Koe­man de­mands Ever­ton ‘wake up’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Premier League - By Chris Bas­combe

Ron­ald Koe­man ar­ranged a no­holds-barred emer­gency sum­mit with his se­nior Ever­ton play­ers af­ter ad­mit­ting his deep con­cerns about the poor start to the sea­son.

An an­gry Koe­man de­scribed the 3-0 Europa League de­feat by Ata­lanta on Thurs­day as a “wake-up” call for his team. It was his side’s third con­sec­u­tive loss and a re­ac­tion is needed be­fore vis­it­ing Manch­ester United to­mor­row.

Long-serv­ing play­ers such as

Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines, as well as re­cent-sign­ing Wayne Rooney, met the man­ager to dis­cuss the dire form, Koe­man de­mand­ing the same en­raged re­sponse he showed when ad­dress­ing the side in Italy.

“It was a lot of anger at half-time,” said Koe­man. “I pre­fer to keep my mouth shut af­ter the game be­cause the prob­lem is the first half and not in the sec­ond half.

“I think you need al­ways per­son­al­i­ties in play­ers and it’s not al­ways about how the man­ager needs to re­act or who the man­ager likes to change. We also need per­son­al­i­ties who talk and crit­i­cise to make the team bet­ter, get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing, and to show ev­ery­body we will fight for the bet­ter pe­riod. We need to change and that’s the most im­por­tant thing for Sun­day.

“It’s dif­fer­ent than it was 30 years ago. But I know and be­lieve we have enough of those peo­ple in our dress­ing room. Sun­day is a game for men and ex­pe­ri­ence. They need to show it. Thurs­day was painful.

“I will have a meet­ing with the play­ers. It is the time for ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers to stand up. I am wor­ried about what I saw. It was a wake-up call.”

Koe­man ac­cepted height­ened ex­pec­ta­tions added to the pres­sure, and a num­ber of new re­cruits need to ad­just, but he was not in the mood for ex­cuses. “I am wor­ried about our aggression and how we de­fend,” he said. “I see how many spa­ces we give, let­ting them turn, not fol­low­ing your man, not de­fend­ing your man, not ag­gres­sive.

“And, of course, con­fi­dence. Michael Keane is nor­mally our best cen­tre-back in our ball pos­ses­sion. Maybe now he has doubts in his

foot­ball. If you have doubts in­stead of go­ing front in de­fend­ing you make a step back.

“That’s all about con­fi­dence. You don’t go, al­ways you step back if you are afraid. And I can name more play­ers who are not per­form­ing. That al­to­gether makes the team weak at this time. I don’t like to make in­di­vid­u­als be­cause it is al­ways a team. But we need to be more ag­gres­sive.”

Koe­man was asked if he was wor­ried about his own fu­ture be­cause of the cur­rent form – Ever­ton are known to be the most pa­tient and sup­port­ive of boards. “If it is the board of Crys­tal Palace, maybe not,” he said. “I am too long in this job to think dif­fer­ent.

“I have the ex­pe­ri­ence. I had a bad run at Southamp­ton. We came out of that. I be­lieve that we have the con­fi­dence to come out of this.

“Maybe it is good that I have had good re­sults at Old Traf­ford, but Man United is re­ally strong and a stronger side than last sea­son and we are not at the level of last sea­son. If we are de­fend­ing how we de­fend in the last few games it will be Lukaku’s af­ter­noon.”

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