Benitez Outlines Cup Approach

Everton manager Rafa Benitez says while there are a number of factors to consider, he will field the strongest side available to him for the Carabao Cup second round clash at Huddersfield Town.

The Blues head to the John Smith's Stadium on Tuesday evening (7.45pm BST kick-off) on the back of a positive start to the season, following a win over Southampton on the opening day and a draw on the road against Leeds United last time out.

Benitez, who has guided three of his previous clubs to domestic cup success as a manager, has been without a number of his First Team squad for the opening two Premier League games as they continue to self-isolate in line with COVID-19 protocols.

The depleted squad has, in turn, placed added pressure on those available for action - and Benitez says he must take workload and fitness levels into account ahead of the trip to Yorkshire.

"I would like to go through, I would like to play a strong team and compete and go through – yes, I would like to do that," said Benitez, after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Elland Road. "Can I do it? We will have to wait, because we have to see if we have any knocks, injuries or any problems. 

"I don’t want to lie - I said so many times. It depends on the squad, it depends on the situation [what team I will be able to select].

"Obviously, when we play games with this intensity, we have to take that into account.

"We were also talking about Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] earlier [and his toe injury ahead of the season].

"We have some players in isolation, so we have to see when they come back and how they will be. Obviously, 10 days without training with the team, it is not easy to be fit for a competition game, it could be a risk. 

"We have to analyse all these things before we reach that decision.

"Let’s see how the players feel. I would like to go through, do well, and I will try to pick a team that can do it.

"The schedule is too short now for us. Remember, our players they are coming back late, a lot of them, from the Euros, Copa America and Olympic Games. 

"We have to consider all these things and still we are looking for solutions, different players until 31 August."