LIVERPOOL, Oct 2 — Everton manager Ronald Koeman was set for an uncomfortable international break after Jeff Hendrick’s goal gave visitors Burnley a 1-0 win in the Premier League at Goodison Park yesterday.
Defeat left the big-spending Toffees, who have won just twice in seven league matches so far this season, a mere two points above the relegation zone.
The Dutch great’s side came into this match on the back of a disappointing 2-2 Europa League draw at home to Cypriot club Apollon Limassol on Thursday.
That result halted something of a mini-revival after Everton had won back-to-back matches against Sunderland in the League Cup and Bournemouth in the Premier League after losing four in a row in a six-game winless streak.
Prior to yesterday’s match, Koeman said: “It’s not time to find any more excuses, because that’s not counting for you. With a win, everyone will be happy and maybe ‘Everton are back’, that will be the newspaper on Monday.
“If we don’t win, the newspaper will be totally different. But that’s football and I accept that way of thinking.”
But after the match, Koeman told Sky Sports: “I’m not unhappy what I saw from the team, they showed today how we had to play.
“If you play against a team who are defending so strong you need to be at your best. We didn’t have that creativity.”
Everton striker Wayne Rooney thought he should have had a penalty late on when his flick-on from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross bounced on to Matthew Lowton’s arm and Koeman said: “You know, sometimes you get the help of a referee.
“I don’t say it was a penalty because it wasn’t his intention to touch the ball — but on other occasions I’ve seen a penalty given.
“Of course, we can play better on the ball, this situation is really disappointing. But we’ll continue because what I saw today is how to come out of this difficult situation.”
Hendrick crowned a brilliant team move to score the only goal of the game in the 21st minute.
There were 23 passes involved in a move that started with a crossfield ball from Robbie Brady to Stephen Ward.
His cross in turn was headed down by Chris Wood, Scott Arfield was then involved before the ball came back to Ward, who cut the ball back to Hendrick and he sidestepped a challenge from Morgan Schneiderlin before finishing from 15 yards.
“I’m very pleased,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche, after a win that ensured his side stayed firmly in the top half of the Premier League table.
“I know there’s a bit of noise round here about how they’re playing but there are still some very good players (in the Everton squad).
“We had a soft start for 10-15 minutes, then scored a fantastic goal.
“I’ve spoken about the flexibility of the side. We can play when we need to, and be longer and stronger when we have to — but we can defend too.” — AFP