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The Guardian - page 67

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Ronald Koeman insists it is ‘crazy’ to consider Everton title contenders

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• ‘We can’t do a Leicester’ says manager after good start to season
• Koeman confirms Everton want to extend Romelu Lukaku’s contract

Ronald Koeman has said it would be “crazy” to consider Everton contenders for the Premier League title, despite their impressive start to the season.

Everton are second in the table having taken 13 points from a possible 15 and maintained their unbeaten run under the Dutch coach with Saturday’s 3-1 win against Middlesbrough. Koeman, who will be without Romelu Lukaku for Tuesday’s EFL Cup tie against Norwich City, has set European qualification as the target for his first season in charge at Goodison Park, and he insists it is unrealistic to expect Everton to follow the example of Leicester City and deliver a surprising title challenge this term.

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Ross Barkley issues a perfect response to criticism to inspire Everton

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Young midfielder’s refusal to hide against Middlesbrough after a public dressing down by Ronald Koeman proves that he is a fast-maturing talent

The spotlight was on Gareth Barry on his 600th Premier League appearance, the expectation on Idrissa Gueye after an exceptional start to his Everton career and the pressure all on Ross Barkley following a very public dressing down before Middlesbrough arrived at Goodison Park. It demonstrated the latter’s refusal to hide, and lack of ego, that the entire heart of Everton’s midfield functioned as Ronald Koeman demanded.

If a half-time substitution at Sunderland last Monday and repeated calls for improvement were Koeman’s way of testing Barkley’s mentality as well as ability, then his satisfaction with the 22-year-old’s reaction was justified. In the closeted, precious world of the Premier League it can be dangerous for any manager to issue public warnings and criticism of their biggest talents. Koeman, like Everton managers before him, had no such concerns with Barkley. “What is testing?” he asked following the 3-1 victory that left his team second in the table. “Yes, maybe Ross was under pressure but if you don’t handle the pressure you can’t play in the Premier League.”

Related: Everton see off Middlesbrough as Barry scores on 600th Premier League game

Related: Ross Barkley must raise his game, warns Everton manager Ronald Koeman

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Everton see off Middlesbrough as Barry scores on 600th Premier League game

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Everton have not always responded well to adversity but there is a new steel running through the side under Ronald Koeman. They went behind to the most dubious of away goals midway through the first half but simply brushed the injustice aside, recovered within minutes and went on to claim a handsome victory. Everton now sit second in the table and have scored six goals in their last two games, though it must be said Middlesbrough, like Sunderland earlier in the week, do not possess the most resolute of defences.

Gareth Barry enjoyed an eventful evening as he made his 600th Premier League appearance, only the third player to record such a milestone after Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard.

Related: Manchester City and Kevin De Bruyne roll on with Bournemouth thumping

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Everton 3-1 Middlesbrough: Premier League – as it happened

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Everton respond impressively to Maarten Stekelenburg’s own goal to beat Middlesbrough, with Gareth Barry scoring on his 600th Premier League appearance

Everton go back to second in the table, having taken 13 points from their first five games. It’s their best start since 1978-79. They respond impressively to Maarten Stekelenburg’s own goal and were comfortable winners, with Gareth Barry scoring on his 600th Premier League appearance. Thanks for your company; night.

90+1 min A nice touch from Ronald Koeman, who substitutes Gareth Barry so that he can get an ovation from the crowd. Tom Cleverley replaces him.

90 min There will be two minutes of added formality.

88 min Everton play a bit of keep-ball to amuse themselves. They look a good side, and so much more solid than last season.

86 min “I want 3000 words by Monday on Everton and Liverpool being top dogs in the league once more, just like back in the day before wireless meant anything other than a radio,” writes my owner Ian Copestake.

84 min Middlesbrough make their final substitution, with Adam Clayton replacing Forshaw.

82 min Fischer’s fierce shot from 20 yards is blocked by the stretching Coleman. I think it would have otherwise inconvenienced Stekelenburg.

80 min De Roon’s high cross is punched away under pressure by Stekelenburg, and Downing’s follow-up shot hits a defender.

79 min Idrissa Gueye has had another excellent game for Everton.

77 min Bolasie mavericks past Barragan but then runs into a second defender.

76 min Boro don’t look like getting a corner, never mind scoring. I think they’ll stay up, but if they do it won’t be because of their attack.

74 min “Agree 100% with the mooted Incorrigible Mavericks rule,” says David Hopkins. “All the better if their skills have little practical application. I’m thinking of Ted McMinn dribbling past some hapless fullback, stopping, then doing it once more for a laugh.”

72 min Gerard Deulofeu replaces Kevin Mirallas for Everton.

70 min Both sides have accepted the result, and the match is drifting along increasingly aimlessly.

69 min Another Boro substitution: Viktor Fischer, the former boy wonder, replaces Gaston Ramirez.

66 min Enner Valencia comes on for his Everton debut, replacing the injured Lukaku. It looks like a precautionary substitution rather than anything more serious, although Lukaku has gone straight down the tunnel.

63 min Barkley almost frees Lukaku in the box; eventually the ball pinballs through the keeper Valdes. When Barkley plays like this, with such penetrative simplicity, you can see why so many managers get excited about him.

62 min “I’m not actually watching the game, but glad to see Bolasie involved,” says Matt Dony. “He is possibly the most entertaining player in world football. I mean, he’s obviously not in that ‘top, top player’ bracket, but the sheer unpredictability is worth the entrance fee. In that respect, he reminds me of Luis Garcia in his 2006/7 pomp. The best player in history for 10 minutes of any given match, an absolute liability for the other 80.”

Quite. There should be a quota system whereby every team has to include one incorrigible maverick in their XI. If we can clone Adel Taarabt, so much the better.

59 min Middlesbrough bring on David Nugent for Emilio Nsue.

56 min Everton are in total control of the game now, and Barkley draws a good save from Valdes with a stinging low drive. Barkley has been excellent today, possibly the best player on the pitch.

54 min Mirallas’s golden five minutes continues with a dreadful piece of control in the box after fine play from Barkley.

51 min Baines makes a virtue of a dismal pass from Mirallas, winning a corner as a result. It’s headed away by Friend.

50 min Middlesbrough, tactically speaking, weren’t really built with 3-1 deficits in mind. They are a neat, tidy side but they don’t create that many chances. This should be a comfortable second half for Everton.

49 min It looks like the third goal has been given to Lukaku. I’m not sure he touched it, mind.

46 min Peep peep! Everton begin the second half, and as things stand this will be their best start to a season since 1978-79.

Half-time reading aka ‘I think it was me who said…’

Related: Ronaldo at 40: Il Fenomeno’s legacy as greatest ever No9, despite dodgy knees | Rob Smyth

After a slow start, that was an enjoyable half of football. The worst thing Middlesbrough did was take the lead, because it woke Everton and the crowd up. See you soon for the second half.

45+2 min Gareth Barry is booked for a foul on Ramirez.

Bolasie’s inswinging cross from the right drifts past everyone and into the net. Lukaku claimed it but I don’t think he got a touch. Valdes appealed that Lukaku was offside but replays showed he was fine.

Seamus Coleman gives Everton the lead with a fine solo goal. He received Gueye’s pass just outside the area on the right, burst past a couple of defenders and finished calmly into the bottom corner with his left foot.

40 min Barrajan loafs forward promisingly, only to get giddy and hoof one miles over the bar from 25 yards.

36 min Barkley beats Ayala with a beautiful flicked nutmeg, a bit like Robbie Fowler on Steve Staunton when he scored that famous goal against Aston Villa in 1996, and then runs into the box before hitting a shot that is well blocked by a combination of Gibson and the recovering Ayala. When the ball went dead Ayala was booked for attempting to pull Barkley back after he had been turned.

34 min “You’re right about the Middlesbrough goal looking like Andy Gray’s goal at Wembley in 1984,” says Gary Naylor. “If we’re playing the same rules as 32 years ago, I look forward to plenty of tackles from behind, a few professional fouls and a shinpad-splitting challenge or two. No cards though. And a title for us next year.”

32 min A fine effort from Bolaise, who thumps a 15-yard header onto the roof of the net from Baines’s hanging cross.

28 min Barkley ruins an excellent run by blazing over the bar when Lukaku was in a better position.

26 min “Pretty sure Andy Gray never played in a World Cup final,” says Richie Segal, making a very fair point. What the hell was I thinking there?

25 min Middlesbrough might also be aggrieved with the goal against them, because Williams challenged Valdes with his studs showing. Howard Webb says it was a probably a free-kick, and he’ll be thrilled to know I agree with him.

Gareth Barry equalises for Everton. On today of all days. A corner from the left rebounded across the box, and Barry half-volleyed it calmly into the top of the net. That’s an excellent finish actually, and a rare goal to mark his 600th Premier League appearance.

23 min The BT commentators – Steve McManaman, Glenn Hoddle and Howard Webb – all think it was a fair goal. I’m not so sure. Stekelenburg was a bit weak but I’m not sure Negredo didn’t foul him.

Everton are not happy with this, and there are echoes of Andy Gray’s goal in the 1984 World Cup final. Downing hung up a deep cross towards the far post, where Stekelenburg was in the process of catching it when Negredo powered through and headed the ball into the net. Actually, I think it’s an own goal because Negredo seemed to knock Stekelenburg’s arm, which knocked the ball out of his hands and into the net.

20 min Mirallas comes inside from the left and drills a low shot that is comfortably held by Valdes. Everton have stirred after a sluggish start.

19 min A good effort from Barkley, who moves away from Forshaw and hits a wobbling left-footed shot from 25 yards that is beaten away by Valdes.

17 min It would be silly to jump to conclusions after four and a bit games, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do: Boro won’t go down this season. They look a really good, organised side.

15 min Barry, on his 600th Premier League appearance, is robbed in a dangerous area but Ramirez. He moves straight for goal but Coleman makes a good tackle on the edge of the area.

13 min Everton win their first corner, to be taken by Mirallas on the right. Jagielka mistimes his jump at the near post and shoulders it over the bar.

12 min Here’s Hubert O’Hearn. “Koeman’s knack of almost instantly shaping a club into an attractive and downright scary side, no matter what players he loses, reminds me of a wonderful line about Jack Nicklaus and his clubs (golf variety): ‘He can play with his and beat you, or he can take yours and still beat you.’”

10 min There’s not a huge amount happening right now.

6 min The overlapping Friend is fouled by Coleman on the left wing. Actually, it looks quite a soft free-kick on second glance. Ramirez curls the free-kick towards the near post, where Downing flicks a header across the face of goal and wide. Ayala almost got to it at the far post.

5 min It’s been a confident start from Boro in what sounds like a very muted atmosphere, though that might just be that somebody has pressed the wrong button in the BT bunker.

1 min Peep peep! Middlesbrough, in red, kick off from left to right. Everton are in blue.

“Reid’s cross – GRAY!”

If you’re an Everton fan, with a fondness for the years 1984 and 1985, this book is definitely for you. It’s published by deCoubertin, who have a cracking collection of Everton books in particular.

Everton (4-2-3-1) Stekelenburg; Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Barry; Mirallas, Barkley, Bolasie; Lukaku.
Substitutes: Joel, Deulofeu, Lennon, Cleverley, Valencia, Funes Mori, Holgate.

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1) Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw; Nsue, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo.
Substitutes: Guzan, Espinosa, Clayton, Fischer, Chambers, Nugent, Traore.

Kevin de Bruyne is Pep’s Michael Laudrup, discuss

Related: Hull City v Arsenal, Manchester City v Bournemouth and more: football clockwatch – live!

Hello. Sometimes, a player’s weakness becomes his strength as a manager: think of George Graham and Glenn Hoddle, swaggering midfielders and magnificent defensive coaches, or hard-faced centre-back Tony Mowbray preaching tiki-taka in the Midlands.

Ronald Koeman and Aitor Karanka, whose Everton and Middlesbrough sides meet at Goodison Park today, took their playing strengths with them when they went into management: both were defenders (well, nominally in Koeman’s case) and both know exactly what to do with a bank of four.

Rob will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a read of Andy Hunter on how Ronald Koeman feels the noise more than Martínez and Moyes after his strong start at Everton?

Related: Ronald Koeman’s revolution restores discipline and high standards to Everton

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Everton v Middlesbrough: Premier League – live!

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“Reid’s cross – GRAY!”

If you’re an Everton fan, with a fondness for the years 1984 and 1985, this book is definitely for you. It’s published by deCoubertin, who have a cracking collection of Everton books in particular.

Everton (4-2-3-1) Stekelenburg; Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Gueye, Barry; Mirallas, Barkley, Bolasie; Lukaku.
Substitutes: Joel, Deulofeu, Lennon, Cleverley, Valencia, Funes Mori, Holgate.

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1) Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw; Nsue, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo.
Substitutes: Guzan, Espinosa, Clayton, Fischer, Chambers, Nugent, Traore.

Kevin de Bruyne is Pep’s Michael Laudrup, discuss

Related: Hull City v Arsenal, Manchester City v Bournemouth and more: football clockwatch – live!

Hello. Sometimes, a player’s weakness becomes his strength as a manager: think of George Graham and Glenn Hoddle, swaggering midfielders and magnificent defensive coaches, or hard-faced centre-back Tony Mowbray preaching tiki-taka in the Midlands.

Ronald Koeman and Aitor Karanka, whose Everton and Middlesbrough sides meet at Goodison Park today, took their playing strengths with them when they went into management: both were defenders (well, nominally in Koeman’s case) and both know exactly what to do with a bank of four.

Rob will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a read of Andy Hunter on how Ronald Koeman feels the noise more than Martínez and Moyes after his strong start at Everton?

Related: Ronald Koeman’s revolution restores discipline and high standards to Everton

Continue reading…

Ronald Koeman’s revolution restores discipline and high standards to Everton

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The club were drifting under Roberto Martínez but Koeman has arrested the slump and Gareth Barry is among those who believe confidence has returned

Finch Farm, Thursday morning, and Everton players are putting another intense training session behind them with a game of head tennis. The mood is as lighthearted as the contest until Ronald Koeman interrupts. “One team was losing quite heavily and he wanted to know why,” Gareth Barry discloses. “He doesn’t want anyone losing their focus and with good reason. One team shouldn’t be getting beat so heavily at anything within the club, whether it’s head tennis, five-a-side or on a Saturday.”

Head tennis might not be as much fun as it used to be but Koeman has found a receptive audience since replacing Roberto Martínez in June. Five games into his tenure and the focus on not getting beaten – marginally or heavily – holds firm. Everton are unbeaten in the Premier League before Middlesbrough’s visit on Saturday, in the top four of the table following the Jekyll and Hyde performance at Sunderland on Monday and have delivered their best start to a season for a decade. As Thursday’s intervention at Finch Farm indicates, attitude and discipline are as much a part of the improvement as defensive organisation and the summer’s transfer business.

Related: Ross Barkley must raise his game, warns Everton manager Ronald Koeman

Related: Romelu Lukaku scores 11-minute hat-trick in Everton win at Sunderland

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Everton v Middlesbrough: match preview

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Middlesbrough have made a solid return to the top flight but their hosts will be full of confidence having made their best start to a campaign for a decade. Gareth Barry will join Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard in the Premier League’s 600-club, 18 years after his debut for Aston Villa at Sheffield Wednesday, but whether Ross Barkley will join the immaculate veteran in midfield remains to be seen. Ronald Koeman has not shied from the big calls on the England international, on the pitch or in public, and has Romelu Lukaku back among the goals after his hat-trick at Sunderland. Andy Hunter

Kick-off Saturday 5.30pm

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Koeman: Everton can challenge for a place in Europe – video

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Manager Ronald Koeman says Everton should be challenging for a place in Europe in the Premier League. Speaking on Thursday in Liverpool, Koeman plays down expectations of Champions League football at Goodison Park but says Everton should challenge for Europa League places. The Merseyside club is third in the league and are undefeated after four games of the season

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Moussa Sissoko has no regrets as he eyes the big time at Tottenham

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France midfielder says the Champions League was a key factor in his decision to leave Newcastle, spurn Everton and instead join Spurs for £30m

Had things worked out differently, Moussa Sissoko would be preparing to face Middlesbrough on Saturday in the colours of Everton. Instead, the France midfielder has just made his Champions League debut for Tottenham Hotspur against Monaco and he will play for them against Sunderland at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

There is the possibility that he could bring a bit of cheer to the supporters of his former club Newcastle United if he scored against their north-east rivals but, in truth, Sissoko has come to be seen as a villain in their eyes. Not only did he go missing during their relegation season from the Premier League last time out, he made it plain that he wanted to leave St James’s Park.

Related: Tottenham gazump Everton and land Moussa Sissoko for £30m

Related: Dele Alli: no one at Tottenham is taking their position for granted

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Ross Barkley must raise his game, warns Everton manager Ronald Koeman

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• Player’s substitution at Sunderland follows England omission
• Coach issues statement after having face-to-face discussions

Ronald Koeman has told Ross Barkley he needs to raise his game “in all aspects” after withdrawing the Everton midfielder after 45 minutes against Sunderland.

Related: Koeman’s priority as Everton manager is simple – get the best out of Barkley | Paul Wilson

Related: Romelu Lukaku scores 11-minute hat-trick in Everton win at Sunderland

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Everton donate £200,000 to aid five-year-old Sunderland fan’s cancer battle

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  • Club make gesture after Monday’s 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light
  • Bradley Lowery needs £700,000 to travel to US for life-saving treatment

A five-year-old Sunderland fan’s fight against cancer has been boosted after Everton donated £200,000 to his cause, following Monday night’s victory over Sunderland.

Bradley Lowery’s family’s hope of raising £700,000 to fund potentially life-saving treatment in the US took a step closer to being realised, after fans from across the league followed the club’s lead and pledged donations. By mid morning on Tuesday donations on the fund’s JustGiving page had reached more than £513,000 with one Evertonian writing: “Good luck little man. Looking forward to seeing you at Goodison Park.”

Related: Romelu Lukaku scores 11-minute hat-trick in Everton win at Sunderland

More on our donation to @Bradleysfight. Donate here: https://t.co/fxR5tYwG5L pic.twitter.com/aaj493AT4l

Great from our Chairman!

@Everton very proud after last nights magnificent gesture to help #BradleysFight

@Everton feeling good, few quid lighter in the pocket like a lot of other fans after that amazing gesture last night. #inspiring

Wow everything still seems so surreal. Thank you to everyone that has raised funds and please keep going #onlyonebradleylowery

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Everton pledge £200,000 to Sunderland mascot’s cancer fund – video report

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Everton has pledged to donate £200,000 to a five-year-old Sunderland fan’s battle against cancer following the Premier League game with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Monday. Lowery, a five-year-old Sunderland fan, was mascot for the Everton fixture and is aiming to raise £700,000 for treatment in the US. Both Sunderland and Everton fans chanted Lowery’s name in the fifth minute of the game between the two sides

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