Belfast Telegraph

Everton boss Ronald Koeman threatens to drop any players in 'holiday mode'

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has warned his players they face being dropped if they think they can coast until the end of the season.

The Toffees have already wrapped up seventh place in the Premier League but the chances of overtaking Arsenal, who they play on the final day of the campaign, appear unlikely as the sixth-placed Gunners are two points ahead with two matches in hand.

After last weekend's 3-0 defeat to leaders Chelsea ended an eight-match winning streak at home, the remaining fixtures, at Swansea on Saturday and Watford next Friday before the visit of Arsenal, would appear to have little meaning.

However, Koeman is determined not to allow his players to switch off.

"Sometimes it is difficult because everyone starts to have the holiday feeling because we are already seventh in the table but then you need to take the motivation out of yourself," he said.

"We try to speak to the players to have the type of training sessions which keep the focus for the weekend.

"If I see someone (doing something) on the pitch that is not what I like or what I expect I can change three players."

Koeman has proved to be a hard task master this season and he intends to keep that up until their campaign is over.

And he insists there should be no excuses for switching off.

"We at least are professionals and we will put a strong team in (at Swansea) and that will show we have the feeling we would like to finish our good season strongly.

"Last week the opponent was too good but we need to improve.

"If my team is not motivated I am responsible because that is my job but I expect every player to be full of focus for every game."

The incentive to finish sixth means their Europa League qualification schedule would begin later and Koeman has not given up hope of catching Arsenal, possibly in their end-of-season showdown at the Emirates.

"It's a big difference between seventh and sixth," the Dutchman said.

"With seventh you need to play for qualification in pre-season and that is always difficult.

"We still have a chance. We know we have played two more games than Arsenal but we have an opportunity to play against them in the last game and if we win the next two I think still we have a chance in the last one."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph