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Everton manager Ronald Koeman has called for a reaction in the Europa League following his side’s heavy loss to Tottenham last weekend.
The Tofffee’s were outclassed 3-0 by Spurs at Goodison Park in the Premier League and Koeman has called on his squad to raise the standards and creativity levels against Atalanta Italy on Thursday night, a game which is live on eir Sport 2, with coverage starting at 17:30.
“It is not what we expect from ourselves,” Koeman said. “If you lose the game, you get another opportunity to put it right. So I am confident.”
Koeman also called on his team to show more physicality and aggression than was evident against Spurs.
“We start with a strong team,” Koeman said. “After last weekend we need to react. We lost belief and confidence. We didn't play with the right aggression.”
The Europa League is often derided as lacking importance; however, Koeman disagreed with these sentiments as he outlined how important it was for the club to be playing in Europe.
“I am the manager and I take this competition really seriously,” he said. “To be part of Europe is important. We were out for many years but now we are back. Let's hope the journey takes us a long way.
“But we have to fight for it. You want to be in Europe – the Champions' League - but if not the Europa League is important.”
Everton striker Wayne Rooney won the competition with Manchester United last season, and is included in the squad for the trip to Italy. As is Davy Klaassen, who was in the Ajax squad that lost the final to United last season. Klaassen denied that loss motivated him more to win the trophy this season with Everton.
“I don't need to lose in a final to be hungry,” said Klaassen. “I still feel the pain from last year's final. We want to reach as far as possible. We all start at zero. We have to start with a win, get confidence and space.”
You can watch all of Everton’s Europa League campaign on the eir Sport package. Ronald Koeman's side face Lyon, Atalanta and Apollon Limassol in Group E.
Image: Getty/Stu Forster
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