Everton to Manchester and back ...
at Manchester United tomorrow, has cost Koeman’s team, with only two Premier League goals scored this season. But it is Everton’s defending, and the impact on the £30m summer signing Michael Keane, that has most alarmed the Dutch coach.
“I am worried about our aggression on the pitch and how we defend,” he said. “I see a difference in how teams make it difficult for our strikers and how much space we give their strikers, how we let them turn, not following your man, not defending your man tight, not being aggressive. Mourinho did not wish to consider parallels between Ibrahimovic and Lukaku. “I’m not going to compare,” he said. “It’s very stupid to compare. When players are so different there is no point.”
Last season Mourinho repeatedly called on Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata to support the centre-forward by adding goals. Of the quartet only Mkhitaryan has scored this season and the manager said: “I’m very pleased with the contribution but I want more goals. The way the team plays I think they have to, when a team doesn’t create a lot, doesn’t have the ball, when it’s just a reactive team, it’s more difficult. When a team makes decisions and puts players in attacking areas, they have to score goals.”
In last December’s fixture at Goodison Park Marouane Fellaini conceded an 88th-minute penalty which Leighton Baines scored and the game finished as a 1-1 draw. Yet the Belgium midfielder’s importance to Mourinho was underlined in him coming on for the injured Paul Pogba and scoring the opener in Tuesday’s 3-0 Champions League win over Basel. “His mistake last season was the kind of mistake that I accept in a player. I accept the goalkeeper that concedes a bad goal. I accept the player who misses a penalty. I accept the player who makes a mistake and gives a penalty away. I accept all these individual mistakes that are part of the game. What I did with Marouane is what I do normally with every player.
“Like Phil Jones, he made a bad mistake for Stoke’s second goal [in last week’s 2-2 draw]. Did I kill him? No. Will he be on the bench on Sunday? No. So life goes on, and that’s the way I did it last season with Fellaini. When players make one individual big mistake and everybody knows that they did it, the players are the first to know they did, and they don’t need any more criticism from the manager that they get from the fans or the media. It’s just being pragmatic and showing common sense.”
‘Sometimes the world legend comes too easily but Wayne Rooney is a real United legend,’ said José Mourinho