Everton Boss Calls on Stars to Improve Despite Satisfaction at Europa League Progression
Ronald Koeman admitted his satisfaction at seeing Everton progress to the Europa League play-off stage - but warned his stars they must improve ahead of their Premier League opener.
The Dutchman watched on as the Toffees toiled to a 1-0 win over Slovakian minnows MFK Ruzomberok in the second leg of their third round qualifier on Thursday evening.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin's late strike ensured the Blues secured their place in the next phase of the competition with a 2-0 aggregate victory but, speaking to the club's website after the game, Koeman insisted his side neded to raise their levels ahead of their opening league game against Stoke in just over a week's time.
He said: “I think we were better defensively tonight than we were last week, but we know that we can and need to improve in our ball possession. We had a lot of space for one of the two centre-backs in the first half and we need to dribble in and create more than we did.
"It was a really physical game and 90 minutes that the players need in pre-season. We are through to the next round, the job is done and I'm really happy.
"The Europa League has always been important for me. I like to be in Europe - it's important for our experience.
"It's good for the club, the players and the fans. It's not easy to reach the group stages but we will do everything to get there.”
Koeman also reiterated his desire to add more firepower up front as his charges failed to make the most of their possession at the Stadion pod Cebraťom.
Clear cut chances were few and far between against the hosts, and Koeman stated that he wanted two more new faces - believed to be Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud - before the transfer deadline in a month's time.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “We need two more front players because if you count the players and count the numbers, we lost somebody and we brought somebody in. We like more competition and that explanation is not so difficult.”