Everton FC boss Ronald Koeman in high praise for opposite number Pep Guardiola: ‘Man City are the BEST team I’ve faced as a manager’
The table-toppers dominated possession at the Etihad Stadium, hit the woodwork through Kevin De Bruyne and saw two penalties saved by Maarten Stekelenburg – a hard luck story that could have ended in defeat when Romelu Lukaku finished off a rare, but incisive, counter-attack in the 64th minute.
City levelled through substitute Nolito’s precise header and might easily have turned a 1-1 draw into maximum points as they searched in vain for a winner.
Koeman is no wide-eyed newcomer to the dugout, having racked up 16 years, four countries and nine clubs as a number one, but he was left groping for superlatives.
“They played fantastic football. They are the best team in my managerial career that I’ve played against,” he said.
“Really high, top pressing, high tempo…we make some mistakes because the pressing was so high.
“If you look to the football, to the offensive style, the movement, the quality of the offensive players, they are in my opinion the best team in the Premier League.
“I’m pleased with a point and we didn’t deserve more, I know. Maybe we didn’t deserve one when you count the chances and the opportunities, two missed penalties. But football is unpredictable.”
While Koeman is not typically given to hyperbole, he had found his groove by the time he came to comment on Stekelenburg, who denied both De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero from the spot.
“Maybe the goalkeeper played his best game ever,” he said. “We know he is a good goalkeeper but saving two penalties and maybe two more shots from De Bruyne…you need that luck to get a good result.”