Everton boss Ronald Koeman was pleased with Ross Barkley’s performance in their 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The Dutchman took Barkley off at half-time in their last fixture against Sunderland and warned the midfielder that he must raise his game “in all aspects”.
And Koeman was glad he got a positive reaction from the England international as the Toffees impressed in their victory over Aitor Karanka’s side.
“The reaction I got from him today was very good and that’s the Barkley I expect. We know his qualities but sometimes in his football he is too sloppy and he loses easy balls,” Koeman said after the match.
RK: "I was very satisfied [with Barkley's contribution]. He played how I like to see him play – defensively and offensively strong." #EFC
— Everton (@Everton) September 17, 2016
“If he plays like he did today, we don’t change him. He’s not a young player anymore. He needs to take responsibility but he showed today that he is a very good player.”
Koeman, who has guided Everton to second place and four league wins in a row, bemoaned their bad start to the game but seemed happy overall with his side’s performance.
“Once again our start was not good. It was not aggressive enough, we were not pressing enough. We have really improved a lot physically and we’ve brought in a lot of players with energy,” Koeman added.
“There is more belief, spirit and the team works well together. That’s been the big difference in my opinion.”