Koeman salutes his super sub Valencia as Everton stun Southampton

Author

04 January, 2017

"Players were exhausted. They played two days ago and it was hard to finish this game but the spirit and the attitude of the team was good".

The game at Goodison Park appeared to be heading for a drab 0-0 draw until the on-loan West Ham player was brought on just after the hour mark.

The match had lacked quality and chances until substitute Valencia scored his first goal for the club, driving in a shot from close range after Lukaku's header had been saved.

Yet Koeman's reluctance to claim a tactical masterstroke had roots in the fact that his first and second-choice set-up - Lukaku's support act Dominic Calvert-Lewin was forced off after 12 minutes to be replaced by Kevin Mirallas - had produced 60 minutes so lacking in intensity that the crowd had been silenced.

"It was unlucky [for] the boy that we had to change him but it's true that Enner when he came in... not only to score the goal but his whole performance - we needed his pace in the game". It is more competitive and we are strong at home.

Southampton suffered their third defeat in six days as a heavy workload, combined with the powerful presence of Romelu Lukaku, finally told on Claude Puel's tired team at Everton. Everybody knows it's a hard, tough time with a lot of games but we are responding well.

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"We tried to give a good answer but it is hard in this situation".

"I think we deserved those seven points".

"It is always hard to create big chances, Southampton are a strong team, but we made the difference in the final part of the game".

With the transfer window now open, Koeman is looking to add to his squad.

However, Sky sources understand the south coast club's position on 25-year-old Van Dijk is that he will not leave in this window.

"It's always important for us, the cup games, and of course the other games in the Premier League".


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