Wednesday 20 September 2017

Ronald Koeman praises professional Romelu Lukaku after Everton rout Hull

Ronald Koeman reserved praise for Romelu Lukaku, pictured
Ronald Koeman reserved praise for Romelu Lukaku, pictured

Everton manager Ronald Koeman praised the professionalism of Romelu Lukaku after the striker scored twice in the 4-0 win over 10-man Hull.

Earlier in the week the Belgium international told the club he would not be signing a new £140,000-a-week contract that would make him the best-paid player in their history as he questioned whether they had the ability to reach the Champions League.

However, there was no doubting his commitment to the cause on the pitch as his 20th and 21st goals of the season, both in stoppage time, made him the first Everton striker to reach that tally since Gary Lineker in the 1986-86 season.

Lukaku has now scored in seven successive home matches, equalling the great Bob Latchford's record from 1977-78, and has nine in his last six games.

"You are surprised about this?" said Koeman when asked about Lukaku's performance.

"He is a professional and every professional gives the best for the club, the players, for everybody.

"It was difficult for him but when he got more space he played well.

"When it was 11 against 10 and we know he gets those kinds of chances he will score."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first goal for the club, in only his sixth Premier League appearance, gave Everton an eighth-minute lead but it was not until substitute Enner Valencia added the second, after Tom Huddlestone was sent off for a high tackle on Idrissa Gana Gueye, that the result was secured.

A calf injury to Morgan Schneiderlin was the one downside of the day and the influential midfielder is likely to miss the Merseyside derby at Anfield immediately after the international break.

"I am a little bit worried he will be out for several weeks but we need to wait for the scan to know what happened," added Koeman, who felt Huddleston's dismissal was "harsh".

Hull manager Marco Silva, who is still looking for his first away win since taking over in early January, was unhappy with the red card, which killed their momentum, but will wait to see replays of the incident before deciding whether to appeal.

"We didn't deserve this decision on 70 minutes to make us play with 10 players. It changed the game," he said.

"It was a hard game for both teams, a good competition between the players, but four or five minutes earlier I saw one tackle by Lukaku on our player and he didn't receive a yellow card.

"I saw one game until the 70th minute, and after, another game."

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