Everton face a do-or-die Europa League clash tomorrow against Olympique Lyonnais, with anything less than a win likely spelling an end to the Blues’ European campaign.
Defender Michael Keane spoke to the media along with under-pressure manager Ronald Koeman, with the Englishman pulling no punches about the Toffees’ awful start to the season so far.
“Obviously we’re disappointed not to go out and win games for the home crowd. Everton had a fantastic record at Goodison Park last season and that’s something we wanted to continue. For one reason or another its not happened so far. All’s we can do is keep working hard; we’re desperate to get it right. I think our game at the weekend was much better; we could have won that game. If we can control games like we did against Brighton we’ll give ourselves a much better chance.”
As a defender, he is doubly frustrated at the kinds of goals the Blues have been giving up.
“It’s really frustrating (that Everton are conceding first). The first goal is massive in any game you play and we need to get back to keeping clean sheets. We did it a few times at the beginning of the season and in pre-season as well but we’ve come away from it for one reason or another.
“It’s a basic of defending that you organise the people in front of you and we need to get back to not conceding goals. That will give us a better platform in the game; if we can score first that’ll give all the lads a boost, that’s what’s been missing. When you concede first, heads go down and that gives the opposition a lift.”
Responding to the question if there was added pressure at Goodison Park with how poorly the team has been playing, Keane added -
“I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult (to play home games). We’ve got a lot of experience in our team and we know what it’s like. If we’re not playing well, playing fee flowing football then the fans have a right to get on our case. They have high expectations, as they should do.
“It’s sometimes nice to go away and build confidence then bring that back to Goodison so I feel like we controlled the game at the weekend so hopefully we can do that tomorrow and be more positive in our play. We want to create chances, keep teams penned in and put them to the sword. We haven’t done that enough at Goodison this year so hopefully we can do that.”
Whether Koeman can get out of his own way with tactics is one thing, but the players certainly have had a fair share of mistakes to make up for, starting tomorrow, and it appears they are well aware of it.