Koeman rues defenders' display in first defeat

Everton old boy Steven Naismith celebrates opening the scoring with Alex Pritchard (left). After Norwich's 2-0 win on Tuesday, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said: "We don't cry when we lose".
Everton old boy Steven Naismith celebrates opening the scoring with Alex Pritchard (left). After Norwich's 2-0 win on Tuesday, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said: "We don't cry when we lose".PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Ronald Koeman was left cursing poor finishing and "really bad defending" as Championship side Norwich City came to Goodison Park and inflicted a 2-0 third-round League Cup defeat, his first loss as Everton manager.

The side sitting second in the Premier League could not even blame a below-strength team for the loss, courtesy of goals from Steven Naismith and Josh Murphy.

While Everton made six changes from their victory over Middlesbrough at the weekend, Norwich made 10 from the side that beat Nottingham Forest, and still managed a fourth successive win.

"We've just had three really hard games and I knew I had to freshen the squad up," Norwich manager Alex Neil said.

"We came with a plan to let Everton have most of the ball and see what they could do to us, and it worked.

"I don't know if we were the better team or not, they had all the possession but we scored the goals. The main thing is that we won, and that can only boost the players' confidence."

Koeman said he was not happy about the result but accepted that Norwich had been more clinical in front of goal.

The Everton manager said: "We had enough chances to win the game, and football is about scoring goals.

"I thought Norwich were a little lucky with the first goal but their second was really bad defending by four or five of our players.

"We must recover and react now. We don't organise parties when we win a game at this club and we don't cry when we lose."

Apart from the shock result, the game was notable for the round of applause the former Everton forward Naismith received from the home supporters after putting the visitors in the lead.

"I think that speaks volumes for how highly the lad is regarded here," Neil said.

"The crowd obviously appreciates his qualities, and I completely understand why."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Koeman rues defenders' display in first defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe