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Koeman’s last days at Everton

Former manager knew the axe was coming

Everton FC v Apollon Limassol - UEFA Europa League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In his first comments to the media since his sacking from Everton, former manager Ronald Koeman has revealed that he could feel the pressure building from the Blues poor start to the season.

The Dutchman was relieved of his duties on Monday afternoon after the humiliation at Goodison Park on Sunday at the hands of Arsenal proved to be the final straw for majority shareowner Farhad Moshiri and Club chairman Bill Kenwright.

Speaking to Dutch football magazine VI. (via the Mirror), Koeman said he felt that he was close to being fired over the last couple of weeks, especially as the poor results continued to come in.

“Last Thursday, after our defeat to Lyon in the Europa League, I knew it was crisis time. I am not daft, I know how the football world operates.

“I could figure out how things could go. I was sure I would be on the bench against Arsenal on Sunday. But another defeat against Arsenal and I could see that anything would happen.

“And if things did not improve in those last games, I had worked out what would happen.

“Maybe there was a chance to coach against Chelsea in the League Cup and maybe I would be able to do Leicester City away and Watford just before the international break.’’

Despite getting axed by the Blues, he bears no ill will towards the two main figures at the club, Moshiri and Kenwright.

“I could be wrong, but I felt real support from these two people all the way.

“I knew that Everton, as a club, do not have a reputation for sacking managers quickly. But I always knew that It could still happen. At some stage in football, people are left with unavoidable decisions. Even though they were right behind me, there is such a thing as a decision for the eye of the public.

“With Bill Kenwright, I had a very good relationship. In his office, he has all these awards which he has won with films and theatre productions. I could not quite understand what they all were and he thought that was funny.

‘Your life is only about football, football, football!’ he used to say to me.”

Stoke City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The pressure cooker atmosphere that surrounded the club over the last few weeks had started taking a toll on his family life as well, he revealed.

“I can put on a brave face and say I can handle it well, but a crisis like that at Everton certainly affected me. Any coach who says it doesn’t affect him, is lying.

“It is not a nice thing to experience, especially for your family, your wife, your kids. It is funny how that works.

“When Bartina had won her battle against cancer, she said, ‘I don’t care what happens with your football, I really don’t.’ But when the time came that things did not work out here and the pressure was mounting, I could see she started to get worried again.

“My kids are all grown-ups now, they lead their own lives.

“You would think it does not affect them when their dad is in trouble for a few weeks. But later I heard they found it really difficult to watch the Everton games because they couldn’t bear to see me lose.’’