Having finished in seventh place in the Premier League and secured the last European place, the Blues return to competitive action at the end of July when they enter the Europa League at the third qualifying round.
It means that the squad's pre-season will be compressed into three weeks which the manager admits isn't ideal but is also unavoidable and that they will make the best of it.
"[T]he Europa League will be something very much on our minds from the beginning of our pre-season on July 3," Koeman wrote in a blog post for ESPN.
"You cannot be 100 percent prepared in my opinion in just three weeks, but players need to have a holiday to clear their minds and to overcome the physical demands of a long and demanding season.
"They need to refresh themselves and build again for the campaign to come. It is a draining experience.
"You always try to get new signings in as quickly as possible, though the reality is that it's not always possible. But we need to improve, we need to strengthen, we need to rise to the challenge if we are to take the next step as a team and as a club."
Reader Comments (84)
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2 Posted 23/05/2017 at 07:33:53
6 Posted 23/05/2017 at 07:58:42
We have known for weeks that we will be playing in the EL in July. There has been enough time to plan for it, including returning a week earlier if that be judged necessary.
Complaints about the quality of the squad, fitness, etc. have been a constant theme of Koeman's tenure. Other than the money it does make you wonder why he took this impossible job in the first place.
He loves a challenge, but not too big a challenge.
9 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:14:12
Whether you like it or not, pampered and highly privileged footballers DO need a break from football and time to rest and relax. I think that this is what Koeman means when he says "not ready". To ensure that they don't "hit the wall" in February next year due to a lack of R+R during the summer. Starting their pre-season too early will have an effect later in the season.
11 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:23:30
How's about saying 'yes, come the start of the qualifying campaign, we'll be ready to take this competition by the scruff of the neck'. Perhaps some of these fortune earning prima donnas might actually put a shift in training. Abject.
13 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:27:29
14 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:28:08
15 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:29:42
16 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:37:01
18 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:46:13
Three weeks of preseason training is on the low side and with our luck, we'll probably get a side midway through their season.
I recall the when Everton won the Cup Winners Cup, our first assignment was against the mighty University College Dublin and we scraped through over 2 legs.
Few remember that; it's just about getting the job done.
19 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:55:47
They've obviously seen what Koeman has intimated with regard to rest etc and they've all just taken the last four or five weeks OFF!
20 Posted 23/05/2017 at 08:57:08
Also, if our lads know they will be back early, then perhaps they can lay off the pina coladas and cheeseburgers during their hols?
They should be able to get fit in three weeks, it's not like they are morbidly obese.
21 Posted 23/05/2017 at 09:16:09
23 Posted 23/05/2017 at 09:38:02
I'm sure they could manage with just 28 days like the Average Joe.
25 Posted 23/05/2017 at 09:53:45
26 Posted 23/05/2017 at 10:06:39
27 Posted 23/05/2017 at 10:11:33
29 Posted 23/05/2017 at 10:23:26
34 Posted 23/05/2017 at 10:44:19
35 Posted 23/05/2017 at 10:53:07
36 Posted 23/05/2017 at 12:00:27
37 Posted 23/05/2017 at 12:28:22
We have a relatively small, uncompetitive (in the most important matches especially) squad compared to the likes of Man Utd.
I mention them because they're in the Europa League final and one whole place above us as a result, I assume, of their far greater playing resources. So, we're unlikely to compete to the same extent unless we get a much bigger, integrated squad where everyone knows, and consistently does, their job.
(As an aside, I suggest that's why the manager wants to get the Ross Barkley contract prevarication sorted asap.)
With less than adequate squad numbers, our league performance next season is likely to suffer as a consequence of the Europa League, if history has any significance at all. Cue howls of fan anguish if that happens though.
But if we duck out of the Europa League early doors also cue howls of fan anguish. And if next season we don't end up 6th minimum, with good runs in all three cups I dare say, cue howls of fan anguish.
Lastly, if we have a manager who spells out the need publicly and privately to address and resolve these player issues right now, given his remit on appointment was to get the club in the Champions League within three years, cue howls of fan anguish despite the fact that every player, agent and manager will appreciate what our club needs to do and will therefore have to pay for. Ambition feeds greed and costs, and too many players are perfectly happy to commiserate with disaster for failed clubs whilst driving the club owner to the bank to get their obscene wages off him.
If Koeman gets the support he needs from the board/owner, as was by inference promised re Champions League demands, we'll all have less to howl about in my opinion because, with very little already, he's markedly improved our league position. He might be a cold fish (don't remember any touchline prima donna antics from either The Catt or Howie either by the way) but I believe he knows what he's doing and it'll be good for us, and him of course, and they both matter to him I suggest.
But will he get the support?
38 Posted 23/05/2017 at 12:42:22
39 Posted 23/05/2017 at 12:47:26
Premier League professional footballers are NOT regular Joes having to negotiate their jollies with others on the company holiday planner.
They have fixed dates when they need to rest body and minds after the intensity of an intense footy season. And yes, before anyone has a pop, I would not disagree that 5 games before the end of the season, since the West Ham game, Everton players lost the necessary intensity to compete effectively.
As stated, they return to pre-season training on 4 July. Their first competitive game of the new season will be just 3 weeks later. I would not expect the team to be 100% match fit. Indeed, I would not WANT the team to peak and be match fit in that time span.
Koeman and the training staff need to finely balance things to ensure we are at sufficient levels of fitness and preparedness to compete - and WIN! - in the Europa League qualifiers, whilst also being mindful of the 9-10 month season ahead.
I'm sure, as John Daley notes, Koeman and his staff WILL factor in the Europa League games as part of the overall pre-season program to have the squad fit and ready for the Premier League kick off.
Nothing to see here, IMO.
40 Posted 23/05/2017 at 13:37:24
He knows he cannot sign his top targets until the Europa League group stages are confirmed.
A 3rd round and a playoff round which in particular often throws up pretty shitty draws despite the fact we should be seeded.
So this is far from a slam dunk. You would imagine several players might be given extra time away? Perhaps. More trouble.
Progress needs to be clear and tangible, so a premature exit leaves us stuck "repeating the year" we've had. Not acceptable in this climate.
For those not predisposed to the Europa League, it has many detractors, look at Spurs. Several years at this level allowed them to get better players, swell their squad and keep them happy, learn to handle the balance of playing twice weekly and boost their profile in Europe.
Remember Koeman said he wanted Europe last year. A lofty aim because that actually meant 5th or a cup win. We got lucky with how the top 6 destroyed a very mediocre premier league and a benevolent cup draw. But that measure you might say he didn't achieve his own aim?
So sit tight and be prepared for a Shakespearean summer with Koeman decrying the ineptitude of the board "voe is mei" etc. Cleverly conflating the issues, mostly to keep the narrative of "its not my fault folks" between the 8 holidays, golf lessons and copious Corona drinking he has planned. 😜 So cheap but thoroughly worth it!
'Fook lets hope Jim White has got any summer jollies planned.
43 Posted 23/05/2017 at 15:07:47
44 Posted 23/05/2017 at 15:29:48
This year will be even busier what with Europa League games causing an earlier start so what does Mr Koeman do? Goes on his holidays.
He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it...unless he booked them early.
45 Posted 23/05/2017 at 15:51:01
Then, on reflection, could it be Koeman prompting Kenwright & Elstone to get their shit together and get the majority of the transfer business done prompto (for obvious reasons)? If so, best of luck with that one as getting transfer business done early is rarely, if ever, the case with us and given Usamov (will he / won't he?), the impact this must have on Moshiri and the purse strings and not forgetting the Kenwright / Elstone factor. You're right Ronald, we're fucked.
46 Posted 23/05/2017 at 15:51:17
it's amazing there are 102 teams that enter the first round qualifying with 58 left when we enter in Round 3. With Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Fulham all making it to the final in the last 8 years, it shows English teams have been doing quite well in this competition.
Some fans still scoff at it and don't think we should put much effort into it but in my eyes we've only ever won one European trophy and so it shouldn't be sneezed at. Getting to the latter stages will raise our profile and help us to sign better players the following year.
Wouldn't an all Mersey final be something special when they get knocked out of the Champions League.
47 Posted 23/05/2017 at 15:54:29
48 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:10:04
One thing you can't criticize the man for is that he speaks his mind, whether we like it or not.
49 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:14:29
[I think I'm beginning to like him more now I don't have to watch his awful football for a couple of months...]
50 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:29:06
51 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:30:59
53 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:37:48
I think he is playing psychological games with the "acquisition" team to get their asses into gear and get some players signed.
Seamus and Bolasie are unlikely to be ready so there's two positions requiring cover even if Jonjoe Kenny comes through.
54 Posted 23/05/2017 at 16:46:53
It really is laughable that we have all known for some time now that we would get Euro football, so surely some brainiac at the club will have worked out that we need lots of new players. So Ron tells us straight that we won't be ready just like he did last season.
Of course last time it wasn't his fault, but will the powers that be get their fingers out and land the targets that we need and present our Dutchman with them in time to get fit? If previous years are anything to go by, then the answer will be, No.
I don't know why it is, when we will see other clubs busily signing various fellows that we had been linked with, only for the deal to go cold, whilst a competitor, either above us (Spurs?) or below us (Stoke, Southampton, West Ham) suddenly snap him up from under our noses. Think Slimiani, think Gabiadini, think Bojan, and try not to think... Sissoko!
We now have the much vaunted Mr Walsh on board, so it will be interesting to see if we are any more successful in our attempts.
Or perhaps we will just not have a clue who fucked things up, with Koeman, Kenwright, Moshiri and Walsh all blaming each other.
55 Posted 23/05/2017 at 17:41:54
It's becoming oft-suggested that Koeman might be informing, prompting, pressuring or otherwise trying to influence the board in the matter of player acquisition in his various public utterings.
Really? A huge club/business, billionaire owner, board, director of football and £6 million per year manager, and there's no proper system of internal communication in the matter of transfers into the tens/hundreds of millions?
I don't think so. If that were the case, such a relationship would only end one way.
56 Posted 23/05/2017 at 18:42:35
The quoted piece from his blog post was the following: "You cannot be 100 percent prepared in my opinion in just three weeks, but players need to have a holiday to clear their minds and to overcome the physical demands of a long and demanding season. They need to refresh themselves and build again for the campaign to come. It is a draining experience."
And even here he just says "players", not mentioning that any recently signed players would be even further behind, as they know little about their new team mates...
57 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:26:20
Just be nice for the players to get their attitude right from the start. Let's hope there's a bit of competition for places too so they are not just in the team because we have no-one else.
58 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:29:55
59 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:44:41
I would expect the quality of the opposition in these opening rounds are not as good as the opponents we would have had (one presumes) had we been playing friendlies at this early time of the season.
So why not use these games to get the players fit for the start of the real season? Or am I talking through my derriere?
Don't answer that, thank you.
60 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:45:16
Real Sociedad, Marseille, PSV Eindhoven, Hertha BSC Zenit Saint Petersburg, Dinamo Buchurest, Everton, Krasnodar, Milan, Fastav Zlín, Dinamo Zagreb, Braga, Sparta Prague, Marítimo, Gent , PAOK (CW) Lyon.
This list is incomplete. 8 more teams need to be added as they qualify.
The actual draw to decide who plays who happens in 3 weeks or so.
61 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:46:32
62 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:54:42
63 Posted 23/05/2017 at 19:58:27
Because he and they didn't, they now have to make it their respective responsibilities to be ready (ready at least to win this qualifier) when they are scheduled to play it.
Pretty straight forward as far as I'm concerned.
64 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:16:09
65 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:26:16
66 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:27:51
67 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:31:06
68 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:31:45
If that is what it takes while we are still not nearly as good as what we need to be to play in the Champions League, take it as a step forward! We might get more unsettled players interested in Everton this transfer window, even though Europa League is lesser than Champions League, as we'll be seen more on European TV than if we landed in the non-Europa League spot below us!
Our current Team sucks overall for Top 4 next season, so if Europa League participation will let us use Moshiri's assumed millions available to get more GOOD players see us as viable for more television screenings of their provess, then so be it!
Edit: Hey, we might even get enough players to stop thinking of our available players as the 'First team', and maybe get to where we have more than just XI + some subs...
69 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:31:52
70 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:37:42
71 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:52:26
A point to bear in mind in relation to some of our players as well, as those we might aspire to sign, is that a round of World Cup Qualifying fixtures is scheduled for 9th - 11th June. So players involved in those games must take a 4 week break which means they will not return to training until around 10th July, only 17 days before our first Europa League match.
I guess Koeman would normally consider using one or two of the Under 23 players such as Lookman, Calvert-Lewin and Kenny in the Europa. The potential problem Is if England reach the final or third place play off match in the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea they will also be playing the weekend of 10th - 11th June. So they too will not return to training until around 10th July.
None of this worries me. In all likelihood we will draw a club from one of the lower ranking nations. We should have enough players in the squad to see us through that stage. It will be tougher in the Play-Off Round in mid-August but by then all the players should be ready.
72 Posted 23/05/2017 at 20:58:36
* I'm serious about UCD, we played them in a European tie, many years ago . I was there!
73 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:04:54
74 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:06:16
The prize on offer for winning it is no longer a joke and, even if that wasn't the case, supporters of a club going through a decades long barren spell like ours shouldn't be turning their nose up at an extra tilt at a trophy.
I'd fucking love us to win anything at this point and we should be entering every cup competition with that intention, no matter how realistic our chances.
All this talk of how it will, inevitably, impact on our Premier League campaign in a negative way gets right on my tits as well. Winning can become a habit and a good cup run can breed confidence that can have a positive impact on our season as a whole.
Cry arsing about the number of games, and how our squad will probably fail to cope, comes across a little pathetic and short-sighted if competing in Europe/challenging for Champions League qualification every season is where we want to be.
Koeman's certainly being paid enough to ultimately put the club in that sort of position and a Europa League campaign should be seen as a useful stepping stone to getting his squad acclimatized to competing on multiple fronts, whilst maintaining Premier League form. Not as a ready-made excuse, prepared months in advance, if we subsequently end up mired with the also-rans in mid-table.
75 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:06:20
76 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:14:55
I don't know... Maybe I hit the Wall so long ago I don't even notice it now.
And also I'm with Ian Burns. Ron doesn't quite feel EFC to me as well. I think too many of our people players and management are just too uncharismatic.
77 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:17:09
78 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:19:11
So, you ask, why bother? Same reason a lapsed Catholic like me prays at bad times. No choice. In your soul. But both are always slightly losing places to be? I reckon my God will take me to a celestial victory when I die
79 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:20:20
80 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:25:10
18 months before, Kendall's team were getting booed off, and gates were the lowest in Everton's long history, and he wouldn't play Peter Reid, for some unknown reason?
Football changes quick, and Koeman, is tweeting about exciting times ahead, so maybe he's just found out that Barkley, is definitely off!!
81 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:34:22
82 Posted 23/05/2017 at 21:43:34
Laughing here. Wondering how you came up with that response to the one liner I posted... or where you answering several points from all sorts of different threads?
83 Posted 23/05/2017 at 22:14:53
All 6 of our competitors will be expected by their fan base / owners to do well in Europe we can take it or leave it. Play the same players in the Cups too.
We should make a real worthwhile effort at getting one of those top four places, raise our profile and gets us the players we will need when we move into the new stadium.
Also Please buy Butland the next Neville Southall.
84 Posted 23/05/2017 at 23:24:45
This team wasn't ready to still put in a shift for 38 league matches.
This team wasn't ready to compete away from home.
This team wasn't ready to go on a decent cup run.
This team needs half a dozen winners and leaders to be signed ASAP.
That team should be able to be ready to deal with San Marino's second best.
85 Posted 23/05/2017 at 23:40:45
Unless we have a squad as big as Man Utd's, the Europa League will make us struggle in the Premier League big time. The Europa League will just drain the team of energy and resources.
Have we forgotten Roberto's second season? Look at Southampton this season.
86 Posted 23/05/2017 at 23:56:27
87 Posted 24/05/2017 at 00:22:24
Fuckin' 'ell, Ron, they've been on holiday for the last month already.
Our first game will be on the 27th July that's 8 weeks away.
Is that not long enough? Two weeks in Ibiza then two week getting under the missus feet and they'll be wanting to come back.
That gives them four weeks to run off all the ale and kebabs, get beat by Tranmere and some Third Division side from Switzerland before playing the first leg of the qualifier.
Anyone who says that they don't want us in the Europa League I presume wouldn't be wanting a ticket should we get to the final then?
88 Posted 24/05/2017 at 00:22:53
My point is not about how good we do this next season, but if we can attract the players that we need by having access to the shopping-window that any European competition will be for our potential targets. We all know that we need a bigger squad to achieve anything with both the Premier League and the Europa League on our hands!
We may fail to win anything in the short run, but if we offer some way of broader exposure, these new kinds of mercenaries that we are not used to having at Everton might find us attractive this transfer window. And then we need to build upon that!
89 Posted 24/05/2017 at 00:54:06
There are 58 teams in it. We are currently the 10th seed. Depending who finishes were in France and Spain then we might drop a place or two, but whatever happens we will be seeded. Which means that we cannot face the likes of AC MIlan, Zenit or Feyenoord.
We would also be seeded for the 4th Round Play-Off as well. Unless of course we manage to fuck it up and get beat in the previous round.
90 Posted 24/05/2017 at 01:35:35
Win the League Cup.
Win at Anfield.
Finish 17th in the Premier League.
Job done... I'm happy !.
91 Posted 24/05/2017 at 07:17:28
92 Posted 24/05/2017 at 12:47:46
93 Posted 24/05/2017 at 16:14:31
Koeman is right what he says, it's not a negative just being honest that you can't possibly be 100% after only 3 weeks pre-season training. All the other qualifiers will be in the same boat. I love the European nights and can't wait for it to start.
94 Posted 24/05/2017 at 17:06:43
Yes, we all know it's not the Champions League... but it is part and parcel of our football calendar next season. We know all about the Thursday - Sunday nonsense, the squad stress issues, blah, blah blah. But Honest Ron sees it quite rightly as a stepping stone toward that particular Unholy Grail.
Please, let's see it for what it is: a massive test of the future path forward (I nearly said 'project'!) we have three examples from this season: we can do a West ham, a Southampton... or we can do a Man Utd.
As someone else said, don't come looking for a ticket to next season's final, should we reach that admirable pinnacle and with it the carrot of Champions League entry.
95 Posted 24/05/2017 at 18:31:06
I wish it was us playing Ajax tonight.
96 Posted 24/05/2017 at 19:06:53
We need a Cup, any fucking Cup... play to WIN, BLUES... starting NOW!!!
97 Posted 24/05/2017 at 19:54:12
98 Posted 25/05/2017 at 06:53:23
It's very easy to make jibes that Koeman is being negative. The reality is he's being realistic, unless someone can make a good case for how we could be 100% ready by 24 July and convince me otherwise.
I expect we will be buying and selling well into August, just like the other Premier League teams. As such, we won't be fully up to speed and 100% until early September.
Having said that, the same will apply to the other Premier League teams so that levels things for the league. The Europa is different though as other teams in that competition will work to different timetables based in their own domestic leagues, so I think that's the point Koeman may be getting at.
99 Posted 25/05/2017 at 07:19:44
I really hope we do well in the Europa League. I don't know what the odds are but I reckon we have more chance of winning it than finishing in top 4 (which we were 15 points adrift of this season) so it's our best route into the Champions League potentially.
Initially, the Europa League should offer a great chance to play some of the talented U23 bunch carefully mixed in with more experienced players.
100 Posted 25/05/2017 at 07:39:19
101 Posted 25/05/2017 at 19:01:40
102 Posted 26/05/2017 at 17:52:08
"I got a candy bar!"
"I got some gum!"
Koeman: "I got a rock." 😥
The positivity is just off the charts with this one.
103 Posted 26/05/2017 at 18:17:57
Niasse, Deulofeu, McGeady, Cleverley, £25-30M
McCarthy, Barkley £40-45M
Mori and assorted others £15-20M.
Plus Kone, McAleny out of contract..
So big spending not out of the question, plus frees for Rooney and Martina making sense maybe in that context.
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