Koeman Looking To Build

by Mike Taylor
@Everton

Ronald Koeman hopes Everton’s 2-1 comeback victory over Arsenal will prove to be a turning point in the Blues’ season.
 
Koeman was displeased with his side’s sluggish start to the game, with the Gunners taking the lead on 20 minutes when Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick crept past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg via a deflection.
 
But the Toffees, buoyed by a raucous Goodison crowd, battled back valiantly and restricted the visitors, who had scored 12 goals in their previous three games, to little in the way of chances while starting to threaten themselves.
 
Seamus Coleman’s header on the stroke of half-time levelled proceedings, before Ashley Williams’ late effort - also a header - sealed a hard-fought three points that saw Everton climb to seventh in the Premier League table, four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
 
“I hope from now on we realise how strong we can be if we play like this,” said Koeman. “Of course, it’s always possible to lose a game but we need to show that commitment [in every game].

“The key was how we played after 20 minutes. That was the team that we like to see, what the fans like to see. The team went face-to-face with the opponent with aggression, pressing and playing good football and going for it.
 
“But if you play how we started the game, you won’t win because the team was nervous. On one side I can understand because it’s a difficult situation and maybe there was a lack of confidence, but it was really poor in the beginning. 

"We played every ball backwards instead of going forward and we made it difficult for each other. There was no aggression. We had good defensive shape but we didn’t press the ball. You won’t have a chance against Arsenal [if you play like that] because they are too good.
 
“Their weakness is if you go face-to-face with them, be aggressive, win your battles and run. Of course, you need a little bit of luck as well, and we had that [with two blocks off the line] in the last 20 seconds. But we deserved the win because we came back with great character.
 
“We had a fantastic atmosphere and fantastic support from our fans today. If we show that aggression and that commitment, then it’s difficult to beat Everton at Goodison Park.”
 
Ross Barkley returned to the starting line-up after being named on the substitutes’ bench for the last two games and manager Koeman praised the midfielder’s quality and tenacity against a star-studded Arsenal outfit.
 
Barkley capped his performance with an assist, a dangerous inswinging corner that was emphatically headed home by Wales captain Williams.
 
“I thought Ross Barkley grew into the game,”added Koeman. “He was one of the players who started nervously, but everybody knows he can be a fantastic player, like he showed after 20 minutes today. He was strong, he kept the ball in the midfield, he was aggressive.
 
“That’s the challenge to the players - show your qualities, show your commitment and be aggressive, because that’s what you need to do to win in the Premier League.”

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