Ronald Koeman hits back at Jose Mourinho’s claim that Everton should finish top four at least

Ronald Koeman has hit back at Jose Mourinho for claiming Everton should be fighting for a top-four place, given the money they have spent.

Writing in his programme notes before Sunday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Mourinho said that Everton would “want to at least secure a top-four position this season” having spent £140m, a statement that seemed to rile Koeman.

Speaking after Everton’s 4-0 defeat to United, Koeman reacted to Mourinho’s words by saying: “Be realistic!

“I read the programme of United and my colleague and I talked about ‘Everton spending £140m and they need to go for the top four’.

“Sorry. If anybody in this room or outside sees something realistic [there], in what is possible for Everton… please, come on. Be realistic.

“Let’s talk at the end of the season. I am not happy how we have started the season, but let’s be realistic about Everton. Let’s start with everybody. Fans, press… we need time. But it is difficult in football.”

Asked about his future at Everton after some bad results of late, the Dutchman said his side need time to adapt to the Premier League after a major overhaul in the summer.

“Every manager in life has doubts, there is nobody who doesn’t have doubts as a manager,” he added. “And if you don’t win, you know you have a big number of players in your squad, and you have doubts about what system to play.

“This is normal. Of course, I ask myself the question ‘why?’ Why? But OK. If [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan got one year to adapt to the Premier League, we have eight new players… maybe I also give them one season to adapt to the Premier League.”

Three of United’s four goals on Sunday came late in the game, and the scoreline arguably flattered the hosts, with Koeman adding that he “wasn’t so impressed” by Mourinho’s side.

“Sometimes in life and in football, you get more than you deserve,” he said. “I think today we got less than we deserved. But it is all about scoring and not making mistakes, like the second goal.

“I wasn’t so impressed by United. Perhaps that’s strange after a 4-0 defeat, and yes, they were really clinical – but we didn’t deserve this bad defeat. But hey, that is football.”

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