Ronald Koeman has been sacked by Everton following Sunday’s 5-2 defeat by Arsenal, the club has confirmed.
The 54-year-old Dutchman insisted in the wake of the Goodison Park loss that he still believed he was the right man to lead the club, having slumped to 18th in the Premier League table and racing a relegation battle for the remainder of the season.
He arrived at the club’s Finch Farm training ground on Monday morning and took training as normal for those players not involved in Sunday’s encounter, but the club soon issued a statement to confirm that he was no longer first-team manager.
A club statement issued on Monday afternoon read: “Everton Football Club can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the Club.
“Chairman Bill Kenwright, the Board of Directors and Major Shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the Club over the past 16 months and for guiding the Club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”
The former Southampton manager leaves Everton after overseeing their worst start to a season since 2005/06, when David Moyes’ side had accumulated just four points from their opening nine matches. Under Koeman, the Toffees have won double that figure this season in the same number of matches, but it comes against a backdrop of the club harbouring much greater expectations this season due to a record summer of spending in the region of £140m.
The start of the season brought about hopes of a top four challenge and a potential return to the Champions League, something that has not been tasted since Moyes guided the club to fourth in 2004/05 only to suffer elimination in the qualifying play-offs.
Speaking after Sunday’s home defeat, Koeman was defiant in insisting he could still turn the club’s fortunes around.
“If you start to think negative then maybe there is no solution. I am not like that,” Koeman said. “The rumours in the newspapers is normal. The team is underperforming. The team is in a difficult situation. Mentally our confidence is struggling. That’s what we need to change. Personally, I think I can still make the change but everyone knows how it can change in football.”
Following his dismissal, Moyes has been linked with a potential return to Goodison Park – where he managed for 11 years before taking the Manchester United job to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot has been out of work since leaving Sunderland at the end of last season following their relegation to the Championship, while other names linked with the job include Wales manager Chris Coleman, former Everton defender David Unsworth and ex-England boss Sam Allardyce.
Unsworth could be handed the role on an interim basis given he is the current Under-23 manager at the club.