Everton slipped to yet another defeat yesterday, this time 1-0 away to Southampton. A slow start doomed the Blues as the hosts took advantage less than a minute into the game to capitalize on defensive confusion to score.
While the Toffees had their chances to tie the game, it was the Saints who controlled the ball and had the best chances. If it weren’t for some excellent goalkeeping and fortuitous defending, Everton could have been facing a similar scoreline to their recent London humiliation against Chelsea.
After the game, manager Ronald Koeman admitted that the team’s problems were deep-rooted.
“I'm not worried about the results.
“I'm worried about what happened on the pitch and how we start the game and how we have difficulties in having good organisation in the team to stop the quality and strengths of the opponent.
“That's my concern at the moment. I'm worried because after the wake-up call after how we played in the first half last week, and then today we conceded a goal after one minute.
“That's not really what we want to happen.”
He lamented the team conceding an early goal.
“It is frustrating because we should not be losing the ball after 10 seconds and they scored after one minute.
“That is not the way that you need to start the game. It makes it difficult. It doesn’t give the players the confidence to go out and play.
“It also makes Southampton stronger and they dropped back after going in front. I know that they have a good defence – the goalkeeper and the defenders are the same [from when I was there]. It is hard to score in that situation.”
Koeman also noted that the Blues looked much better in the second half.
“Both sides had chances and the second half was much better for us.
“The team put in a lot of effort on the pitch and won more second balls. There weren’t too many open chances but we were dangerous. Maybe we deserved a goal but we also have to recognise that Southampton had some good chances to kill the game after going 1-0 up.
“Gana had a good chance in the box that needs to be on target but then you also have Barry with a header at the back post, Williams as well. In the second half, we were dangerous but it wasn’t enough.
“The morale is down, of course. That is ok – we need to be down, we need to be disappointed about the start in the game and we need to improve in our productivity.
“A lot of players are not performing and not showing a level that they can bring. Maybe that is a lack of confidence but again the other team have started faster than us and more aggressive than us. That’s what we need to change.”
Last week the manager had gone into a full-blown rant at the break to motivate the troops, but chose a different tack this weekend.
“You can be angry at the time but it's better to focus and tell them if we need to do something different tactical-wise in positions in midfield.
“At least we showed commitment in the team and a lot of effort on the pitch in the second half, but that wasn't enough.
“It's about quality at the right time to have the shot and the action. We have had lesser productivity in the last few weeks.”