Williams: We Are Trying Extra Hard For Koeman

Ashley Williams says Everton’s players are trying “that little bit extra” for Ronald Koeman and remain “fully behind” their manager.

Williams captained the Toffees in Thursday’s Europa League clash with Lyon and scored for the first time since his dramatic match-winner against Arsenal back in December, a goal which proved the launchpad for a run of only two defeats in 14 Premier League matches for Koeman's team.

The Blues nevertheless lost to French team Lyon 2-1 and are preparing to host the Gunners on Sunday with a view to sparking an upturn in fortunes similar to the one that followed last season's victory over the same opponents.

Everton are currently 16th in the Premier League, having won two and drawn two of their opening eight Premier League matches.

“We all like him (Koeman) and we want to try for him, because when it gets like this, the manager is the one that puts his head out there,” said Williams.

“We are all under pressure, but we want to deliver good performances and results and sometimes you try that little bit extra for him and for everyone.

“It is difficult for him at the minute, he is sticking to what he knows and keeps trying to do the right thing, he is onto us every day and we are pushing ourselves as a team.

“We will keep working as hard as we can for him and it goes without saying that all the players are fully behind him.”

Everton went into last term’s home meeting with Arsenal on the back of a run of only one win in 10 Premier League matches.

But on a rousing, quintessential Goodison Park night, Seamus Coleman struck shortly before half-time to equalise Alexis Sanchez’s 20th-minute goal.

And the atmosphere reached fever pitch when Williams headed home a late corner to settle the match.

The Welshman, who joined Everton from Swansea in August 2016, was encouraged by his team’s spirited display against Lyon – and the manner in which the Goodison crowd once more got behind its team.

“I thought the lads responded very well after going a goal down, we thought we definitely had the better of the game,” said Williams, whose header cancelled out Nabil Fekir’s penalty, only for visiting striker Bertrand Traore to bundle home a decisive goal with 15 minutes to play .

“As long as we apply ourselves like that then, hopefully, something will come for us… as long as we bring our fight, that is the minimum we have to do at the minute.

“We have been showing fight and, especially on Thursday, you saw the crowd were fully behind us. That is the kind of thing that we have to show them, show everyone and show ourselves, really.

“That fight is the base – and if you play well afterwards, then perfect.

“I have not been here that long, but it seems all the fans want is to see the team fight and battle for everything.

“It gives you more energy and it gives you a burst, so that is the kind of way we need to start – and get them behind us straight away.

“They can make an incredible noise and it has been tough for them, as it has for us. It is never nice to see your team lose, so we are definitely aware that we need to perform well and show the right kind of attitude for them, as well as for ourselves and everyone concerned with the Club.”

Williams joined Everton from Swansea City in the summer of 2016, one month after skippering Wales to the European Championship semi-finals.

His hopes of leading his country at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia, however, were ended when Chris Coleman’s side missed out on a play-off spot following a defeat by Republic of Ireland earlier this month.

“It has been tough, I am not going to lie,” added Williams. "Wales was a big thing and it takes a few days to get over it, to be honest. I spoke to the gaffer and I think that was my last World Cup.

“There have been other bits of the season that have been disappointing and I think, for me, it is about getting on with it.

"You cannot get too down or up because it can change like that. You just have to keep working hard, battle through it and be as honest as you can.

"There is a little bit of a lack of confidence in all of us at the moment, but that is only natural. As an older player I will take that on the chin and get on with it.

“I understand football and the way it is, that is not a problem, I try to stay as honest as I can and true to the team and myself.”

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