Koeman Confident Of Progression

by Paul McNamara
@Everton

Ronald Koeman insisted he was confident Everton would progress to the next stage of the Europa League following their third-round qualifying victory over MFK Ružomberok.

Captain Leighton Baines thrashed home the game’s only goal, 20 minutes after half-time of a tough Goodison encounter with the Slovakian underdogs.

And although he admitted he had hoped the Blues would win by a greater margin, Koeman was satisfied with his team’s performance on a night when he handed debuts to five of his summer signings.

“We know we are still not 100 per cent,” Koeman told evertontv. “We did everything for a better result ­- one nil is not a big result but it is a good result. And with a clean sheet it is a positive result.

“I think we did everything. We pressed well and had good possession. Maybe we needed to create more open chances. But we scored a good goal and kept a clean sheet, so there were a lot of positives.”


While Wayne Rooney, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Cuco Martina made their Blues bows from the start, Sandro Ramirez had his first competitive Everton outing as a 61st-minute substitute.

The Spaniard entered the fray to a rapturous ovation and immediately set about unsettling Ružomberok, with the Blues’ goal arriving four minutes after his introduction.

“Sandro brought pace to the team, he showed good movement and that gave Wayne more freedom to play from the right side,” said Koeman.

“That was good to see. After 10 days of training that was what he needed to be stronger. Next week, he will be one week further into training, which will make it easier.”

Indeed, Koeman believes all of his players will benefit from having another seven days’ work in their legs before the return clash in Slovakia next week.


Asked about his team’s prospects of securing their passage to the competition’s play-off round, Koeman said: “Of course (I am confident of going through). Don’t expect too much this early in pre-season.

“You need five or six weeks to be at your best. We have a lot of new faces, which is another reason we need some time.

“But I was happy with the commitment and the aggression I saw tonight. We tried to get the ball back quickly when we lost it and I am happy.

“One more week of training is what we need. It was a really physical test for the players to play 90 minutes - normally you don’t play 90 minutes after four weeks.

“It makes for a tougher pre-season. It was an important game and the boys did well. We fought for a better result and, finally, I was happy with the result.”

Season Ticket, Lounge or We Are Everton Member?

Login then click HERE to check out the latest exclusive content, including player features, classic highlights, interviews and more.

evertontv

View More
  • EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON 4-0 MANCHESTER UNITED
    663
  • EVERTON FOUR-GOAL SHOW STUNS UNITED
    723
  • EVERTON SCORERS ON COMPELLING UNITED DISPLAY
    486
  • EVERTON FIRST-TEAM STARS JOIN ACADEMY DAY
    583
  • WATCH: UNDER-23S BEAT BRIGHTON TO CLINCH TITLE
  • FEENEY: TEAM SPIRIT SAW US THROUGH
    561