Monday, September 25, 2017

Klaassen´s Everton hunger not driven by last season´s Europa League heartbreak

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 13 Sep 2017

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Davy Klaassen insists he does not need to use the disappointment of losing last season’s Europa League final to Manchester United to be hungry for European success with Everton.

Ronald Koeman’s side begin their Europa League campaign against Atalanta on Thursday, with the remaining spots in Group E taken up by Lyon and Apollon Limassol.

And Klaassen, who captained Ajax to the final last term before joining the Toffees in June, believes Everton have all the tools to go far in this season’s competition.

“I didn’t need to lose in the final [last season] to be hungry to win at Everton – you always have to be hungry,” the Netherlands international said at a news conference.

“It’s important to start the group stage with a win because that gives you confidence and some space.

“English football is a different way of playing. That’s what I wanted. It’s something bigger and I’m enjoying it.

“Of course, our last result [a 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham] wasn’t what we wanted but we are ready for tomorrow and I’m confident.

“We had a difficult start at Ajax last year but we picked it up and I’m confident we will do the same here. We have a really good squad and we can have a good season.

“I like the club, I like the life, and my team-mates have made me feel really welcome. I need to improve, we need to improve but we’ll be there.”

Everton spent big in the close-season, breaking their record transfer three times over the course of the window, but Koeman’s side have struggled to gel in recent weeks, having succumbed to two successive Premier League defeats – against Chelsea and Tottenham respectively.

Koeman, though, says Everton’s domestic struggles will not distract them from their aims in Europe, adding that he is confident his team will improve following a poor display against Tottenham.

“I take the Europa League really seriously. That will be no different tomorrow,” Koeman said.

“Every manager in the past took every game seriously but, maybe, they did more rotation than other clubs in this competition.”

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