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Everton 1-0 MFK Ruzomberok: Slow start to the season for the Toffees

Three thoughts from the Blues narrow win in the Europa League

Everton v MFK Ruzomberok - UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round: First Leg Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Time needed for Koeman’s vision

A busy summer of recruitment means pre-season has taken on added importance for Ronald Koeman this summer.

With six new signings in his squad, and three more targeted by the Dutchman, Koeman desperately needs this summer’s training to not only get his players fit but also bond them as a group.

The latter cannot be achieved quickly and that was evident in this victory. On several occasions there were misplaced passes or a lack of communication that only increased playing time together on the pitch can help eradicate.

There was also a distinct lack of shape or plan, which is hardly surprising giving the Blues are only three weeks into their pre-season schedule at this moment in time.

Better performances will come with time but Evertonians will have to give this new look team time and patience before they get to see the best of them.

Michael Keane could thrive under Koeman’s guidance

Speaking in the match programme for this game, Michael Keane had expressed his belief that working under Ronald Koeman could bring his game on leaps and bounds.

It is easy to see why he believes so. Playing in a Burnley team that sat deep and was often on the defensive, Keane showed his defensive nous throughout last season.

However, the England international has more strings to his bow than first though. Calm on he ball and a decent passer to boot; it is easy to see what made Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh move quickly to secure his signature.

Under the guidance of Koeman, arguably one of the best ball playing centre halves to have played in the history of the game, both aspects could improve drastically.

It’s early days yet but Michael Keane is looking like the player that many already think John Stones is. £30 million might prove to be a bargain.

Sandro Ramirez is a game changer

On reflection, there was one player who truly changed this game in Everton’s favour and that was Sandro Ramirez.

Left on the bench at the beginning of the game, his introduction midway through the second half gave the Blues the kind of attacking power they had been sorely lacking with Wayne Rooney as the central striker.

Quick, smart on the ball and with excellent movement, Sandro was an instant hit with a packed out Goodison Park. The fact he didn’t end up on the score sheet was surprising given how good this cameo was.

His determination to shoot from any angle or distance may be something that needs working on in future but other than that, there were few negatives.

It would be extremely surprising if he were left sitting on the bench for the return leg, or, indeed, for much of the upcoming season based on this display.