I wouldn't argue about Koeman's world class playing credentials. However, I feel I can comment on some aspects of his style of management, based on my experience of working. If I gave Koeman advice, it would be solid practical advice, nothing that relies on football expertise, but just on how to handle folks who you manage. I imagine many others could do the same, because his faults stuck out like a sore thumb.

I think it's unreasonable to criticise fans who are criticising Koeman in a way that at least tries to be balanced, which is all I'm doing. 'Earning' mega bucks doesn't guarantee expertise as a manager, as evidenced by many other managers including his predecessor. Neither does credentials as a player.

Ian Jones
54 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:08:52
Personally, I think it's far too early to criticise the management, tactics, individual players etc, so will reserve judgement, other than to say it was a disappointing performance!

Perhaps we expected more from our team, given the opposition we were playing, but we won and have a clean sheet. However, it was effectively the first competitive match of the season.

One thing I will add is that Ronald Koeman was brought up with the Dutch Total Football style of play, where players are comfortable in playing in different positions.

Minik Hansen
55 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:11:27
Watching on tv, when the away fans cheered with "Ru-zom-be-rok", I thought it was odd I hadn't heard it before from our fans cheering "Blue for-e-ver". Evertonians should do it at the away tie. lol.
Mike Allen
56 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:12:18
Not a good performance but so be it, but what I don't get is why do we put ourselves under pressure when defending? Lazy passes to marked men in and around the box, stupid rollouts from the keeper to defenders who can only pass it back.

I watched the U19s the other night – just the same. It might be okay if teams are dropping off but daft/crazy when teams are pressing. Decision-making is poor.

Jon Withey
57 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:20:24
Figure I should find some positives.

I thought Calvert-Lewin worked hard and looked like he's improving.

Stek is a decent back-up keeper.

Happy with Keane and Ramirez.

Gana still great.

Colin Grierson
58 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:24:15
There were some proper fit birds in amongst the away fans. I wouldn't mind a ticket to the away leg. I'm sure I could comfort them when we knock them out.
John Pierce
59 Posted 28/07/2017 at 12:27:29
Koeman will be judged as harshly as he deserves.

You live by his style of management you die by it too. Plain speaking, I'm sure the fella would brook no argument based on his assessment of players and public utterances to date.

Koeman has I imagine been given more to spend than any other Everton manager, has for many been 'allowed' a season of transition and pragmatism to eke out 7th place despite citing European football as his goal when only 5th would guarantee you that.

As for his actual record, he's as peripatetic as a fly and not always of his choosing.

He is judged over the whole piece not on one game, and that to date is not to my eye, favourable.

He spoke before the game about added pressure/expectations and that he and the team can deal with that. He will have to.

He may yet find a more fluid way around things, Sigurdsson at left midfield and Giroud at centre forward may balance things out. It would relieve the midfield of the double locked Gana & Schneiderlin.

I won't wonder too hard though.

Vince Furnier
61 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:08:42
Anyone know if the 3 Aug away leg is on British TV? I can't see anything for Sky, ITV or BT.
Stan Schofield
62 Posted 28/07/2017 at 13:22:25
John, well said. I'm not sure what to think about the way things are panning out. A year ago, I was very positive; now I'm less so. I hope for (and half-anticipate) more assertive football with more rapid passing movements, and think that the likes of the established players and new signings like Klaassen and Sandro (and of course Rooney) can deliver that. In this respect the new signings are encouraging, but not as yet exciting. But offsetting this is the loss of Lukaku, and equally what looks like the loss of Barkley.

It's difficult to know what to make of the Barkley situation, but on the face of it, it has the classic signs of a management fuck-up. I'm not saying it is that, but it looks it. So this is an example where the management isn't inspiring me with confidence, however positive I try to be.

My wife joined me in watching the game last night. Her first match was when we beat Chelsea 6-0 and Latchford got his 30. So she knows what it's like when Everton and Goodison buzz. But she's not really an Evertonian, just an interested observer. Anyway, after about 15 minutes, I turned round and she was doing something else. I said, "Aren't you watching the game?"

She said, "Nothing's happening, I thought football was about trying to score goals, but the ball just seems to be passed backwards and sideways." I couldn't argue with her, and thought, her simple observation summed it up for me.

Hopefully it gets better. But I have more hope than reasonable expectation.

Geoff Williams
63 Posted 28/07/2017 at 14:58:45
This was a very poor performance, dire at times, and few players came out of the game in credit.

I was very pleased with Keane, Gueye and Sandro but I was really disappointed with Rooney, Klaassen, Baines and Schneiderlin who all performed in flashes but overall offered very little threat.

Although Schneiderlin is far more athletic than Barry, he has some way to go before he is as effective. I cannot see what aspect of Williams's game is better than that of Jagielka's. Klaassen will get better and, once Koeman recognises that he is not a lone striker, so will Rooney.

I really believe that Martina, Mirallas and Williams are not good enough and despite one outstanding save neither is Stekelenburg.

I'm still hopeful of a good season in the Premier League but, if there isn't a sharp improvement in our performance next week, then our European experience will be short-lived.

Stephen Karnes
64 Posted 28/07/2017 at 15:38:07
I just need a quick dip through ToffeeWeb sometimes to remind me why I don't read the comments on this site anymore. The endless negativity makes me question why some of you watch football in the first place.

You know we won the game right? With an underfit team who have barely had a chance to play together? In the earliest start to a season Everton have ever had to play? Some of the comments on here are shameful.

Give the team and the coach that got us 7th with a very average side a chance before you lose your heads. It's not even August.
Derek Knox
65 Posted 28/07/2017 at 16:17:30
Vince @61, I would find it strange if ITV4 having covered last night's match, which at this stage of the qualifiers is unusual, to not follow that up with the away leg.

While I appreciate the match is away in Slovakia, some TV company will be televising it and ITV4 should, I would have thought, purchase the rights from them.

Negotiations are probably and hopefully ongoing which would explain why there is no mention as yet in the TV schedule.

On a lighter note, after last night, I don't know if I will have recovered mentally to watch the game should it be on!

Brent Stephens
66 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:03:30
I thought we got the ball into their penalty area a reasonable number of times but just lacked somebody with height to dominate their defence.
John Pierce
67 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:11:12
Brent, I concur totally, yet as previously posted no idea why, against that opposition, Koeman didn't play Calvert-Lewin at centre-forward.

He looked very uncomfortable at right wing but I can't deny his effort. Tactical blunderclass from Ron.

"What's recurring, Ron?"

Brent Stephens
68 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:26:53
Yes, John. I noted Calvert-Lewin several times got up really well in the air, while out on the wing. Would have been better using that height in the box.

Da do Ron, Ron.

Stan Schofield
69 Posted 28/07/2017 at 17:32:48
John and Brent, yes, I thought Calvert-Lewin was playing well, looks stronger than last season, and could have caused havoc in the centre. I must be missing something about Koeman's tactics here, they baffle me.
Soren Moyer
71 Posted 28/07/2017 at 18:17:33
Well, I beg to differ, Mr Keoman. We were rubbish!
Barry Pearce
72 Posted 28/07/2017 at 18:55:10
It was a travesty not playing Kenny last night. I don't know what the lad has to do.

Hope you're right, Steve (#35), that Kenny will be this season's Davies.

Neil Thomas
73 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:29:05
I do have to say bringing on Sandro made a difference, but so did Davies.

I thought he was outstanding for the amount of time he had. The lad is just action-packed and, unlike others, when he gets the ball, there is only one direction he wants to go and that's forward.

Maybe play Keane as our Number 10 – he played more forward passes than rest of team put together.

Neil Thomas
74 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:34:51
Early days yet... though we do need a number 9 who can hold the ball up and good in the air though. Did anyone else notice that Baines, who usually whips in some beautiful crosses, had to wait until he could play ball into someone's feet?
John Wilson
75 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:48:57
Ditch Barkley. Bring in Sigurdsson. Barkley is still young enough for an apprenticeship on a building site. No-one wants to buy him and I don't think he's good enough for Everton anyway, even if he did sign that contract.

People harp on about how talented Barkley is. I think it's more potential he 'had' – as he has never progressed. Bring in Sigurdsson – a true talent!

David Currie
76 Posted 28/07/2017 at 19:56:28
Geoff (#63), great point about the 4 players Williams, Martina, Stekelenburg and Mirallas – none should be playing for our club.
Kev Johnson
78 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:32:21
Col @58, I was parked by the away section eating chips and drinking coffee, then I got second helpings and third and more. They were proper fit... 😂
Matthew Williams
80 Posted 28/07/2017 at 20:51:32
Still with the two holding midfielders eh, Ron?

Doesn't bode well for the season ahead, like!

James Flynn
81 Posted 28/07/2017 at 21:05:37
Lookman was tiny last season. He looks bigger all of a sudden.
Oliver Molloy
82 Posted 28/07/2017 at 22:45:18
Let's be clear – this wasn't a good performance.

It is very clear Rooney is not the player he once was, he needs to get fitter, but can he? I reckon he could still change the odd game and score a few goals alright, but it's his experience and how to manage games that will be most useful to Koeman.

The Dutch player Klaassen has played in a very ordinary league and playing in the hustle and bustle of the Premier League week-in & week-out will be like night and day and he needs to hit the ground running so to speak – he looks very light weight to me and should have scored last night.

Williams reminds me of Distin a little, he can be very steady, definetly committed and playing well and then out of nowhere will make a bad pass, bad decision or rash challenge.

We were lucky to win this game and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to go to spec savers. Of course it is early days, but make no mistake this is a huge season for Koeman who is under pressure to build a winning team.

Lukaku's goals are going to be hard to replace; surely a striker must be a priority for Koeman. (I was chatting to a guy today that told me we had enquired about Shane Long... I can't believe that but because of the links, who knows?)

The season is only a couple of weeks away and it's a very tough start for us; Koeman needs to get this group of players gelling and quickly.

Tony Hill
83 Posted 28/07/2017 at 23:18:52
We'll know if things are starting to go right when Goodison finds its voice again. Last night there were isolated brave attempts to make some noise but it was mainly dead and that is now the norm. Why? Because we've been a mostly boring side to watch for a long time.

Some, maybe much of that is due to the tedious formulae of modern football; but we decide how we play. It would be nice to go to the match and relish it.

Anthony Dwyer
84 Posted 29/07/2017 at 01:55:44
Mike Green, I know it's #18.

A. I was being polite calling you my mate, I don't be friend clowns.

B. You see a lot that I don't see clearly hence the fact you seen a world class player when watching Rooney on Thursday night.

C. Your quick enough to jump all over Stan with your sarcasm, take a bit of your own medicine without acting like a tart.

Is that alright?

Peter Fearon
85 Posted 29/07/2017 at 03:59:01
The plain fact is that we struggled to beat a bunch of Carpathian clog dancers and, in the end, we failed to beat them convincingly. Maybe we will do better in the second leg. Maybe not.

As it is, it doesn't look like we can afford to dispense with a talent like Ross Barkley as lightly as Koeman is doing, any more than we could afford to dispense with Deulofeu's.

No amount of 'coachspeak' sugar-coating by Koeman about what he unfathomably calls "De Project" can change the fact that we were, in effect, playing Runcorn and couldn't get the job done right.

Joseph Terrence
86 Posted 29/07/2017 at 04:05:23
So, Peter, we just let him walk for free at the end of the season? Ross has explicitly stated that he wants to move on and refused to sign a new contract. Sell him and use the money to strengthen.
Mark Andersson
87 Posted 29/07/2017 at 04:35:51
Oh dear, the knives are out for Koeman. What happened to all the "Can't wait for the season to start" positive posts? TW back to normal, the negativity, the experts, and the blue blind all happy to be un-happy.

I enjoyed the game, well the 5 minutes highlights on YouTube. Oh and that Jack Wilshere link... boring 7 minutes of the same thing with no end product, I switched off, did it eventually show him making any assist or scoring goals.

Lee Brownlie
88 Posted 29/07/2017 at 05:17:03
Would have been more inclined to agree, or at least 'get', the satisfied with 1-0 comments if it' d been the away leg first.. even then, we know from the Brann-Ruz result that it wouldn't have been game over!

Right now, it's a concern, though we definitely have the players to step up and put the tie to bed! We could still have scored more this leg, despite our still-to-be-rectified pre-season frailties (yes, I know they could have scored too!

Football... Everton, hey?) so, come on lads, let's get this thing sorted and lets move forwards with some ever-building positivity!!! (Hopes and dreams, huh?)

Frank Sheppard
89 Posted 29/07/2017 at 05:47:17
Did Sandro remind anyone else of Andrew Johnson?
Lee Brownlie
90 Posted 29/07/2017 at 06:00:10
And I don't think any of us need to read or hear how well we did, 'considering'... maybe okay to say after an actual pre -season run-out, but about a competitive game where we merely scraped a win against what has to be seen as far lesser opposition (at home!).

Well, it's just not good enough, is it? At least we should now know what we've got to do! More wishes and hopes, then.. (ps: Has Koeman killed Kenny?.. Bastard!!!)

John Charles
91 Posted 29/07/2017 at 10:00:59
I can understand why Koeman is content with this performance. It is a mirror of many of the performances last year. Slow, uninspiring, devoid of ideas pace or width.

Last season, it was because he had inherited Martinez's chaos, this season – it's too early, players need time to gel, can't cure all ills in one window (though it is now 2.5).

Maybe it is that Koeman is an uninspiring, limited , conservative coach?

Stan Schofield
93 Posted 29/07/2017 at 11:45:05
Mark@87: Get a grip. Not everyone has expressed positive gaiety at recent developments. Some of us have said that the recent signings are encouraging but not exciting, and that we might start getting excited when we see exciting progress on the pitch.

I for one am being very reserved, and am sceptical about Koeman's management abilities overall, and his tactical nous particularly, former great player or not.

John Wilson
94 Posted 29/07/2017 at 14:38:03
It was just terrible for all those young fans, with their brand new Rooney shirts; and the whole faithful fans; to see a dismal Everton performance. Why do Everton players need a rocket up their arses to make them lively?

Look at Sandro – as soon's he came on he was like a kid with ADHD...lively...making efforts, evading the opponents to find his space. It's just wrong – no wonder Koeman is content as he said, 'don't under-estimate this team.' I think Everton boys took this too literally or used it as an excuse for this really shit performance.

We played at Goodison Park, not bloody bandit country! It's this blasé attitude that needs to change. We need to mean business from the time the whistle blows at the beginning to full time whistle. I just expect better and I am only an armchair supporter, so to speak.

It's as though Everton don't take these pre-seasons seriously. This team, according to Oppenheimer's manager, is like a League Two club; he was expecting 4-1 or 5-1 to Everton. This 1-0 win for the second leg is like a dream come true now – they don't have to do much to win. Their goal-keeper just makes himself big and puts in a good shift. Just mediocre... no worse, shit.

Chris Williams
95 Posted 29/07/2017 at 15:07:38
John #94

I went to the match with my son and I was expecting more too. But it was soon apparent that the team was nowhere near match fit and they were playing a team who were about 3 or 4 weeks further on in their preseason, and having already played a round of the competition too. Whether they really are better than we expected I'm not sure but they certainly were on the night.

Some of those players played their first full 90 minutes of the season on Thursday and it showed. Some like Martina probably didn't know everyone's name yet, regardless of some opinions of him. But you couldn't really criticise the effort they put in.

The holes in the squad also showed, no width or pace and square pegs in round holes like Calvert-Lewin out wide and no centre-forward. These will hopefully be improved, maybe by Thursday, but a job to be done there.

I expected a 4-0 win or something like that, but it was clear pretty quickly that this wasn't going to happen, so my expectation was unrealistic basically. The guys sitting around me came to the same view. All the kids around me just spent the night cheering for Rooney.

But that is no reason to be rushing to judgement quite yet, especially given an unprecedented recruitment programme which is still incomplete.

Early days.

Mark Andersson
96 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:06:33
Hey Stan. I get a lot reading your posts, personally I'm just a wind up merchant, cant take this footie game seriously. I read TW because the polar opposite views of just about everything, makes me realize that I know nothing about football and so do most of the people who comment.

Occasionally some posts make me laugh, like the the early one about the other team having their own boots and everything. Then there are the more balanced views, which I can not make reference too because I know nothing about football. What I do know is that people in general are fickle with their views, but football fans take it to a whole new level.

I love the drama in their posts, like it means something when in reality their views or rants make no difference to what goes on in how the football club they unconditionally love is run.

So I don't have to get a grip, because I do have a grip on the whole concept of this madness that is football. TW is a brilliant form of entertainment to me, just as the team in blue are.

I delight in the wins, especially if they won in the style of the 80s team that I had the privilege to witness first hand. And I get pissed off if we loose, especially to those over the park, but never long enough to spoil my day.

It's only a game despite that dick from Scotland saying it was more than life or death. So in conclusion the panic merchants carry on being drama queens, the dreamers keep on dreaming while the realists see it for what it is, just a game.

I predict that Everton FC will have another average season, because the reality is, we missed the boat when the premier league started. Rooney! Rooney!!, Rooney!!!

Tony Hill
97 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:25:53
Mark, there's a lot of wisdom in that. It's true that many of us get too excited and think it really matters when, like most things, it doesn't – not in the end. But Everton is a deep part of my life and I suspect it is for many on here. The club is one of the few continuities when other things fall away.

People like the late Harold Matthews and now George McKane always manage to bring some calm and perspective and I wish I could manage it. I vow every season not to get wound up but can't help myself. Every game is a torment when it should be a pleasure. Ridiculous.

Anyway it's all great fun, sort of.

Peter Fearon
98 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:33:37
Joseph Terrence, the issue isn't should we sell him now or lose him for nothing; the issue is why he is being forced out.

Koeman has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't rate him and doesn't want him and forced this matter by ludicrously insisting on a signed contract by a specific deadline, then sidelining and marginalizing him. It is not necessary.

And, Mark Anderson, the knives aren't out for Koeman. If he succeeds, Everton succeeds. However, he has done very little to show that he intends to bring entertaining, attacking, winning football back to Goodison, especially when he dumps two of the most exciting players to pull on an Everton shirt for years.

Geoff Williams
99 Posted 29/07/2017 at 16:38:19
We weren't match fit" would be reasonable excuse for such a poor performance if there hadn't been half-a-dozen or so equally inept performances towards the end of last season.

,"We weren't match fit" would be reasonable excuse for such a poor performance if there hadn't been half a dozen or so equally inept performances towards the end of last season.

,,BlueKfrog,1,16:37:57,,,ok,17777,07/29/2017 16:37:57,GeoffW,reader,, 835458,35265,toffeeweb,29/07/2017,Jeff Armstrong,aa7028@sky.com,"Mahrez at £35 million, or Ieanacho at £25 million would be better value than Sigurdsson at £50 million, but then Ronnie does like a slow midfielder or 6, doesn't he!

David Barks
100 Posted 29/07/2017 at 17:02:02

But he hasn't been forced out. He has been offered a contract. He was in Koeman's team just about every match last season. Koeman said publicly he wanted him to sign the contract, just with the fairly obvious and honest caveat that, if he doesn't, the club would be forced to sell him.

Barkley is choosing to leave, not being forced out. He wasn't frozen out with the reserves. He wasn't barred from pre season training. He was offered a contract and refused it.

And he has now apparently told Koeman he wants a new challenge. That's his right. But Koeman did not freeze him out. How you would claim such a thing is beyond me.

Don't infantalize Barkley as being a poor little boy who was terribly mistreated by Koeman. He was rightly criticized for some below par performances and challenged to improve. He was dropped by England because his performance had dropped. Yet still he was offered a contract to stay and he has chosen to leave.

Stan Schofield
101 Posted 29/07/2017 at 19:15:35
Mark @96: Point taken. Apologies for the sharpness.
Gary Cross
102 Posted 29/07/2017 at 22:47:58
Is it right that Moyes's son is Barkley's agent? Does anybody know?
Mark Andersson
103 Posted 29/07/2017 at 23:59:35
Stan, I never take offence from anything posted by you or anyone else on TW. As stated I find it fascinating the many view points and gain insight into how people can watch the same game, or see into something like the Ross story and yet have polar opposite views. Each to their own, I get a education each time I read TW.

Tony Hill, I like your post and I concur especially with your recognition of Harold Matthews and now George McKane. I was gutted the day Alan Ball was sold, and a part of me left the club aged 10, only to return in the 80s by chance and boy what a great time it was to be a blue.

As an entertainer, I recently put a tribute act together called The Birth of the Beatles and The Swinging 60s in which I sing songs mostly from the Fab Four and all the other MerseyBeat bands from that era. When asked by the agent here in Perth Australia to finish my show with You'll Never Walk Alone, well put it this way: I lost work rather than sing that fucking song. I told him "Tell the DJ to play it, while I go for a shite."

Yes it's hard being a blue sometimes, but when it's good, it's the best.

Stan Schofield
104 Posted 30/07/2017 at 10:27:08
Mark, all Evertonians would applaud your response to being asked to sing that song.

You'll never shite alone?

Terry Murray
105 Posted 30/07/2017 at 13:18:25
Is the second leg on TV?
Ray Roche
106 Posted 30/07/2017 at 13:20:32
Yes, Terry. 19:45 on ITV4.
Rudi Coote
107 Posted 30/07/2017 at 17:12:53
Mark Anderson... well in lad! I trust all Evertonians would give the same response. When I got married, the DJ who played at my reception was told, by me, not to play that crap, no matter who requested it.
David Hayes
108 Posted 31/07/2017 at 09:13:28
Stephen (#64),

Well said and spot on. Exactly why some have to commit massive diatribe in infinite detail, that goes on and on, that drains the pleasure and love out of being a Blue l don't understand. I don't know why you wallow in misery but please keep it short or even better to yourselves.

Stan Schofield
109 Posted 31/07/2017 at 10:48:50
David @108: Do you really have to go see such extremes of either irrational positivity or irrational negativity?

Most posts of a critical nature are reasonably balanced, looking at details. I know it's fashionable to be (or rather, look) positive all the time, but that's just as extreme as dark pessimism.

Koeman has positive features to his management, but also shortcomings that have become apparent over the past year. We could pretend they don't exist, and that the future will be a golden age of silverware, but really?

This kind of irrational approach makes debates become polarised into 'lovers' and 'haters' (another fashionable term) very quickly – something which is nice to avoid if we can.

Dave Abrahams
110 Posted 31/07/2017 at 12:08:08
Gary (#102), no, Ross's agent is definitely not Moyes's son. Barkley's agent is a firm based in USA, a big reputable firm and they look after many English footballers. I think Mike Gaynes, a ToffeeWebber, has indicated a couple of times exactly who the firm are, or it could have been Jay Wood.
Rudi Coote
111 Posted 31/07/2017 at 13:05:55
Maybe if Ross is Moyes's son.
He'll fit into the Mackem's team nicely.
George Freeman
112 Posted 31/07/2017 at 13:20:30
Gary (#102),
Ross Barkley's agent is Paul Martin, a chef executive with Wasserman Media Group a US based organisation who manage several top footballers. David Moyes Jr does also work for them. Not sure if he has any involvement with Ross.
Andrew Ellams
113 Posted 31/07/2017 at 14:23:36
Moyes Jr is responsible for attracting talent in the NW England region to Wasserman Media Group so quite possibly had a hand in Ross signing for them.
Gary Cross
114 Posted 01/08/2017 at 20:05:13
Thanks for that, Dave, George and Andrew. I thought I heard there was some connection.
John Wilson
116 Posted 02/08/2017 at 10:58:47
Did anyone see Liverpool's game with Bayern in the Audi Cup last night? I watched the first half and judging by their performance they made Bayern look like an amateur side. When Liverpool lost the ball they simply pressed and got the ball back.

If this is Liverpool pre-season and our poor game against Ruzomberok is anything to go by, how can Koeman be 'satisfied' with our performance? If we lose on Thursday, I believe our Euro games will be over before they even began.

Simon Bates
117 Posted 02/08/2017 at 18:34:38
Satisfied by a 1-0 win, regardless of performance, isn't really a bad attitude for a manager to have!!! Mourhino's Man Utd and George Graham's Arsenal are the first examples that spring to mind .

Keep a clean sheet and score "just" once in every match and we'd be Premier League Champions, FA Cup Winners, League/Carling Cup Winners (whatever it's called now) and Europa League champions.

And I bet some on here would still complain and demand a new manager.

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