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Everton’s Koeman says some ‘too afraid to play football’ following shock draw

Posted: September 29, 2017 at 1:47 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Everton manager Ronald Koeman said some of his players were “too afraid to play football” following the Toffees’ shock 2-2 draw on Thursday to 10-man Apollon Limassol, the latest disappointment in its Europa League exploits.

Koeman’s side seemed assured of three points as Wayne Rooney and Nikola Vlasic worked to overturn a slow start, pushing the Toffees to a 2-1 lead by the 66th-minute of play. A red card to Valentin Roberge in the 86th minute reduced Apollon to 10 men, but did not dampen the team’s spirits as the Cypriot outfit battled back with an 88th-minute equaliser courtesy of Hector Yuste.

The shock result at Goodison Park puts Ronald Koeman back on the hot seat and forced the Dutch tactician into once again offering an explanation for his players’ poor performances.

“The feeling is a defeat today, not even a draw,” Koeman offered of his team’s performance after the match, as quoted by BBC Sport. “It is really disappointing. We started poorly without any confidence and making a lot of mistakes but we had a good reaction.

“The second half was much better, we controlled the game and had big chances to score a third. It is football and sometimes when you are struggling maybe we are too afraid to play football. That is difficult when your body is not full of confidence.

“I cannot say they are not running or fighting, but they are scared to play forward. A win today makes it different.”

Everton went into the tilt after ending a three-match losing streak in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth and also recording a 3-0 win over Sunderland in the League Cup. A win against Apollon might have served to turn around an equally-surprising 3-0 loss to Italian outfit Atalanta in the Europa League.

Instead, the Toffees now sit dead last in Group E with just one point out of its first two fixtures, and face a double-header against Lyon starting on Oct. 19 and concluding on Nov. 2.




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