Koeman proud of players' response

Sunday, 15 October, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last

Ronald Koeman was taking the positives from Everton's ability to grab a late equaliser at Brighton rather than dwelling on the close brush with defeat despite having largely dominated the game.

The Dutchman was heading to a fifth defeat in six league games and another match without his side scoring a goal when defender Bruno checked Dominic Calvert-Lewin with an elbow to the neck that handed Wayne Rooney the chance to level the match from the penalty spot in the 90th minute.

Eight minutes earlier, Anthony Knockaert had notched his first Premier League goal with a well-struck opener after Jordan Pickford had denied José Izquierdo from a similar position in the same Albion move.

Under fire because of the Blues' poor run of recent results, Koeman seemed happy with the fact that his was the better side in terms of possession overall even if that superiority yielded few clear-cut openings, particularly in the first half.

“In the situation that the team is in, you need a little luck,” he said afterwards. “We did well the first 30 minutes; we didn't create a lot but we were the dominant team.

“In the second half, it was more difficult, it was more up and down. Brighton are a good team with good organisation so it was more difficult to break them down.

“We did everything and then you see the goal against... but I'm proud of the players and everything we did after that. OK, we took a risk and maybe they had one good chance to score the second goal but we had the belief to et at least one point and maybe [ultimately] we deserved another two points.

“The goal [we conceded] was really sloppy defensively, because you need to stay on your feet,” Koeman continued, in reference to Calvert-Lewin's attempted slide tackle in the left back position. “You can't go down like that in the first situation with Dominic against Bruno and the second situation in the box for Morgan Schneiderlin. You need to stay on your feet [otherwise] it makes it really easy to score the goal.”

Asked why he felt his side has been unable to perform consistently for 90 minutes, Koeman didn't contest the point.

“I think we lost a klittle bit of control after one or two mistakes in our ball possession and that's maybe a problem of [a lack of] confidence.

“But the way to get out of this situation is working hard, to show the belief and commitment between the players and that is what we showed today.

“Maybe it's only one point but it's a totally different picture after the game from a defeat if we don't get the draw. At least we deserved one point today.”