Football

Koeman hails 'world-class' Lukaku

Everton manager Ronald Koeman hailed the "world-class" finishing of Romelu Lukaku after the Belgium international's four-goal display in the 6-3 win over Bournemouth yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Toffees had a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead thanks to two goals from Lukaku and James McCarthy's first of the season.

But two goals from Josh King put the result in some doubt until Lukaku doubled his tally and Harry Arter and Ross Barkley traded goals in a manic end to the game.

"He is world-class striker," said Koeman of Lukaku, who is now just one behind Duncan Ferguson (60) in the club's all-time Premier League top scorers.

"He is improving. The big quality he shows every day in training is not so difficult but being that clinical in finishing how he was today shows he is one of the best.

"I have the pleasure every day to be on the pitch and watch his finishing.

"He has a world-class quality in scoring goals and that is really important because to win the game today we needed to score at least four goals."

Lukaku, whose opening goal has been adjusted down to 30 seconds to equal the fastest of the season scored by Chelsea's Pedro against Manchester United in October, became the highest-scoring Belgian in the history of Europe's top five leagues by taking his tally to 76.

CLOSING THE GAP

Everton have taken 17 points from a possible 21 to close the gap on the top four.

But Koeman also admitted that they must find a way to iron out their lapses in concentration if they are to make the next step.

The Toffees' performance dipped after the break to give Bournemouth a chance they did not really deserve on their first-half performance.

He said: "It is a strange result after half-time but I think we dropped our intensity a little bit but also big compliment to Bournemouth who played good football in the second half and made it really difficult."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was unhappy with how poor they were defensively and admitted their form is a concern as they slipped to within six points of the relegation zone.

"There is a very fine line between success and failure and we are on the wrong side of it at the moment," he said. - PA SPORT

Romelu LukakuRonald Koemaneverton