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 £140m of new talent in 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 Sánchez 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 £6m-a-year contract in 2016, was present at Goodison and is expected to speak with 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 Sánchez 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.”
Source: The Guardian