Ronald Koeman says Martin O’Neill statement was laughable

Everton boss: ‘I face something unfair and really bad informed. It’s about laughing’

 Everton manager Ronald Koeman during the defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. Photograph: EPA

Everton manager Ronald Koeman during the defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. Photograph: EPA

 

Everton manager Ronald Koeman says that his spat with Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill had no impact on his team’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.

Earlier this week the Everton boss claimed that James McCarthy was not fit to feature at the Aviva Stadium for last week’s qualifier against Wales, despite being named in O’Neill’s starting line-up.

“James, as a strong (person) decided to play for his country, so when asked if he was fit to play he said he felt he was, and he was selected to start the game by the Ireland manager who, in my opinion – in this instance – was not protecting the player,” Koeman said during his press conference on Friday evening.

O’Neill responded by branding Koeman the “master of the blame game”. Claiming that McCarthy, who has not actually played for Ireland since October 9th, 2016, was only afforded 11 days off after the European Championships before returning to preseason training with the Premier League club.

Asked if the comments had been a distraction ahead of the Merseyside derby at Anfield, Koeman said: “No, no of course not. My first job is preparing the team.

“I face something unfair and really bad informed. It’s about laughing. I’m really serious. My answer was that James McCarthy got three and half weeks of holidays and not 11 days.

“If you react, please at least be well informed about the whole question.”

The defeat means that Everton have not won at Anfield since 1999 — their last victory of any sort in the cross-city encounter was almost seven years ago — and despite lofty ambitions going into the game they never looked like actually ending that sequence.

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