Everton won 3-0 at Sunderland yesterday despite a first half performance that enraged manager Ronald Koeman. His fiery halftime speech woke up a lethargic Toffees time that had looked half-asleep at times and gave the ball away easily. However, his substitution of an ineffective Ross Barkley made all the difference as a hattrick from Romelu Lukaku sealed the win.
"I think we will be one of the teams who fight for European football. That's a really realistic target.
"We showed that today in the second half - but if we play like the first, I think we will be in 13th or 14th place.
"We need to fight for European football. The players showed the level they can be at and that was in the second half. They are not stupid. They know how they can perform.
"I was really disappointed about our first 45 minutes. From the start, it was not the Everton I like to see. We lost a lot of easy balls - too many players were not on our level in possession.
"We had difficulties but the second half was what I like to see: good football, we had good pressing and we had opportunities to score more goals.
"Sometimes you need to make hard decisions at half time and hope for a good reaction. That reaction came in the second half."
On his star striker Lukaku who broke his eleven Premier League game goalscoring drought -
"I did not have doubts about that, of course.
"I think the two goals Romelu scored with Belgium gave him a boost and it's unbelievable how good he can be.
"Strikers look to score goals and it's always a little doubt in his mind about not scoring for Everton but I told him the best answer is always on the pitch. It was a great performance."
Midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye has been outstanding for Everton so far this season, and his manager made sure to recognize his effort -
"Fantastic. I think maybe he was the key tonight, already in the first half but overall in the second half it was the same.
"He's a player with a lot of energy. Off the ball he is quiet and takes up good positions and he's really that key player in the midfield that you need. It's a great signing for us."