Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley can still improve ahead of Burnley trip

Ronald Koeman says Ross Barkley can still improve ahead of Burnley trip

Comments from Ronald Koeman’s pre-match press conference ahead of Everton’s trip to Burnley.

Connor Bennett

Everton are winless in three games and this weekend presents a good chance for Ronald Koeman’s side to get back to winning ways.

Against Manchester City, Koeman opted for a more defensive system, looking to disrupt the extremely talented City attack. It worked for the most part, barring a minor blip which allowed Nolito to score an equaliser but the Blues aren’t likely to set up the same way this weekend.

Ahead of his side’s game at Turf Moor against Burnley, Koeman spoke to the assembled media at Finch Farm, stating: “We (Everton) will have more ball possession” so that means his side will need to improve in their “attacking and creativity.

That will likely mean changes for Koeman’s side and a possible recall for Ross Barkley

Koeman on Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley has been a polarising figure at Goodison Park this season. The England international has performed well in some games but in others, he’s been none existent.

His half-time substitution away to Sunderland drew the attention of the media who questioned whether Koeman had a problem with Barkley.

That isn’t the case. Koeman has backed Barkley since he joined Everton as manager in the summer from Southampton but the Blues midfielder does have ways to go in his development. 

Koeman acknowledged that Barkley is no longer a youngster with potential but somebody who has played four years in the first team. “He’s not a talent anymore,” said Koeman, adding that players need to show they can “improve” and Barkley is no exception, no matter how much faith Koeman places in him. 

Ross Barkley on the bench against Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images - Alex Livesey 

Backing Stekelenburg

Prior to the game against Manchester City, Maarten Stekelenburg came under criticism from Dutch pundits after his recall to the Holland national team. Stekelenburg made an error against France after a long-range shot from Paul Pogba found its way into his net but Koeman is backing his goalkeeper. 

His two penalty stops against City were described as “not normal” by the Everton boss but it was a “fantastic” performance from the keeper that Koeman knows well. 

Injury report

Leighton Baines will miss the trip to Burnley after he suffered a setback that kept him out of action against Manchester City. Baines was meant to make the trip to the Etihad last Saturday but was instead left off and deputised by Bryan Oviedo.

The Everton left-back took part in a behind closed doors friendly with Wigan Athletic and was only able to complete 45 minutes.

Koeman said Everton will wait “longer” for Baines to be “100%.” 

Aaron Lennon is likely to be back and among the Everton substitutes while Muhamed Besic is still out. 

Steven Defour will miss the game for the Clarets after he picked up a hamstring injury in their 3-1 defeat to Southampton last Sunday. Andre Gray will also serve the final game of his four-match ban for the hosts.