Carlo Ancelotti says James Rodriguez will miss Everton’s home clash with Burnley on Saturday (5.30pm GMT) and revealed Abdoulaye Doucoure could miss the next “eight to 10 weeks” after suffering a “small fracture” in his foot.
Ancelotti stressed that James’ injury is “not a big problem” and the playmaker could be available after the international break.
Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman have returned to training and are in contention for Saturday’s game but Gylfi Sigurdsson is a doubt after sustaining an ankle knock against Chelsea on Monday.
Robin Olsen’s fitness will be assessed on Friday to determine his availability.
Fabian Delph remains out with a tendon issue, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin is continuing his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury.
On James’ injury, Ancelotti explained: “James had problems on his calf in the games against Manchester United and Liverpool. His calf became tight. To avoid this tightness, we prefer to keep him out to recover properly for when he is ready to start to train with the team and play at his best.
“We don’t want him to play [at the moment] because he would risk a bigger injury. We want to avoid this kind of tightness in his calf, which he has after 45 or 60 minutes in games. We have to do a proper recovery and special exercise for him to improve his calf condition.
“We have taken this decision together. We are going to have really important games until the end of the season, we decided to give him a proper recovery and don’t have him play at 70 or 80 per cent fit.
“Of course, the player wants to play, but it’s better for him to solve the problem. That can be after the international break [when he can play again]. I think we can count on him then. It is not a big problem.”
Ancelotti believes a fit and firing James will provide a potent attacking weapon for Everton.
“Our goal – and his – is to give him the possibility to play consistently,” he added. “You have to consider, the last year for him was not so easy. He didn’t play a lot of games. If he is able to play consistently, I think it will be good for our squad
“What he did he in the games he has played for us was fantastic. Also, in the games against Liverpool and United, when his condition was not optimal, he played very well. We are thinking, when he is optimal, he can be the difference.”
Ancelotti admitted Doucoure’s extended spell on the sidelines is a blow but is hopeful he could return before the end of the campaign.
And he is confident the depth of midfield talent within the Everton squad can help the Blues “manage” in the influential Frenchman’s absence.
“Doucoure has a small fracture on his foot so he has to stay out,” Ancelotti said.
“I don’t know how long, maybe eight weeks or maybe 10 weeks. I hope he can recover before the end of the season.
“He is an important player for us.
“But we are not the only club that has had to deal with injuries. In this period, there are a lot of injuries.
“We were able to manage without Allan and Lucas Digne for a long time. We have Tom Davies back, along with Seamus Coleman and Yerry Mina. I think we can manage.”
Ancelotti added: “We don’t have Fabian Delph available for Burnley and we have to check on Gylfi Sigurdsson.
“He had a problem on his ankle during the last game and we will check him in training today [Friday].
“Robin Olsen had a problem physically and started training this week. We have to check today to see if he will be available for Saturday.”