Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Koeman admits Everton on the slide

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Everton’s Dutch manager Ronald Koeman arrives for the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Everton at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on November 27, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK /

Ronald Koeman admitted his growing concern at Everton’s decline in form after his side slumped to defeat at the manager’s former club Southampton.

Charlie Austin’s goal, scored after just 41 seconds, secured Saints’ victory, leaving Koeman’s Everton with just one win in their last eight Premier League games.

The promise of the opening weeks of the season has quickly disappeared at Goodison Park and Koeman admitted he was left frustrated at his side’s display.

The opening seconds of the game highlighted a lack of organisation at the back and while the Merseysiders improved in the second period, they did not muster and attempt on target until added time.

Koeman said: “I’m not worried about results, worried about what I see on the pitch, how we start game, have difficulties to be organised defensively and stop the opponents.

“I’m worried because the wake up call, how we played in first half, and again today, and to concede goal after one minute – not what can happen.”

Koeman conceded his forwards must do better and admitted he expected more from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku.

“Both could have done better, like everybody else,” said the manager.

He added: “What can you say after you have the kick-off and after 2 or 3 passes we lost the ball and we ended 1-0. You start game to control the game and we didn’t. We had bad defending for the cross and it makes it a very difficult game.

“But the whole first half wasn’t good. The positions in the midfield, we had some problems with the strikers. We need more communication, we need to react faster.

“They had some good chances in the first half but so did we. We played better in the second half but we had to take risks.”

Koeman was given a frosty reception after returning to the club he walked away from at the end of last season.

And having criticised the latest crop of youngsters in the Southampton academy last January, he looked on as 19-year-old winger Josh Sims made an impressive debut for Saints.

Koeman said: “I wasn’t aware of Josh Sims when I was here and he is not my problem – I work for Everton, not Southampton.”

Sims had been promoted after impressing for Southampton’s under-23 side and Southampton manager Claude Puel said: “Josh Sims – for his first Premier League game, I guess it’s okay!

“I am happy for him and the team. He showed very good progress with the Under 23’s and thought it would be a good opportunity for him.

“I think it’s important to respect the academy here and when we have problems with injuries it’s fantastic to be able to start players from the academy.

“It was a very good performance for us because we had a lot of injury problems before the match.

“Today’s performance was good for confidence after a loss at Sparta Prague earlier this week.”

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