Everton manager Ronald Koeman has claimed that the Toffees will be even stronger next season after an impressive campaign this year.
The manager was speaking after Friday’s 1-0 win over Watford, which came thanks to Ross Barkley’s stunning strike.
The result leaves Everton in seventh, where they will finish the season. Impressive home form has carried them to a points total of 61 with one game remaining.
What did Koeman say?
Reflecting on the year, Koeman said: “Overall a really good season, maybe I didn’t expect what happened this season before I came. But everyone knows we like to continue and we will continue and we will be stronger next season.
“I am totally confident in that we are stronger next season but that doesn’t mean that you get more points or a better position on the table because it’s football and everybody will react.” The Dutchman continued, “Not Chelsea but everyone will react because all of them like to win the title or at least play in the Champions League.”
Whether next season’s stronger side will include Barkley and Romelu Lukaku remains to be seen though. Both have been heavily linked away with a move but Koeman declined to comment on their futures after the game.
Neither player particularly gave any hints during the post-game lap of honour around Goodison Park whether they were saying goodbye to the Everton faithful.
Koeman substituted goalscorer Barkley on the 80th minute, but disagreed when suggested that he brought the midfielder off in order to give him a farewell applause by the fans.
Koeman stated: “I thought we needed a little bit more control in the midfield. I think it’s not the time now to talk more about a player, I think if you have followed me through the season I think you know the answer.”
How can this Everton side improve?
Next season will depend heavily on whether Lukaku and Barkley stick around, or even if they don’t, a lot depends on how well they are replaced.
Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson has been mentioned as a possible recruit in the summer, and his name was brought up in the post-match press conference but Koeman was quick to skim over any names for possible signings.
A new long-term contract for Kevin Mirallas, who turns 30 in October perhaps isn’t the greatest of moves though.
Their midfield trio of Tom Davies, Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gana Gueye looks impressive though. Especially the youngster who even looked good when moved to right-back at half-time.
Everton’s last game of the season is away to Arsenal on Sunday, 21st May at 15:00.