Re­al­ist Koe­man gives short shrift to ‘crazy’ ti­tle talk

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

EVER­TON man­ager Ron­ald Koe­man has nipped talk of his team’s ti­tle chances in the bud, de­spite their un­beaten start to the sea­son lift­ing them to sec­ond spot in the Pre­mier League stand­ings be­hind lead­ers Manch­ester City.

The Dutch­man took over at Good­i­son Park from Roberto Martinez in June and his im­pact is ap­par­ent in Ever­ton’s new-found de­fen­sive re­silience and im­proved work rate.

Ever­ton se­cured a 1-1 home draw with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in their sea­son opener be­fore win­ning their next four league games, spark­ing spec­u­la­tion they might em­u­late last sea­son’s un­likely cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter City.

Koe­man, how­ever, dis­missed talk of the ti­tle as pre­ma­ture and un­re­al­is­tic.

“It’s a good start but we know it is very early and there is a long way to go,” the man­ager told re­porters ahead of his team’s League Cup match against Nor­wich City later on Tues­day.

“I don’t think we can do a Le­ices­ter. I am re­al­is­tic. If I tell you we will fight for the ti­tle I think most peo­ple will tell you that man is crazy. Even when I men­tion that it sounds crazy.

“Why would we change our am­bi­tion and as­pi­ra­tion af­ter 13 points from five games? The big teams have much more qual­i­ties and un­less it is like it was last sea­son it will be im­pos­si­ble.”

Koe­man, whose stated aim is to get his team into next sea­son’s Europa League, said Ever­ton needed to get bet­ter to hit even that tar­get.

“We need to im­prove and we can im­prove if we want to fight for Europe,” he added.

Striker Romelu Lukaku is out of the Cup game with an in­jured toe with new sign­ing En­ner Va­len­cia set to start in his place.

Mid­fielder Dar­ron Gib­son will not re­turn to ac­tion for an­other three weeks af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery to fix a groin com­plaint. – Reuters

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