LONDON • Everton manager Ronald Koeman said poor refereeing was to blame for the brawls during his team's 2-1 defeat by Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday, which led to the Toffees being charged by Uefa yesterday.
Several players from both teams clashed in the 64th minute, when Everton captain Ashley Williams appeared to shove Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes into the advertising hoardings after the latter had collected the ball from a corner.
A male Everton supporter, who was holding a young child, also appeared to push Lopes' head as the scuffle escalated.
"I think the irritation grows in the game for our players and in my opinion, that was the problem by the referee," Koeman said after the match.
"The referee was Dutch, but he didn't do anything against the theatre of some of the Lyon players. (Lyon captain Nabil) Fekir in the first half dived 10 times.
"I understand with my players, that comes out of frustration. I don't know what happened but I can understand it."
According to Sky Sports, Uefa yesterday charged Everton over the behaviour of their supporters and the case will be heard on Nov 16. The Toffees also confirmed yesterday that they have banned for life the fan who attacked Lopes after reviewing footage of the incident. The club said they would also register a formal complaint against him with Merseyside Police, who are looking into the incident.
IT'S THE REF'S FAULT
The referee was Dutch, but he didn't do anything against the theatre of some of the Lyon players. (Nabil) Fekir in the first half dived 10 times.
RONALD KOEMAN, Everton manager, rails against the referee's handling of the game.
The melee comes a day after Everton were dubbed the "dirtiest" Premier League team after a study on the all-time cards and fouls by www.dirtyteams.co.uk.
They have accumulated 21,211 points (25 points for a red card, five for a yellow card and one for each foul) in 962 games since the start of the league in 1992 to top the list.
Everton are one of only six teams to have contested every season of the Premier League along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham. All six teams were in the top 10 for total "dirty" points.
Williams, who scored Everton's 69th-minute equaliser, and Lyon's Bertrand Traore, who scored the winner, both received yellow cards.
Bruno Genesio, the Lyon coach, felt that the scuffle did the home team a favour during the Group E match. "Right up to the incident, we were in control," he said. "It woke Everton up."
The loss increases the scrutiny on Koeman, whose side sit bottom of their group with no wins in three games and are on a two-game winless streak in the Premier League, where they languish in 16th.
Everton are back in league action tomorrow against Arsenal, who edged to their third straight Europa League win by beating Red Star Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia, courtesy of an 85th-minute Olivier Giroud goal. The Gunners stay top of Group H, five points clear of Red Star.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE