ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • Ronald Koeman said it would take four consecutive home wins for him to enter the international break with a smile.
He goes into it with a grimace, under pressure and no closer to a solution for Everton's regression after a summer investment of almost £140 million (S$253 million).
Burnley, for a fraction of the cost, move forward after a 1-0 win over Everton yesterday. Jeff Hendrick's first-half goal brought Sean Dyche's team their latest impressive away result as the problems mounted for the Everton manager.
Burnley have won at Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge this season while drawing at Tottenham Hotspur's temporary Wembley home and Anfield. Their problems on the road last season seem a lifetime ago. The same could be said of when Everton last played as an effective, settled unit.
Wayne Rooney was dropped to the bench for the first time in the Premier League this season but it was only after his introduction that Everton showed any quality. But that was insufficient against a well-organised Burnley side.
Koeman argued his team's poor form stemmed from a lack of confidence - an assessment Rooney publicly disagreed with after the 2-2 draw with Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol in the Europa League on Thursday - when a lack of pace, width and balance were seen as this season's glaring faults.
At Rooney's expense the Everton manager finally addressed some problems by starting Nikola Vlasic and Oumar Niasse alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack, although persisting with Gylfi Sigurdsson on the left did little for the balance of the side. It was also a strange use of the £45 million club-record signing's talents.
Everton rarely threatened an equaliser and did not force Nick Pope into a save until Calvert-Lewin shot straight at the keeper in the 87th minute.