Football Expert & Columnist
Ronald Koeman talks Romelu Lukaku, tactics and longevity with Jamie Carragher
Last Updated: 30/09/16 8:34am
Everton manager Ronald Koeman opens up about life at Goodison Park with Sky Sports Jamie Carragher ahead of Friday Night Football.
Koeman, who arrived from Southampton in the summer, sees his side host Crystal Palace, live on Sky Sports, with Everton sitting fifth in the Premier League.
The Dutchman takes Carragher through his view on the current Everton squad, the transfer market, his philosophy, and the all-important pressing game…
On his philosophy…
The owners gave me some information about the club, and what they mentioned was the passion of the fans, and that's one of the reasons we like to press at home because they don't like a team waiting.
Sometimes of course I need to play football from the back, but sometimes direct play can be more dangerous.
I know the people, and what they like is the fight, to be pressing, and that was one of the targets to change in this team.
If you play direct, it's because you have a No 9 who can hold the ball, keep the ball, and midfield players can support. The work rate of attacking players needs to improve.
That's difficult because maybe the last few years they didn't do that type of pressing, and you need time for that. The best example, if you watch Liverpool now and Liverpool last season, there's a difference in pressing, and you need players for that.
Sometimes we are struggling because we have some technical players, but to have that type of pressing you need to learn that, and it takes time.
On Romelu Lukaku…
He's not far away, he's one of the best strikers in the Premier League, but sometimes you forget the boy is only 23 years old. With more experience, more games, more international games, the boy will improve.
I had a good discussion with him last weekend. I said he takes a risk at the wrong position, like taking a risk in front of the right centre-back and not in the middle of the two centre-backs.
There are little details in his game he needs to improve, and for sure in two years he will be a better player. I can't change his quality in front of the goal, but I can change the rest of the aspects in football, to do good pressing.
On pressing from the front…
You know, the first quality of pressing is by the front players. If they fail in pressing, they give more problems to the midfield players and finally the worse problem for the defenders. [Lukaku] needs to realise that he is the first to do that pressing, and that's different to what he used to do in the last two seasons.
Every day [we work on pressing], to organise exercises, but of course it's really tough for players, and more tough for strikers, because they are not used to do doing this.
I remember 15 years ago the striker would say: 'Oh I had to run too far back, and lost fitness for the attacking side!'
But now in football, everybody needs to defend, and it starts in front. If you see the two big examples for this season, it's City and Liverpool. If you see how they run, how they react, when they lose the ball.
And it's a big quality. It was one of the biggest qualities of Barcelona, when Pep Guardiola was the manager.
That is what I try to do with Everton, but it takes time, it takes time.
I gave myself time to analyse the squad in the pre-season, and that's one reason why we did the business late. The business is difficult because of the money, the salary of players, but finally I think we did some good business, except the last day with the situation of Moussa Sissoko.
Overall, we did a good job, and we brought players in that we need, like Yannick Bolasie, Idrissa Gueye, Ashley Williams, players that gave the team a lot of energy.
You can't change everything in one transfer window, you need more time and to also give opportunities to young players, and to make up your mind about the squad and what you need.
We needed energy in the team, and it's possible in the window in January we will do some business, and maybe next year as well, and then maybe we have the team as we like.
On longevity at Everton…
As a manager - except from the Wenger situation, Ferguson before - normally it's difficult to stay a long time in a club.
I signed for three years, and I'd like to stay for three years, and then after who knows, you never know in football, it changes every day and it's difficult to talk about the long term, it's do your job now and see what happens in the future.
It was a really nice challenge for me. Everton is a big club, big history, great fans, and you cannot accept the last positions in the table the last few seasons.
I believe we can bring Everton back to fight for European football, and maybe in the future into the Champions League.
On reaching 100 games in England…
Fantastic, really I've enjoyed it very much. I'm part of a big club and the best competition in Europe.
It's unpredictable, every game is a fight, a lot of intensity, the best players and the best coaches in the Premier League.
100 games is nice, it's a lot, but not enough.