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Koeman denies Niasse had no locker

Manager keen to move past previous impasse and get on with season

FC Twente v Everton FC - Preseason Friendly Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Toffees cannot stop talking about Oumar Niasse, and neither can manager Ronald Koeman. The forward finally scored his first Everton goal last Wednesday in the Carabao Cup with the third goal in a 3-0 romp. And then with the Blues floundering on Saturday in the Premier League at home to AFC Bournemouth, the striker came on as a second half substitute and turned the game on it’s head with a well-taken brace.

Speaking to evertontv, here’s what Koeman had to say about the goals, and especially the first.

“The first goal was perfect. First he was defending and getting the ball back, he played a one-two, then he was running, his movement was good… and his finish was great.

“It is an incredible story that he scored the two goals. All the credit is to him. He was waiting a long time for first-team opportunities.

“He showed it last Wednesday and then did it again, because he gave the team the boost we needed at 1-0 down.”

“All the credit is to Oumar. He was really patient and of course the situation last season was different with Romelu Lukaku and the development of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

“That was totally different to what the situation is now.

“After we had difficulties and did not sign a striker I thought, okay, we will bring Oumar to the team and he will get his chance if it is not working with Dominic or Sandro (Ramirez).

“But all the credit to the player. You saw last Wednesday in a short period (against Sunderland in the League Cup) and what he did against Bournemouth.

“A lot of attention is on the two goals but the whole performance and attitude is what we need at a difficult time in the team.

“You see some players are really under pressure from the results but he is totally off that. That is what maybe the team needs at this time.”

In an interview last season, Niasse had claimed that he didn’t even have a locker as he was frozen out of the senior squad, but Koeman denied that was the case, simply saying -

“He did have a locker, there are a lot of stories.”

The Dutchman did not retract his statement the he felt that Niasse was not good enough to play for the the Blues, but attempted to qualify it better -

“I try to be honest and try to be straight and if someone deserves the opportunity he will get it. That is not just for Oumar but all the players.

“I don’t have any problem with Oumar because I spoke with him before the transfer window ended and said 'okay you will get your chance with the first team, work hard and get your chance'.

“That is what he did, his attitude was perfect and in the time we were struggling to score goals it is normal that I try and find the best way to play in front.

“That is the reason I changed to 4-4-2 because we needed someone on the side of Dominic to bring more pressure and have more bodies in the box to score goals.”