Ronald Koeman has spoken to the media today ahead of Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the Premier League. While his comments didn’t necessarily say anything new, he did at least seem aware of the issues surrounding the team.
“It was a short night. But of course after that game and that result, of course you have thoughts about the team, about individual performances and what we need to change.
“But of course, yesterday night I was really disappointed in the way how we lost in the first 45 minutes. We lost the game in the first 45 minutes. Maybe even lost it in the last 25 minutes of the half.
“I saw the team with a lot of doubts, one of our strengths of last season was we had a good defensive organisation. And we lost our strengths at the moment.
“If you lose that against the big teams in the Premier League it’s more understandable but yesterday was painful as they showed more ambition, more aggression how they defended and the space we gave their strikers was a big difference.”
There does appear to be a lack of leadership on the pitch, even on a team chock full of international captains and veterans.
“What I don’t like is to go out and tell the media what I tell the players. After this press conference I’ll have a meeting with most of the players, and the key players.
“You can always complain about the young talent, 18-19 year olds, but it’s time for the experienced players to stand up.
“I’m worried after what I saw yesterday. I wasn’t worried after Chelsea. The reaction should have started in the second half against Tottenham. But that 45 minutes and the first 45 minutes yesterday is enough reason to be worried.”
Is there an excuse to be made about the team being in transition with so many new faces?
“Maybe yes, it’s really easy to tell everybody that Everton would be fourth in the table, and will fight for the Champions League because they have spent a lot of money.
“But maybe the rest of the teams have spent even more money. And maybe they didn’t spend it because they already have the team they wanted.
“There is transition in the team. Everybody knows as young player and foreign player coming to the Premier League, they need time.
“While I see at big teams, really good, big signings get a year to improve and adapt to the Premier League. And that’s what we need, with some players.
“But we have other players with doubts. I don’t like to make it individual players, because it’s a team performance, but we need to do more and be more aggressive.”
When told that patience comes in short supply at this level of the Premier League, Koeman replied wryly -
“If it’s the Board at Crystal Palace then maybe not. Finally it’s all about winning, all about results, and I’ve been doing this long enough to think differently.”
While it certainly appears that the players are somewhat tuning out Koeman, a lot of issues are being magnified because of the Blues’ incredibly difficult early schedule. A month from now if this malaise continues, then we will really have a problem on our hands.