Game-By-Game Approach Suits Koeman

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Ronald Koeman insists the only prioritising he is doing is on Everton’s next game.

The Blues will fight on four fronts this season both domestically and in Europe, and face Hajduk Split in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday. They then face trips to Manchester City and Chelsea either side of the away leg against the Croatians next week.

With the Carabao Cup campaign set to begin next month, Koeman will have to manage his squad carefully but has rejected any notions he will prioritise one competition over another, with his focus solely on taking it game by game.

“Of course it is difficult because after tomorrow we have three away games in five or six days and we need to travel to Croatia,” he said. “That makes it even tougher for the Sunday game afterwards. 

“But we are at a good physical level at the beginning of the season. It is tough but we will go game by game. 

“We wont be preserving people for Monday [against Manchester City]. We want to be in Europe and we will put a strong team in for the game tomorrow and after tomorrow we will think about what the best option is to get a result against City.

“We have prepared the same as we always do. We have not given the game any less attention than we would for Monday. I like to win the game and to reach the group stage. Thursday is more important than Monday and after, Monday is more important than next Thursday. That’s how we need to be.”

Everton have already experienced a midweek European game followed by a Premier League fixture at the weekend in the previous round, with the trip to MFK Ruzomberok preceding the league win over Stoke City. 

Koeman admits the schedule can be challenge but will not be distracted from picking his strongest team for each game.

“We know English teams have some problems,” he added. “I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover.

“I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”
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