Ever­ton to Manch­ester and back ...

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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.”

Tony McAr­dle/Ever­ton FC via Getty

‘Some­times the world leg­end comes too eas­ily but Wayne Rooney is a real United leg­end,’ said José Mour­inho

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