Koeman hails Everton for Man U draw

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Liverpool, Dec 5 (IANS) Everton Manager Ronald Koeman has praised his team for their performance after they held former champions Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in an English Premier League (EPL) match at the Goodison Park Stadium here.

United took the lead a couple of minutes before half-time on Sunday evening when star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic lobbed the ball over on-rushing Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

The hosts however, managed to rescue a point right at the end when they were awarded a penalty for Marouane Fellaini’s clumsy challenge on Idrissa Gueye. Leighton Baines stepped up to fire home the penalty and earn a draw for Everton.

Koeman hailed the Everton players for their direct style of play which he felt made things difficult for the visitors.

“I am happy about that because we had a good start in the game and we made it difficult for them. It starts with the strikers and that is what we need. They can make it much more comfortable for the midfielders, for the defenders. That was much more positive today,” Koeman was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.

The draw meant Everton maintained their unbeaten run at home and held on to the eighth spot on the EPL table with 20 points from 14 matches.

But their overall performance has been far from perfect as they have managed to win just one of their last nine matches.

Ronald Koeman hailed the back to basics approach that earned Everton a battling point with Manchester United.

Koeman admitted that his team have struggled in the opening stages of most of their matches this season but was quick to point out that Sunday’s performance was much better.

“I am happy about that because we had a good start in the game and we made it difficult for them. It starts with the strikers and that is what we need. They can make it much more comfortable for the midfielders, for the defenders. That was much more positive today.

“We can play better but it is a difficult situation at the moment,” the former Holland defender said.

“But we needed to improve and that was much better today than last week. We played really very compact and it was difficult for the opponent to create any big chances.

“It starts by making it difficult for your opponent when they have the ball. That was the big difference from last week,” he added.

–IANS

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