Football

Koeman's head on the chopping block

Everton boss has backing from majority shareholder Moshiri but fans turning against him

Everton manager Ronald Koeman still has the "total support" of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri despite the club's dismal start to the season.

The big-spending Toffees have won just twice in the league and their tally of seven points from seven matches leaves them in 16th place, only two points clear of the drop zone.

The club are also struggling in the Europa League, after a 3-0 defeat by Atalanta and a 2-2 home draw against Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.

Moshiri thinks the supporters deserve better, but believes a tough run of fixtures and injury problems are factors behind Everton's poor run.

Describing Sunday's 1-0 home loss to Burnley as the only "unexpected" loss of the campaign, Moshiri told talkSPORT radio: "We're in a bad moment - but we have played three of the four title contenders away.

"(Burnley) was the only unexpected loss. The four pre-qualifying Uefa games and two group games on Thursdays haven't helped. There is mental fatigue and seven injuries.

"These are early days and Koeman has my total support.

"We have great fans - they deserve better. We know the honest and objective expectations of our supporters and will not let them down."

Koeman, who had a spell as manager of Southampton before moving to Merseyside, also shrugged off questions about his future after the Burnley game.

Said the 54-year-old: "I have experience and I know if you win your life on a daily basis, it is different from if you lose.

"It is not nice to get two weeks of an international break if you lose.

"We will continue and I will try to do my best for the job.

"All the stuff and the questions are not in my hands."

After a close-season in which the club invested almost £140 million (S$253m) and brought back Wayne Rooney to his boyhood team from Manchester United, more was expected of Koeman and the players.

The boos ringing out across Goodison Park on Sunday reflected the mood in the Everton camp, but Koeman believes that the attitude of his players could not be questioned.

He said: "I can't complain from my players today. They did everything. There are situations in our ball possession that maybe we can create more but it is not so easy against Burnley.

"They are a defensive-minded team but well-organised, physical. You need to be lucky in second balls, maybe everything. The commitment and spirit of the players were really positive."

But while Koeman continued to look at the bright side, former Blackburn Rovers striker Chris Sutton feels that the Dutchman is a dead man walking and will struggle to last beyond the current international break.

Sutton wrote in his Daily Mail column: "He has had his feet under the table since the start of last season and has had money to spend.

"When you pay out close to £150 million, you do not get the luxury of time.

"With expectations so high, Koeman needed players to hit the ground running.

"Instead, in their last 10 games Everton have won just twice - a streaky win over Bournemouth and a victory over Sunderland in the League Cup.

"They have lost four of their seven Premier League games and it is the manner of the defeats which is most concerning."

Former Everton skipper Alan Stubbs, however, placed the blame squarely on the senior players.

Accusing them of "hiding", he said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast yesterday: "The young players will be looking for guidance from the senior players to help them, especially in a situation like this.

"And I have got to say from the last few performances, quite a few of the senior players really need to stand up and have a good look at themselves because they are not doing it.

"They look like they are hiding more than the younger players, which is a real worry." 
- WIRE SERVICES

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