Everton got the 2017-18 Premier League season off to a positive start with a 1-0 win over Stoke City at home. Despite a disjointed performance that saw the Blues play in fits and starts for the first half, it took a tactical change at the break for an improved second half that sealed the victory.
Speaking after the game, manager Ronald Koeman said -
“Three points is what you want to start the season, especially at home.
“We had to work hard for the win and for the clean sheet. The defensive organisation in the second half after changing the system was much better. There was much more control and we scored a great goal but the team looked a bit nervous in the first half. That makes it difficult.
“Jordan has produced a fantastic save at the end. He is a young goalkeeper but he was very important today, dominating his area and pulling off a great save. You need to defend well but with that you need a good goalkeeper.
“We know Stoke and we got what we expected – a tough game. But we got the three points and that is really important.”
Talking about the substitution and the lopsided formation that had Dominic Calvert-Lewin out wide from where he crossed for Wayne Rooney’s winner -
“I expected to get the space on that side.
“So instead of playing Tom Davies, Mason Holgate or Cuco, I decided to put a winger there. It wasn’t really good but that’s not because of Dominic. That is my fault.
“Even at 1-0 up I decided to change it after 45 minutes to hopefully make us a little more comfortable with four defenders. The second half was much better. Sometimes it happens like that.”