Everton boss Ronald Koeman reacted angrily to a jibe from Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho after his side’s alarming run of form continued with an Old Trafford thrashing.
Former Toffees striker Romelu Lukaku scored against his former club to compound Everton’s misery as Antonio Valencia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial, from the penalty spot, also netted for the hosts.
Everton have lost their last four matches without scoring, while conceding a combined 12 goals in the process, and are winless in their last six across all competitions. Defeat left them 18th in the Premier League table.
Mourinho claimed in his programme notes that after spending £140m during the summer transfer window, Everton should be aiming for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
“I read the United programme and my colleague told me about Everton spending £140m and so they need to go for the top four,” said Koeman.
“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 realistic about Everton. We need time, but it’s difficult in football.”
Although United at times rode their luck and former skipper Wayne Rooney wasted two chances to mark his Old Trafford return with a goal, Mourinho was impressed by his side’s output.
“The performance was very good, especially in the first 30-35 minutes, it was probably the best performance of the season,” said the Portuguese.
Valencia crashed a stunning half-volley past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from 25 yards in the fourth minute, although the game was still in the balance until late on when Lukaku freed Mkhitaryan to make the points safe.
Lukaku then bundled home and was unrestrained in his celebrations before Martial fired past Pickford from the spot as United, who boast an identical record to their rivals, moved level with City at the top of the table.