Everton will return from Italy on the wrong side of a heavy 3-0 defeat which in all honesty could have been much much worse. After the game, manager Ronald Koeman took responsibility for his side’s narrow 4-2-3-1 formation which left the Blues chasing shadows all evening as a middling Atalanta ran riot.
“A lot went wrong. Except maybe after the first 10 minutes, where he had a little better of the ball and it was more comfortable.
"Ball position was poor but most painful was in the first half - they showed more aggression, they showed more passion. That’s really painful because it starts with that and then you need quality on the ball.
“I ask myself questions on what I was doing wrong against Tottenham, because it’s not how I like to see my team. We can play bad football, we can miss chances, but the commitment and passion they showed in first half was much bigger than we showed.”
"The team was not prepared...that's the manager."— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) September 14, 2017
Ronald Koeman accepts the blame for Everton's defeat... pic.twitter.com/UQAmyIeeip
While we can credit Koeman for accepting the blame for this debacle, his next statement beggars belief -
"It's not the time to criticise the players, i need to criticise myself.
“The team was not prepared.. that’s (on) the manager.”
“Yes of course, I share the fans anger. It’s a big lesson today. I thought it was happening after third goal against Tottenham but I need to ask myself what I did wrong.
“What I saw on the pitch was a big difference between Atalanta and Everton in belief confidence, aggression and passion.
“You can be poor on the ball, make many mistakes, the pitch was not the best but the same problem for them. And they showed to us the passion you need to have when you play football.
“So that’s a question to myself, what I did wrong. It’s easier to criticise the players, the team, and individual mistakes but the team was not prepared well for what it saw in the first half.
“It was a shame I’m really sorry for the fans. Ok it’s a difficult moment.”
Why was the team not prepared? This is only Everton’s biggest game since we got knocked out of this very tournament a couple of seasons ago. That is an unacceptable excuse and if Farhad Moshiri and the Board aren’t calling Koeman out on it, the fans and the media certainly should.