Ronald Koeman was pretty incredulous that Everton conceded 14 goals from set pieces in the Premier League last season. As a result, apart from upgrading the squad over the summer and bringing in some size, he’s also mandated plenty of set play training sessions during practice.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Roberto Martinez era was his apparent reluctance to practice taking and defending set pieces at Finch Farm, a hesitation that clearly manifested itself in the kinds of goals repeatedly conceded by the Blues.
| Ronald Koeman's pre-Chelsea Football Club press conference..Posted by Everton Football Club on Thursday, November 3, 2016
“Of course, it was a big issue to change this, to have better defending and better offensive set plays. They conceded 14 goals from set plays last season and that’s crazy.
“We start to show clips from last season and put a different organisation in. We are giving more attention to set plays at least twice a week. This morning we had a meeting about Chelsea, but only about set plays.
“You can tell the players, but the best way is to show them the clips and ask them why they didn’t defend well and why they don’t continue defending their opponent.
“You need to make the players more involved. Of course, it’s finally my responsibility but the players need to be involved in set plays. They also feel more responsible.
“They need to talk between themselves about set plays and ask themselves what’s the best way to defend against Chelsea? What’s the best way to have good defending against West Ham?”
He continued, explaining his philosophy -
“The easiest way to win the game is if you have good players of corner kicks, good headers and good defensive organisation. We did a great job (of that) at Southampton for two years.
“Most of the time you win and you can lose from a corner or free-kick. You need to prepare yourself. I’m really happy now that we are defending well but we need to continue and that’s important.
“That’s also confidence. Maybe if you conceded a lot of goals it’s also a little bit afraid to get corner kicks against and may be nervous.
“We talk to the players and those involved in defending set plays and it’s good to hear that we are doing better than last season. But that was not so difficult!”