Football

Koeman calls for control

Everton boss wants Toffees to stay calm in emotional Merseyside Derby

 

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Ronald Koeman has stressed the need for his Everton players to keep their heads as he prepares for his first Merseyside Derby.

The Toffees have not beaten Liverpool since 2010, but go into tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) clash at Goodison Park buoyed by victory over Arsenal in midweek.

Even by the standards of recent matches between the city rivals, the last meeting was one to forget for Everton, who lost 4-0 in April after Ramiro Funes Mori was sent off for a horror tackle on Divock Origi.

Roberto Martinez's tenure as Toffees boss ended three weeks later, with Koeman taking over in the summer.

The Dutchman said: "Of course, it's not a normal match.

"We know about the derby rivalry between Everton and Liverpool, but my position is to prepare the team.

"In these kind of derbies you have an emotional part and that you need to control. It's the most important thing.

"We showed last Tuesday two different faces in the game. Everybody knows which face we like to have from the start in the game and that's what we need.

NO STRANGER TO DERBIES

"The derby is all about the fans and we understand that, but we need to be calm and have all 11 players on the pitch."

Koeman is no stranger to derbies, having played for or managed the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Benfica.

He said: "My favourite was between Barcelona and (Real) Madrid because of that rivalry between Catalonia and Madrid, and it's not only the football side, it's also a little bit the political side involved in that derby (El Clasico).

"That was really special, but I am looking forward to being part of the Merseyside Derby. Everybody told me it's a derby that everybody likes."

Ashley Williams' winning header against Arsenal on Tuesday came five minutes from full-time and was the third time in five matches that a late goal had earned them points after draws with Swansea and Manchester United.

Koeman knows they must try to address slow starts in games, but said: "The positive side is that we keep our belief, our spirit until the end of the game to get a better result. That's part of the character of the players.

"Of course we'd like to start better. Last Tuesday, it was more about nerves, no confidence in the game.

"We made it difficult at the start, but we had a great reaction and that's how we need to play, at least at home.

"It's difficult to play always like that because it's also about opponents, but that spirit in the team is so important."- WIRE SERVICES

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