Silva: Hard-Working Toffees Ready For Step Up In Opposition

Marco Silva says he is looking forward to the test his players will receive when their pre-season preparations take a step up in Portugal this weekend. 

The Blues are due to fly out for the Algarve Football Cup, where they will face French side Lille on Saturday (8pm BST), before taking on Portuguese champions Porto 24 hours later (Sunday, 8pm BST). 

A deliberately exacting pre-season schedule has meant double sessions for the first team at USM Finch Farm, as well as an exhausting training camp at high altitude in Austria. 

Despite that the Toffees followed up their 22-0 runout against ATV Irdning on Saturday with a dominant performance in a 1-1 draw at Bury on Wednesday. 

And Silva is now eager to see how his charges fare when faced with two games in two days against higher calibre opposition. 

“What we wanted was something more competitive and for the level of our opponents to grow,” he said.

“I know this week will be a good and hard week for us. 

“[On Tuesday night ] the boys did a double session and [on Wednesday morning] we prepared as well for this friendly match. 

“Some of them are a little bit tired, which is normal now, but we have two days to prepare for the tournament in the Algarve.

“It will be hard because we'll play two games in two days but it is good and it's what we want for this moment in pre-season.”
The hectic schedule does mean Silva and his medical team will continue to keep close tabs on the players and judge their work loads accordingly. 

The Portuguese revealed Theo Walcott and Ademola Lookman missed the trip to Gigg Lane because of minor knocks sustained in Austria, with the decision taken not to push the pair with only two and a half weeks to go until the new Premier League campaign begins. 

“Theo Walcott's injury is nothing [serious],” Silva added. “In the last session in Austria he hurt his ankle but it is nothing [serious] and in a few days he will start with us again.

“The other one is Lookman but it is nothing [serious] as well. 

“It is pre-season, it's normal and small problems that happen to the players but we need to manage this situation because what is important is the first Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.  

“Now is not the moment to take risks with the players.”

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