Four games. That’s all former Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer was given to prove his worth as a Premier League boss. 360 minutes of top-flight football. The modern game has gone mad.
His Dutch compatriot Ronald Koeman has also struggled to inspire confidence in the early stages of the campaign and Everton fans were rightfully angry after he attempted to put a positive spin on a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, particularly as arch-rivals Liverpool are now clear in the hunt to finish as the best Merseyside club.
A much-needed win against Bournemouth last time out has helped settle the ship but Koeman needs plenty of luck to get Everton back to their brilliant best. Liverpool also showed their quality against Leicester City in their most recent fixture and the Toffees remain four points behind the Reds.
Everton have shipped 11 goals so far this season; only a handful of clubs have conceded more. Some fans have already started to turn on Koeman after the club forked out well over £100 million in the summer transfer window.
However, it may be a little soon to seriously think about sacking Koeman.
Yes, Everton have been poor but their difficult schedule hasn’t helped matters. The Toffees have faced four of the top six from last season and it was always going to take time for so many new signings to gel and settle into the squad.
Writing both Koeman and Everton off just yet would be foolish considering the talent that this side has. Should the Toffees fall short against Burnley and Brighton in the coming weeks, the Everton board will have to start considering a replacement. Over at Anfield, Klopp is also under pressure but, for now, both managers should continue to keep their respective jobs.
Without making too many excuses, the Europa League can be a hindrance and it might be wise for Koeman to give up on the continent’s secondary club competition. Playing on a Thursday night can affect preparation for the weekend, especially as a number of teams involved in the Europa League are based in Eastern Europe.
On their day, this Everton side are capable of going far in the tournament but it shouldn’t come at the expense of their Premier League form. Finishing as close to the top six as possible is the number one objective; the Toffees cannot afford to take a backwards step after showing such potential in the 2016/17 campaign.
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Jose Mourinho’s jibe at Ronald Koeman really got under the Everton manager’s skin and you can understand his frustration. To expect an instant improvement is unrealistic but that is modern football. Nowadays, success is expected when you spend big – and the Toffees will need to progress quickly if Koeman is to keep his job.
At the time of writing, Everton are 25/1 for a top-four finish in the Premier League odds with Betsson. At this moment in time, finishing in the Champions League places this season looks unlikely but Everton do have the talent to challenge in the near future.
Everton are not Crystal Palace and it would be disappointing to see Koeman receive his marching orders less than two months into the new season. The Toffees hierarchy entrusted him with huge sums of money and they have to back him.
It has been a difficult start to the campaign but Everton may be about to shine. Pipping their Merseyside rivals in the Premier League table is the main objective for the Toffees this season as they start their journey to the summit of English football. Don’t write Everton off just yet; Koeman can get the better of Klopp in the long term.