Koeman not bowing to pressure at Everton despite Arsenal humiliation
Manager’s future in doubt after 5-2 home defeat – Everton’s seventh loss in 11 games
Everton manager Ronald Koeman: “Yes I think I can [turn it around] but now is not the moment and everybody is so disappointed”. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
A defiant Ronald Koeman claimed he was still the man to arrest Everton’s alarming decline despite a 5-2 home defeat against Arsenal that has left his future as manager in serious doubt.
Koeman was under pressure before Arsenal’s visit to Goodison Park having won only two of the previous 12 matches with a squad replenished by almost €160 million in new talent over the summer.
Wayne Rooney’s fourth Premier League goal of the season, almost 15 years to the day since his first Everton goal against Arsenal, gave Koeman’s team the lead against the run of play. But goals from Nacho Monreal, Mesut Özil, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez brought Arsène Wenger a merited first league away win of the campaign on his 68th birthday.
Defeat, Everton’s seventh in 11 games in all competitions, left Koeman’s side third from bottom of the Premier League. They are also bottom of their Europa League group following the worst start made by an English club in the competition. But the Everton manager argued he could transform the malaise at Goodison, although did not offer an explanation for how when asked to do so.
Koeman, who saw Idrissa Gueye sent off with the score 2-1 to Arsenal, said: “Yes I think I can [turn it around] but now is not the moment and everybody is so disappointed. It is how you look to the situation. If you start to think negatively then maybe there is no solution. I am not like that. All the rumours in the newspapers are normal. The team is underperforming, it is in a difficult situation mentally and confidence are struggling. That is what we need to change. I still believe I can change the whole situation but everybody knows how it works in football. That is all I answer about this situation.”
Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder who appointed Koeman on a £6 million-a-year contract in 2016, was present at Goodison and was expected to speak to the Dutch coach on Sunday, as is normal after a game. “Normally I have contact after every game, speak or text,” Koeman said of his contact with the club’s hierarchy. “I understand the position is not good for Everton. I have been working in football a long time, I know what can happen, but I don’t think it is too late.”
Koeman claimed it was “impossible” with 10 men against Arsenal, who were dominant before Rooney opened the scoring. The visitors had 30 shots in total compared to Everton’s eight. “The final result is a big defeat. We started well but already from the beginning we had difficulties to stop Arsenal creating chances. The role of Sanchez was really difficult to stop.”
When asked what positives he could find to convince him that Everton’s situation could be turned around, Koeman bristled: “Don’t talk about positives because the final result is 5-2, defeat at home and write what you like to write.”
Meanwhile, Jürgen Klopp said his Liverpool players have nobody to blame but themselves for their Wembley humbling.
Klopp’s men suffered more defensive woe as they were swept aside 4-1 by a rampant Tottenham.
Sloppy defending saw Liverpool trail 2-0 after 12 minutes, with the second goal coming when Dejan Lovren missed a headed clearance on the halfway line, allowing two-goal Harry Kane to run in behind and set up Son Heung-min.
Klopp felt he could have dealt with the situation had he been on the pitch.
“The whole game was pretty much all our fault,” he said.
“We made it much too easy for them. The first goal was a little throw-in and we were not really there. The second goal was from a counterattack, when the ball passed Dejan it was already too late.
“If you were to shoot the ball another 500 times I’m pretty sure Dejan Lovren gets the ball. I don’t want to say too much but if I’m involved in this situation on the pitch then Harry cannot get the ball.
“Coming back into the game with the goal we had our chances, but it’s nothing to talk about today.”
The result moves Tottenham level on points with second-placed Manchester United, while Liverpool have won just one of their last six Premier League games and are already 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.
Klopp’s men have a goal difference of minus two and have conceded three more times than second-bottom Bournemouth.
But the former Borussia Dortmund coach is confident the club can solve their defensive issues.
“Of course we can,” he said.“We have to realise at we are responsible for this, nobody else. Of course we can fix it but we have to fix it as well.”
Kane scored the opener before teeing up Son for the second.
Liverpool pulled one back through Mohammed Salah, but Dele Alli restored the hosts’ two-goal lead right before the interval and Kane added a fourth in the second half.
And Kane, whose goals were his first at Wembley in the Premier League, felt Spurs’ winning margin could have been even greater.
“We wanted to start fast and get the crowd on their feet and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Kane said. “When it went 2-1 we had to stay focused and we knew we were going to get more chances.
“We probably could have [scored more]. Their goal came against the run of play, we were really pushing. We could have had the third and fourth early on.
“Defensively we were solid and we were very good on the counterattack. We’re very happy with the performance.”
Kane limped off towards the end of the game, but Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said it was just fatigue after a gruelling week.
Pochettino was thrilled with the way his side performed following their impressive 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in midweek and, after a second successive league win at Wembley, the Argentinian believes the ground is starting to feel like home.
He said: “I am so happy. The effort was fantastic. For my players to be ready again after Madrid is pleasing. It was very good and I am so pleased for the team and our fans because we changed that feeling that it was difficult to play at Wembley. It’s starting to feel like this is our home. It’s important to get that feeling.”
On Kane, Pochettino added: “He is amazing, one of the best strikers in the world.” Guardian service