Ronald Koeman to ask Everton’s senior players to step up amid tough run

A “worried” Ronald Koeman will hold a meeting with Everton’s squad on where he will urge experienced players such as Wayne Rooney to drag them out of their rut.

The Toffees have lost three games in a row, the most recent of which was Thursday’s 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in the Europa League when Koeman publicly put the onus on himself. However, the Dutchman acknowledged his comments to the media may not be the ones he relays to his players behind closed doors.

And Koeman has said he is looking for the senior members of his squad, like Rooney, captain Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams, to turn their fortunes around.

“After that result, of course you have thoughts about the team, individual performances and what we need to change,” Koeman revealed. “I don’t like to go out and tell the media what I tell the players.

“After this press conference I will have a meeting with most of the players and the key players. You can always complain about young talents of 18, 19 years old but I think it’s the time for the experienced players to stand up.

“I’m worried with what I saw on Thursday. I wasn’t so worried after Chelsea, it started with the reaction in the second half against Tottenham – that 45 minutes and the first 45 minutes on Thursday, I think there are enough reasons to be worried.”

A trip to Manchester United on Sunday is next on the agenda for Koeman’s side and that means a first return to Old Trafford for Rooney since he came back to Goodison Park in the summer. The 31-year-old, United’s all-time record scorer, is one of those Koeman is looking for to get them back on track.

“Everybody knows about his qualities, what he did for Manchester United,” he added. “(But) he’s an Everton player, he’s one of the players who needs to react and to bring the level that we expect from players like Wayne.”

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding Goodison Park, Koeman is confident the tide will turn. It was almost at this point of last season when Everton embarked on a run of just one win in 11 games while Koeman experienced a similarly lean spell with Southampton the season before.

“I have the experience – we had a bad run last season, I had a bad run with Southampton, we came out of those,” he stressed. I have to believe I have the confidence that we can come out of this.

“We knew at the start of the season we had the Europa League and Thursday night away games, then we played Chelsea and Manchester United on the Sundays, we knew.

“But Thursday was really a wake-up call.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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