Ronald Koeman has demanded a higher workrate from Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
The 23-year-old has scored seven goals and has four assists in 11 appearances to far this season, but Koeman is sure he can improve the former Chelsea man and has identified his sprinting as below the level he requires.
A glance at the stats from the game between Chelsea and Everton before the international break speaks volumes.
Everton were crushed 5-0 at Stamford Bridge by Chelsea on Bonfire Night and Diego Costa, 28, who scored the third goal, performed 77 sprints, while Belgium frontman Lukaku managed just 24.
And Koeman wants to see an improvement from Lukaku, who did not manage a single touch inside the penalty area against his old club.
“I understand it is difficult because we need to press more and they need to change their attitude.
“Like Romelu. I can’t advise him on finishing in the box because I was not a striker and he is one of the best finishers I have ever seen in football.
“But I can teach him how he needs to press, how he needs to run, and how he can make it difficult for the defenders of our opponents. If he wants to be that top striker, he needs to improve that aspect,” said Koeman.
Koeman wants Lukaku to start working harder. Diego Costa made 77 sprints in Chel v Everton before international break. Lukaku made 24.
— paul joyce (@_pauljoyce) November 19, 2016
Last month Everton owner Farhad Moshiri insisted Koeman’s suggestion that Lukaku should join Barcelona had been taken out of context.
The Dutch manager somewhat bizarrely suggested Lukaku needed to play at a bigger club to fulfil his potential.
But British-Iranian businessman Moshiri, who bought an almost 50-per-cent stake in Everton in February, has since moved to reassure supporters about the top scorer’s future at Goodison Park.
“It has been taken out of context,” he told talkSPORT. “Koeman said he believes Romelu will develop into one of the best strikers in the world in the next two to three years and wouldn’t be out of place at his old club Barcelona. It is just player-coach talk.”
Koeman had told Belgian newspaper HLN: “I gave him confidence and he has himself recognised that it was good for his development to play another year at Everton. There is a very good contact and appreciation between us. What after this season comes, no one knows.
“If Romelu was to play at Everton until the end of his career I know he has left something (behind). His potential is greater and higher than Everton as a final destination.”