Koeman admits Everton are up against it in Group E

Thursday, 19 October, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last

Ronald Koeman bemoaned his players' mistakes and lack of confidence, the standard of refereeing and a shortage of luck for Everton's defeat to Lyon which leaves them with slim hopes of progressing to the next stage of the Europa League.

The Blues came back from a goal down to equalise in the second half through Ashley Williams after the Welsh international had escaped a red card for instigating a pitch-side brawl but were beaten by Bertrand Traore's 75th-minute strike.

It was Everton's sixth defeat in the last 10 games, a continuation of poor form in the Premier League that has left the club in 16th place and intensified the scrutiny of Koeman's performance as manager.

His charges face Arsenal on Sunday desperately needing a victory to ease the pressure on the Dutchman's shoulders but he admits it will be difficult because morale is so low in the camp.

“We made too many mistakes,” Koeman said. “It was thanks to Jordan Pickford that the score was only 2-1. We started well but made a really stupid fault after just five minutes.

“I have no complaints, it was the right decision from the referee to give a penalty, but there were a lot more mistakes and bad decisions after that. That's what we are looking at the moment: doubts, errors, and players without confidence. I know from my playing days what that does to you.

“When you are short of confidence you make poor decisions, as Davy Klaassen did when going for a shot instead of putting in Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

“We need to improve on the ball. We made many mistakes. We need to play more direct, instead of trying to play short - we don't have the confidence (to do it) at the moment.

“We are in a difficult situation now because you only get confidence from winning and we have an important game [with Arsenal] at the weekend. I think it is going to be very difficult for us now in Europe too, you normally win most of your points at home and we only have one from two games.

“Nothing is impossible, but to gain more points — and I think we need six or seven — we need to improve the level and that is more important.”

Dutch referee, Bas Nijhuis, either took lenient action in response to the melée that erupted midway through the second half after Williams barged into goalkeeper Anthony Lopes on the byline in front of the Gwladys Street End or his view of the incident was obscured by the sheer number of players involved.

He showed yellow cards to Williams and Traore but Koeman was unhappy with his compatriot's officiating overall.

“I couldn't see exactly what happened behind the goal, a lot of players were involved, but I can fully understand my players being frustrated,” Koeman explained. “I told the officials what I thought at the end of the game. I know the referee was Dutch, but he failed to do anything about Nabil Fekir diving about 10 times.

“Kenny Tete too, it was happening all the time, and he allowed their physio to come on to the pitch.Then he only added on five minutes at the end, and that's after six substitutions, two goals and a fight. I think the players were mainly acting out of frustration, and I can understand why.”


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