Ronald Koeman says that while losing Idrissa Gueye's energy because of his suspension this weekend is a blow, he is confident he has enough options in his squad to cope with the midfielder's absence.
Gueye collected his fifth booking in 10 games against West Ham last Sunday and serves a one-game ban during tomorrow's clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, robbing the Everton boss of one of his most effective defensive assets.
“Of course, it's always a miss because the boy really has a lot of energy and he wins a lot of balls in the midfield,” Koeman said yesterday in his pre-match press conference.
“But OK, it's not about one player, our squad is strong enough and we have enough choices to make about who will replace Gana at the weekend.”
Had the Senegalese been available, he would no doubt have been central to Koeman's preparations for coping with Chelsea's dynamic 3-4-3 formation that proved very successful last month when they won all of their games in the Premier League without conceding a goal.
The manager was asked about how he intends to combat that formation.
“It's not always about the system,” he replied. “I think their team is playing with really high intensity, [they're] aggressively starting every game. We need to deal with that.
“Of course, we know the system. They have the same system that West Ham did last weekend. OK, we need to prepare ourselves and get a good result.”
Everton's hopes of doing that will have been buoyed by last Sunday's win over the Hammers which ended a six-week search for a victory in the Premier League and kept the Toffees within four points of fourth place which is currently occupied by tomorrow's opponents.
Koeman was asked if the mood at Finch Farm had improved in the wake of that 2-0 win which was secured by goals from Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley.
“It's always a different atmosphere in the dressing room and in the club by winning or by losing and I think that's normal.
"Still, I have difficulties by myself accepting defeat and I expect the same mentality of my players. There are different ways to lose the game but, personally, I was really very disappointed after the Burnley game.
“The win makes it different but that's football. You enjoy a win for maybe one or two days or you can be disappointed for one or two days but them you have to prepare for the next one.
“After a defeat, you get another chance to win [a] game and if you win you like to continue winning but OK, we know that will be very difficult.”
Reader Comments (23)
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1 Posted 04/11/2016 at 07:29:12
Who will step in to replace him along Barry? Is Mcarthy fit? Can Cleverley go in? Or can we play with one defensive midfielder?
Many questions for the manager to ponder.
I'm confident if we get right at Chelsea from the whistle, we can get a result. They're strong in attack, but vulnerable in defence.
2 Posted 04/11/2016 at 07:50:07
3 Posted 04/11/2016 at 07:58:39
4 Posted 04/11/2016 at 08:20:49
With what we have, I reckon it will be Cleverley in there, just for his energy and work rate. More often than not, that is all you get from him, but hey.
5 Posted 04/11/2016 at 09:39:33
6 Posted 04/11/2016 at 10:54:15
I really hope that Ross takes this game by the scruff of the neck and shows everyone that he can be boss. If we frustrate and keep Costa quiet (and I think Williams will take care of him) then we could get something from this game.
7 Posted 04/11/2016 at 11:05:31
I would imagine Cleverley will take his place, not my favourite player but by-and-large he has done okay in games he has featured in this season. Pity that Tom Davies seems to have been left out of the squad lately as he looks to have the energy to get around the pitch and has a good eye for a pass.
But Tomorrow we still face the same dilemma: if Lukaku doesn't score, who will? Let's hope that, with Bolasie and Barkley scoring of late, they may go on a run, although their records suggest otherwise.
9 Posted 04/11/2016 at 12:05:50
That said, if Luiz and his mates are in the market for a second arsehole I hope Rom can provide them with what they're looking for. This is one ground where he shouldn't need any motivation.
10 Posted 04/11/2016 at 12:41:42
He's not a good player when he's deployed anywhere!!!
11 Posted 04/11/2016 at 13:05:57
If Everton can play a big game defensively (minus the mistakes against Man City) they can get a good result.
Naturally there has to be good performances all around, especially the front three (Lukaku, Barkley and Bolasie) who have to do their share of closing down. Gueye will be a loss but it gives opportunity for Cleverley to play for a starting place.
Chelsea are a much more dangerous team now than they were when they played Liverpool so Williams and Co need to be at their best to snuff out Hazard and Nutter Costa.
12 Posted 04/11/2016 at 14:02:38
I'd seriously consider matching them up system wise using our three at the back with Jagielka, Funes Mori and Williams, leaving Barry screening, using full backs as wing backs, and allowing the other four to counter attack.
Probably not everyone's view but hey, it's my preferred choice.
13 Posted 04/11/2016 at 14:25:44
14 Posted 04/11/2016 at 14:57:22
It's about time we got a victory at Stamford Bridge in a league match but I hope that the fans don't throw their dummy's out of the pram if it goes pear-shaped, because it's never been a kind venue for Everton at any time in our history (top of my head only seven wins there since the war) and we could have done without travelling there when they are bang in form.
15 Posted 04/11/2016 at 16:14:01
16 Posted 04/11/2016 at 16:28:57
17 Posted 04/11/2016 at 17:21:58
18 Posted 04/11/2016 at 20:43:13
George @ 10 he's not a good player when he's deployed anywhere!! Too right, best deployed in another galaxy far, far away. My heart sinks when I see him come on let alone when he's actually in the team.
19 Posted 04/11/2016 at 20:55:01
20 Posted 04/11/2016 at 21:17:10
Whatever the line-up, I expect this to be our toughest test so far this season as Chelsea are flying at present. An awful lot will depend on Lukaku and how he holds the ball up and whether he can continue his bullying of their back line as he did last season.
The only real surprise I can see Koeman coming up with, maybe to play Funes Mori at left back; other than that, I think the XI picks itself.
21 Posted 04/11/2016 at 21:26:11
22 Posted 04/11/2016 at 23:45:20
Coleman Williams Jagielka Oviedo
Barry McCarthy (if fit)
Deulofeu Barkley Bolasie
23 Posted 04/11/2016 at 23:48:25
Koman has to earn his bread and have the team fighting...
24 Posted 06/11/2016 at 00:20:27
Unfortunately, it is.