By support

15th Sep, 2017 | 1:33pm

Koeman: Everton were blatantly missing these two things during shambles v Atalanta

By Abigail Withey

Ronald Koeman has revealed that his squad lacked “aggression and passion” against Serie A side Atalanta in their Europa League opener on Thursday night.

The Blues suffered a heavy loss to the Italian outfit on Thursday night as goals from Andrea Masiello, Alejandro Gomez and Bryan Cristante ensured that Atalanta were 3-0 up at half time.

The manager revealed that Everton lacked the confidence which the Italian outfit clearly possessed throughout the game and believes that his side need to display the same amount of passion as Atalanta going forward.

Koeman was criticised for starting Maarten Stekelenburg in goal instead of summer signing Jordan Pickford, but instead of placing fault on any of his players the boss shouldered the blame.

“It is not the time or the place to criticise the players. I have to criticise myself because the team was not prepared for this tonight,” the Dutch boss revealed, as quoted by the official Everton website.

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“It is a big lesson tonight. I thought that was happening after the third goal against Tottenham at the weekend but I need to ask myself the question what I did wrong.

“What I saw was a big difference in belief and confidence between Atalanta and Everton. They had aggression and passion. We made mistakes, the pitch wasn’t the best, either, but it was the same for them. Atalanta showed to us the passion that you have to have when you play football.

“I am really sorry for the fans. It is a difficult moment.”

Everton will now prepare to travel to Old Trafford to face current table leaders Manchester United who remain unbeaten in the competition so far.

The Toffees haven’t been as successful as Jose Mourinho’s side over the past month as after their initial 1-0 win over Stoke in the opening weekend of the top flight it was followed by a draw with Manchester City and two successive defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham.

Koeman was appointed as the Merseysiders’ manager last summer after he penned a three-year-deal with the club.

Since then he guided the Blues to a seventh place finish in the Premier League behind Manchester United and Arsenal.

The boss made a number of new recruits over the summer with the hope of improving their chances in the top flight as well as in the Europa League, but his efforts don’t appear to have paid off so far.

In other Everton news, fans have expressed their frustrations on Twitter after the Toffees displayed a disappointing performance in their Europa League opener.

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