Allan Sets Twin Everton Targets

Allan is targeting a bountiful conclusion to his debut Everton campaign to wipe out the frustration of three months on the sidelines.

The Brazilian midfielder hit the ground running at Goodison Park following a summer switch from Napoli but had his stride checked by a hamstring problem sustained back in December.

He returned for Everton’s Premier League victory over Southampton on the first day of this month and started his team’s past two matches.

Allan, who had eight years in Italy prior to his Goodison move, insists he was speedily getting the hang of English football – and began 12 of Everton's opening 13 league games before being hurt in a win at Leicester City.

The 30-year-old is poised to feature in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester City.

And he wants to marry a convincing tilt at the knockout competition with qualifying for Europe via Everton's final league position.

"We know this competition is a priority – it is important and an opportunity,” said Allan.

“We will give our all, our everything – we need to think, we are only three games from winning a trophy.

“We will aim to do our best and prepare very well and with the quality we’ve been showing in training, we will, hopefully, get a positive result.

“We will fight for both possibilities [Cup success and European qualification through Premier League placing], we can’t choose, we will take things game by game and try to put in great performances.

“God willing, we can… qualify for Europe to give joy to the Everton fans.

“It was a difficult time when I was not able to get on the pitch and help the team.

“I had a really strong desire to get back but… the team did well without me and had some important victories.

“Before the injury, I was growing into games and putting in some great performances.

“That was interrupted – but with day-to-day training and playing games, the momentum will be coming back.

“I have to make the most of the international break [covering the fortnight following the City match], do the physical work to recover this momentum, then put in good performances.”

Allan, an Italian Cup winner with Napoli last term, was in the closing stages of his recovery when Everton hosted City in the Premier League four weeks ago.

That game was level at 1-1 with 63 minutes on the clock – after Richarlison cancelled out Phil Foden’s opener – but the away team pulled clear with terrific strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva.

Pep Guardiola’s team have been a model of consistency either side of their February Goodison visit, winning 24 of their past 25 matches across the competitions.

But Allan saw enough in the way Everton competed with City to enter this weekend’s meeting in a confident frame of mind.

“We know about the quality of Manchester City and they are having a very good season but Professor Carlo has prepared us really well and, the way we have been working during the week, I think we will have a great game,” said Allan.

“I watched [the Premier League match] from home, supporting my teammates.

“We had a very good game, Manchester City won with plays from Mahrez and Silva, if it wasn’t for those moments of individual brilliance, we could have drawn.

“We marked well and played well on the counter-attack and we should bring those good things into the game on Saturday – as well as making some adjustments to help each other out in one-on-one situations, because we know the quality of individual Manchester City players.”

Allan left Vasco da Gama in his homeland for Udinese in 2012 and swapped to fellow Serie A club Napoli three years later.

The competitiveness of English football, he says, is unrecognisable from anything he’s previously encountered.

But the South American is rapidly acclimatising on and off the field.

“Fortunately, I have been able to adapt and settle into English football really well,” added Allan.

“I understand a lot [of the language], in team meetings and talking to my teammates and can communicate.

“I have been having classes and am hoping to be strong with my English as soon as possible.”

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03:05 Fri 19 Mar 2021


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