Everton manager Ronald Koeman feels referee Lee Mason’s decision not to disallow Maarten Stekelenburg’s own goal following a collision with Alvaro Negredo was key to their 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
Stekelenburg dropped the ball into his own net in the 21st minute after Negredo jumped into him, but Mason felt the Spanish attacker did not make a foul.
The Dutchman’s own goal sparked Everton into life and they netted three times in the remainder of the first half to emerge victorious, with Gareth Barry, Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku on target.
“It was not a bad day. The start wasn’t good. We had to be more aggressive. We needed the mistake from the referee for the 1-0,” Koeman told BT Sport.
“After that we had a reaction and we saw the Everton we expect at home. We played more aggressive and played some good football. I think the way we controlled the ball in the second half was outstanding.
“The team is very close to how I want it. We have really improved a lot physically, and of course we bought some very good players with lots of energy. [Yannick] Bolasie, [Idrissa] Gueye and [Ashley] Williams, they were all excellent.
“I like to play attacking football, but I think the big difference is that we expect a lot more from our strikers, to do more pressing and to keep compact. We like to play a high line defensively and press the ball.”
Barry played a key role in Everton’s win and Koeman hailed the midfielder’s performance on what was his 600th Premier League appearance.
“Gareth was very crucial today,” Koeman added.
“His quality and cleverness is so important. If a team is very compact then he doesn’t have to run as much.”
Koeman also had his say on Ross Barkley’s performance after recently stressing he expects more from the midfielder.
“I think Barkley’s reaction was very good. We know his qualities, but sometimes he is too late or too sloppy,” the Dutchman continued.
“Today was the Barkley that we all like. If he plays like that I won’t change him.
“He’s no longer that young player, he needs to take more responsibilities. He needs to show his qualities and he showed that.”
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