The Toffees let a 2-1 lead slip in the dying minutes against Apollon Limassol
The Toffees let a 2-1 lead slip in the dying minutes despite the Cypriot outfit being down to 10 men after Valentin Roberge’s dismissal in the closing stages.
Everton sit bottom of Group E after losing to Atalanta on match day one and drawing against the supposed whipping boys from Cyprus.
And Koeman could not hide his displeasure with his players’ performances on a frustrating night at Goodison Park.
“I cannot say they are not running or fighting but they are scared,” Koeman told talkSPORT.
“They are afraid in their play and it’s in the head of the players. As a manager you can help them, support them, give the players confidence.
“But by the whistle, I don’t play the ball back. It’s up to the player to give the player options.
“We are scared. We are afraid to play forward and that makes it difficult.
“Maybe sometimes there are not enough options to play forwards. But even if there are no options – play the ball in the channels instead of playing back to the goalkeeper.
“We know what the fans like – that you go forward. And they don’t like to see a team playing back, back, back.
“In the first 20 minutes, every ball was back.”
The result leaves Everton with a mountain to climb if they are to secure their passage to the knockout stages of the competition.
Following a summer of lavish spending, Koeman’s side face a double header against Ligue 1 side Lyon and will need to gain a positive result in France to stand any chance of progression.