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Gareth Barry: Everton players allowed things to slip

Everton veteran Gareth Barry admits their standards slipped last season.

Everton will move into second place should they beat Middlesbrough tonight in what will be a landmark game for Barry. He will become only the third man to make 600 Premier League appearances; Ryan Giggs (632) and Frank Lampard (609) are the others.

"The standards of the players were, for me, slightly slipping last season, on and off the pitch," said Barry. "If standards are slipping off the pitch it can impact on your form on the pitch and the whole team was losing that level that is expected to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

"It was things like time-keeping, dress codes, training; everything, really. The manager (Koeman) doesn't want to come across as some sort of headmaster but he has been quite keen to let anybody know if they go underneath the standards expected. That is good for everyone."

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Paul Vegas

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