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Everton are exceeding expectations – Koeman

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Sep 2016

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Ronald Koeman has claimed his Everton side has made a better start to the season than most people expected – despite losing to Bournemouth in their last game.

Everton have won four of their first six games of the season and will aim to return to winning ways when they entertain Crystal Palace at Goodison Park, following a 1-0 defeat at the Vitality Stadium that followed a shock EFL Cup exit to Norwich City.

And Koeman has called on his players to bounce back by bringing Palace’s own three-game Premier League winning streak to an end.

Comparing the Palace game to the Bournemouth defeat, Koeman said: “Tomorrow is a different game at home against an opponent with a different style of play.

“We like to see a reaction, but you’re talking about one defeat from six games in the Premier League. That’s not bad.

“If we get a very good result tomorrow everybody will be very happy about the first seven results.

“If we win tomorrow night we will be second in the table – it’s more than everybody expects.”

Koeman confirmed that Leighton Baines will not feature against Palace due to his ongoing hamstring problem, and expressed his disappointment that James McCarthy has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad despite having yet to complete his comeback from groin surgery.

He said:  “James is close, and normally he would start to train with the team next week, but the national team matches are coming up and they called James up after six weeks of not playing.

“The FIFA rule means you have to accept that. I hope they will protect the player.”

The game against Crystal Palace will see Yannick Bolasie face his former club for the first time since he left Selhurst Park, and Koeman wants more of the same from the Congolese midfielder.

“Yannick is good, like always,” said Koeman. “Very committed to his teammates, working hard. Of course for Yannick it’s a special game playing against his old team, but the advice I gave to him was ‘do your job – don’t do things differently to what you do usually’.

“We knew what kind of player he is and that’s why we signed him. He’s a physically strong player who can play different positions up front. He’s a type of player who creates a lot of problems for opponents with his pace and physicality and that’s what we need in the team.”

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