Ashley Williams is still in pre-season training following international duty with Wales at Euro2016 this summer
Ronald Koeman says that Everton will be "strong" on Saturday despite fitness concerns over two key players and the absence of Ashley Williams.
Speaking at his first pre-match press conference of the new campaign, the manager is confident of putting a strong side out to face Spurs, though, even if Romelu Lukaku and Seamus Coleman aren't certain of playing due to injuries picked up against Espanyol last weekend.
Additionally, new signing Williams will need 10 days of training to be fully fit following his involvement in the European Championships and the time he missed while his move to Goodison was being hammered out.
He indicated that, by his standards, the Everton squad was only 70% of the way to peak fitness, a nod no doubt to the work that was needed to ramp the players up from the levels they were at under his predecessor, Roberto Martinez.
"We are not at the level we need to be yet,” Koeman said. “The players are maybe 70% ready. When I was at Southampton, the team was 100% ready.
“We are working hard and we will improve. But the team will be strong on Saturday.
"[Williams] will bring leadership and experience but he's not available for the weekend because he started late after the Euros.
"Lukaku is doubtful because of the cut from the Espanyol game. Coleman also has a problem as well."
There was bad news regarding Matthew Pennington, however, with the manager confirming that he will be out for "several months" with the hamstring injury he suffered in pre-season.
Reader Comments (59)
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1 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:30:09
2 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:32:29
3 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:35:50
Incidentally, last season an under-cooked EFC murdered a 100% Southampton side down there early on.
4 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:37:23
5 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:37:59
6 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:42:28
7 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:42:33
8 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:44:12
9 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:45:01
- We aren't ready? Huh? Why the hell not? 70%??! After 5 weeks of pre-season?! I guess Roberto really did screw us with fitness levels.
- 3 or 4 more signings? Kone, Bolaise plus (i guess) a midfielder and striker which means no other goalkeeper and still no cover at right back.
Ah well, looks like we'll be champions by only 5 points instead of 10.
11 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:49:21
12 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:49:49
Coleman will be a massive loss if not fit but I feel up front he may just try the Mirallas - Deulofeu experiment.
13 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:49:53
14 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:49:58
15 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:50:35
The grinning idiot across the park was given the best part of a season to lick his lot into shape, at the end of which he has taken the squad apart and reshaped it with the kind of players he needs to play the kind of football he desires. Koeman needs the same time frame before we judge him.
16 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:50:47
It is a long way to go, glass full... at least too start...
17 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:52:45
18 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:52:49
We may have to wait a while to see RK's team once he has made his signings, sorted out the fitness levels and got over his football ethos to the players. I am sure though that it will be sooner rather than later.
19 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:55:43
A pity but understandable that Williams doesn't start. I've not read anywhere what the issue is with Coleman. Now that could be one for the conspiracy brigade. The "30% short on fitness" will be a carry over from the Martinez regime.
20 Posted 11/08/2016 at 14:57:48
Spurs have looked sharp preseason and at this point I'd probably take a draw.
22 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:08:02
Peter @ #3 gives me some hope though. Our wheezing and 'blowing out of their arses' mob tonked Southampton last season. You never know. Or maybe we are witnessing early season mind games from the Dutch maestro?
23 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:10:28
Wouldn't be surprised if both Coleman and Lukaku are fit to play. Spurs defenders breathing a sigh of relief only to see Rom's name on the team sheet come Saturday. Not a lie, just a slight distortion of the reality.
24 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:11:53
25 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:20:52
Surely this is a good honest assessment that says: "some people at the club need to pull their fingers out to get to a level I'm even comfortable starting at"?
About time someone took more aggressive approach! I want to hear more of this before we go out and beat teams 4-0. If we lose 4-0, Koeman can kick ass including the chairman and major shareholder's representatives.
26 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:22:38
Hopefully Lukaku is fit, Jagielka and Funes Mori at the back with Davies or Holgate filling in at the right back should be okay. If Lukaku isn't fit, it's a good opportunity for Deulofeu or Mirallas to stake their claim.
Spurs will be a tough game, but I am looking forward to it. A good result will give us a huge boost. Very interested to see the set up, especially in how the midfield will link with attack.
27 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:34:24
28 Posted 11/08/2016 at 15:45:49
Not something Ron would normally do for a home match, but until he has had a bit more time to bring in a couple more players that he wants, I feel this the way it is going to be for this weekend's game.
29 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:03:02
Difficult to see Kone starting as I don't think he's been involved much pre-season? Highlights how much we need forwards as, when is Rom out, we don't have many options.
30 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:04:38
31 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:11:56
Skelatore in goal
If Coleman is out then Lennon will probably play as RWBack.
Jags, Mori and Holgate as CBacks. Baines LWBack
Barry, Gueye and Barkely
32 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:13:28
Even if Rom stays we still need a class striker to put pressure on him, Rom knows we need him and he can't be dropped. Koeman needs to bring in a striker and a centre mid, without them we are no better off than last season.
33 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:17:38
34 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:19:36
35 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:47:33
We will not be dragging our asses around the pitch at 70 minutes with Koeman's in charge. We will lose a few, but lack of fitness will not be the reason.
36 Posted 11/08/2016 at 16:58:44
Maybe it's dawning on him, how much of a job he has on his hands to get the team fit and up to speed.
The Niasse brush off did make me chuckle though. "he can make his transfer, he's not in my opinion the future of what we need in his position"
37 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:07:57
I believe that we'll be on 9 points at the end of August. Tough start verses Spurs, but the Blues to battle through... 2-1 winners!.
38 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:25:36
He's clearly not got all the elements in the squad he wants and he's said he's about 3 players adrift of where he wants to be.
Likely he's going to set up defensively against Spurs, like he did against Utd, and he's trying to get the message out that we're playing the safe game until we are at his idea of full steam...then we get the full experience.
39 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:26:42
You beat me to it mate. That very much looks what I expect to start our season.
I'm also thinking that style of "attack" lends itself to moving the ball "less laboriously" and that surely must be a bonus?
40 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:28:38
Who the hell will be play RB with no Coleman or Pennington? Lennon?
41 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:53:29
But neither have I seen Kone in training. If he's finally fit and well prepared he may still have something to offer.
Spoken more in hope than expectation, natch
42 Posted 11/08/2016 at 17:57:03
Koeman is going to give fuck all info away at his first pre match interview. He'll be happy for the Spuds to think whatever they want, but come 3pm on Saturday don't be surprised to see all 3 players on team sheet.
43 Posted 11/08/2016 at 18:06:10
45 Posted 11/08/2016 at 19:00:26
We'll all only truly know come 17:00 on Saturday if it's mind games or an open and honest assessment of the current state of the squad fitness and ability to play the game RK and his team want them to play.
Given RK's pressers and how he answered the questions posed I'll go with the latter that he's going to just say it as he sees it.
The patronising sound bites of Bobby Brown Shoes is long gone as demonstrated by Big Ron with his frank assessment of Niasse.
I hope this attitude and approach continues instead of blowing smoke up the players arses when they aren't fit to wear the shirt, no matter who they are. This is the first step to shaking off the nice friendly club tag bullshit that has stunk the gaff out for too long now.
My starting 11 for Saturday (if not fit) in a 4-4-1-1 or 3-4-1-2:
46 Posted 11/08/2016 at 19:01:49
47 Posted 11/08/2016 at 19:41:48
We all knew that Martinez's teams were never fit or strong enough to compete, and this shows that the bad habits are not going to disappear over night.
Even ith 4/5 weeks preseason although some have not been back that long, he is telling us not to expect miracles.
I hope we all are going to show some patience even if we get stuffed at the weekend. Give him time to bring in the additional players, allow bedding in, then lets look at November as to what progress has been made since the start of the season.
48 Posted 11/08/2016 at 19:59:47
We need to give RK and his coaching team this season as a bedding in season to improve the fitness/conditioning and improve the game management of the squad as a whole. RK needs more time than 5 weeks at the helm to assess what he feels is needed in terms of playing staff with the next two transfer windows to get in who he feels is needed to push the team up the league and hopefully back into Europe.
49 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:04:33
Same with Kone
Of course we're not ready because we've let a bunch of players go, some of the remainders aren't good enough and we haven't got adequate reinforcements in!!!
The fact we'll be starting the season without a single decent striking option available is a joke. How has this happened? If we're in for Bony then get it done
Why is everything so complicated with Everton??
50 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:05:37
As far as Saturday goes, I'm hoping rather than expecting. COYB.
51 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:15:54
Would love to see Everton start a season in a blaze of glory for once or is it too much to expect?
52 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:21:54
53 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:33:51
54 Posted 11/08/2016 at 20:42:59
Feel sorry for Niasse, it was not his fault he is not good enough for efc but was impressed how RK answered question about him...I too wish him all the best as he seems a decent fella.
Interesting how he spoke about Jags on transfer situation as didn't say he was essential member of squad more of we haven't got numbers in CB at club...think he will be gone soon.
The game will be challenging on Saturday, I think we all know that but as he said if we see everybody give there best and fight for the cause..at this stage I will be happy with that as a minimum as haven't had that for last 2 year irrespective of the result. In longer term RK is definitely the right man for the job and he wants to give us the type of football, attitude and desire we all crave from our team. coyb's
55 Posted 11/08/2016 at 21:38:43
I am really looking forward to going to Goodison on Saturday and I haven't said that for a long time. I am not naive to think that all our ills will disappear, pre season has given us all a reality check in that respect. I do expect a season of progression though and fully expect us to be competitive this season, I can't see RK putting up with players coming off the pitch without breaking sweat like OFM did.
Onwards and upwards COYB
56 Posted 11/08/2016 at 22:04:16
I image this pre seasaon has been a huge wake up call to both the players and Koeman. The players are probably will get with the program, and probably are about 2 weeks off from being where the manager wants them. For Koeman though, I bet he's sick of having to do the clean up of the mess Martinez has left him. When he went to Saints, whilst lacking in numbers he had players who were used to a disciplined system, the complete opposite of probably what he came to here.
57 Posted 11/08/2016 at 22:44:39
I gave my own 'Frank Assessment' of Niasse on day one when I watched the video of his goals and posted the fact that all of them were down to crap defending and practically tap ins any school kid could have scored,
As for Saturday and Koemans remarks on fitness problems, like many, I am not feeling very confident that we can overcome a very skilful Spurs side especially if they carry on where they left off last season.
58 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:34:04
I just wish we would of signed a top keeper already.
59 Posted 11/08/2016 at 23:46:06
It blows me away, the date is set for the first game, we have fitness coaches, first team managers etc and somehow were apparently at 70â„…!
We should have had signings in place, all bedded in and ready for action. But I can accept some of our more positive fans saying RK needed to assess the squad before making signings, but the minimum requirement is having our players fit.
Ive heard excuses made for RK, complaining that Martinez never had the team fit, but RK n co have been in long enough to have the lads in ship shape condition.
Ricky Hatton used to go from 18 stone fat man to 18 round abbed up killing machine within 6-8 weeks, our so called athletes should have been well and truly ready for action.
Its becoming a bit of a nightmare at the minute, Stecklenburg in goal, Kone up top, no recognised right back, and only half fit centre half's, not a good start.
Beating Spurs will be nothing short of a miracle.
60 Posted 12/08/2016 at 05:18:43
If Rom's not fit... We have little by the way of options, could be Del Boy upfront
62 Posted 12/08/2016 at 17:24:13
63 Posted 12/08/2016 at 17:37:03
Anything but Kone! Even bring hibbo back before starting Kone.
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