The Portuguese gaffer’s comments in United’s programme Sunday were picked up by multiple outlets ahead of kick-off. They even caught the attention of Koeman’s coaching staff, who informed the Dutchman of Mourinho’s assessment that Everton should target a top-four finish this season after spending £140 million on summer transfers.
Koeman addressed that comment after United dismantled Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford, calling on his counterpart to “get realistic” about the Toffees’ chances of breaking into the top four, especially considering the dreadful start to the Merseyside club’s season.
“I read the United programme and my colleague told me about Everton spending £140 million and so they need to go for the top four,” Koeman said, according to Jamie Jackson of the Guardian.
“If there’s anybody in this room and outside and sees this as something realistic for us, please comment. Be realistic. I’m not happy how we started the season, but please be a bit realistic about Everton. We need time, but it’s difficult in football.”
Before the match, Mourinho said: “We are up against a team that has spent £140m. Obviously we are playing a team that wants to at least secure a top-four position.”
However, Everton’s chances of climbing into the top four are fading with each passing week, as the club sits in the bottom three after accumulating four points from five matches.
Adding insult to injury, the team’s scoring has been miserable – just two goals – since United signed last season’s top scorer at Everton, Romelu Lukaku, who found the back of the net Sunday and celebrated in front of Toffees supporters in response to jeers from the away stand.