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Koeman: Everton got fired up by referee mistake

Manager’s post-match comments after win over Boro

Everton v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Ronald Koeman
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Everton manager Ronald Koeman felt his side were hard done by with the referee Lee Mason’s decision to let Middlesbrough’s goal stand. That prompted a furious response from the Blues as they plundered three well-taken goals before halftime to seal the game.

"It was not a bad day. The start wasn't good. We had to be more aggressive. We needed the mistake from the referee for the 1-0.

"After that we had a reaction and we saw the Everton we expect at home. We played more aggressive and played some good football. I think the way we controlled the ball in the second half was outstanding.

"The team is very close to how I want it. We have really improved a lot physically, and of course we bought some very good players with lots of energy. Yannick Bolasie, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams, they were all excellent.

"I like to play attacking football, but I think the big difference is that we expect a lot more from our strikers, to do more pressing and to keep compact. We like to play a high line defensively and press the ball."

Midfielder Gareth Barry marked the occasion of his 600th Premier League appearance with his 52nd goal and 111th yellow card.

"Gareth was very crucial today. His quality and cleverness is so important. If a team is very compact then he doesn't have to run as much."

Koeman was also impressed by Ross Barkley's reaction after his recent struggles.

"I think Barkley's reaction was very good. We know his qualities, but sometimes he is too late or too sloppy.

"Today was the Barkley that we all like. If he plays like that I won't change him.

"He's no longer that young player, he needs to take more responsibilities. He needs to show his qualities and he showed that."