Everton ‘need to be at their best’ insists boss Koeman

Date published: Thursday 29th September 2016 5:35

Ronald Koeman: Expects Everton response

Ronald Koeman: Expects Everton response

Everton have to be better against Crystal Palace than they were at Bournemouth last weekend according to boss Ronald Koeman.

The loss was the Toffees’ first in the Premier League this season, with them having accrued 13 points from their opening five games of the campaign following Koeman’s appointment as manager over the summer.

Victory over Palace at Goodison Park on Friday would move them up from fifth to second in the table.

And, while in no doubt an improvement is needed on the showing last Saturday, Koeman has emphasised Everton have made what should still be recognised as a creditable start this term.

The Dutchman – whose side also lost in the EFL Cup last week – said on Thursday: “I think the problem in the first half (against Bournemouth) was we tried to do high pressing but not the whole team was involved in that, and then you get space in between the lines.

“That can make it look like your opponents are more aggressive, but the distances were not what we wanted.

“We did everything in the second half. They had one shot on target, scored a fantastic goal, and sometimes you need to accept a defeat. But, of course, we will try to be better in several aspects.

“We need to be at our best tomorrow night, and I expect that. You like to see a reaction.

“But we are talking about one defeat from six in the Premier League – that is not bad.

“And if we get a very good result tomorrow night, everybody will be very happy about the first seven.

“If we win we are second in the table – it is more than everybody expected. We are in a good way, no problem.”

Everton will be without Leighton Baines for the clash with seventh-placed Palace, who have won their last three league games.

Baines has been nursing a hamstring injury that Koeman says makes it “too risky” for the full-back to be involved.

But the manager has confirmed striker Romelu Lukaku – recently troubled by a toe problem – will start.

Koeman also on Thursday stressed his hope the Republic of Ireland will “protect” Everton midfielder James McCarthy after he was called up for their World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova on October 6 and 9 respectively.

McCarthy has been recovering from groin surgery and last played for the Toffees on August 23.

Koeman said: “James is close. Normally, he would start next week to train with the group, with the team.

“But the national teams are coming up and they called James up after six weeks of no playing – and the FIFA rule is you have to accept it.

“The player likes to go, and I hope they will protect the player. They must realise he hasn’t been training for five or six weeks.”

After missing the start of Everton’s season with an ankle problem, Seamus Coleman was given his first run-out of 2016-17 by the Republic of Ireland earlier this month, and has started every match for the Toffees since.

Koeman added: “The same happened with Seamus Coleman after four or five weeks, and it went well – luckily.

“But it is always a risk. He (McCarthy) had an operation four or five weeks ago. We will see what happens next week.”

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