Koeman was sacked on Monday after Everton’s 5-2 loss to Arsenal dropped them into the Premier League relegation zone.
The side have struggled to score this year, netting just seven goals in nine league games, and Koeman said allowing top scorer Lukaku to leave for Manchester United without signing a replacement proved costly. “I had Olivier Giroud in the building,’’ Koeman told Dutch magazine VI.
“He would have fitted perfectly but, at the very last moment, he decided that he’d rather live in London and stay at Arsenal. “That was really hard to swallow … Lukaku was so important for us, not just because of his goals.
“If things were not going well in a game, if we could not play the way we were used to, there was always the option to use the long ball towards him.” Everton faced Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in their opening nine league games. And Koeman, who spent heavily in the summer to overhaul the squad, said he knew it would be tough going when the fixture list came out.