AC Milan Prevail, Everton Slump
MILAN (Dispatches) - AC Milan kicked off by subduing host Austria Vienna 5-1 in Europa League but Ronald Koeman ripped into his Everton side after a disastrous start.
AC Milan kicked off by subduing host Austria Vienna 5-1 on Thursday.
New AC Milan forward Andre Silva scored a hat trick. Milan made certain of the result within 20 minutes.
“We played quickly, particularly in the first 20 minutes, finishing the game off clinically,” Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said.
“We know we still have to work hard, but this was a big win for us.” Midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu opened the scoring after seven minutes then set up two for Silva in the 10th and 20th.
Alexandar Borkovic’s header reduced the deficit early in the second half, Silva completed his hat trick, and Suso finished the rout just a minute after coming off the bench. “Andre Silva ... needed this,” Montella said. After three years away, AC Milan returned to European competition as perhaps the favorite - at least until December when eight teams jump in as a result of placing third in a Champions League group. Also, AEK won at Rijeka 2-1 in another Group D game. Atalanta struck three times in the first half to hand struggling Everton a 3-0 defeat in Group E.
Following consecutive losses to Chelsea and Tottenham in the English Premier League, Everton went on to struggle in Bergamo. Wayne Rooney failed to impress and his teammates made no difference.
After a 26-year absence in Europe, Atalanta cruised, with all the goals in the first half. “A lot went wrong, except maybe after a difficult start , maybe 10 minutes that we had a little bit more of the ball and looked a bit more comfortable,” Koeman told BT Sport.
“Ball possession was poor, but most painful was in the first half that they showed more aggression, that they showed more passion and that’s really painful because in my opinion it starts with that and then you need qualities on the ball.
“It’s a good question to the manager, because I asked myself the question ‘what am I doing wrong?’ about the second half against Tottenham, and the first half, because it’s the way I like to see my team.
“We can play better football, missing chances to score, but the commitment, the passion that they showed to us in the first half was much bigger than we showed together.”
A trip to Manchester United on Sunday continues Everton’s tough start to the season, but Koeman added: “We knew from the beginning of July that the start of the season was really tough.
“OK, we need to accept it, but that’s not the problem. The problem is what we showed in the first half together.”