Blues sweat on Lukaku ahead of opener

06/08/2015  37 Comments  [Jump to last]
Roberto Martinez says Everton are ‘ready’ for the new season but the club are unsure whether main striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit to face Watford.

The Blues face the newly-promoted Hornets at Goodison Park on Saturday before taking on three of last season's most impressive teams in the form of Southampton, Manchester City and Tottenham and the manager admits it represents a difficult start.

“The fixture list hasn’t been too kind to us but we are ready to face a strong challenge in the first 10 games – we face seven of the top 10 sides in the league from the last campaign," he told the media at his first pre-match press conference of the campaign this morning.

“As a team we have to achieve, be successful and do a lot better in the league than we did in the last campaign.

“Last season we wanted to win games early on but we never got that momentum. The experiences of last season will help us immensely.

“I am very excited with the feeling in the dressing room and we know that every game at home we are going to make it a really special place to play our football."

Everton go into the season opener sweating on the fitness of Lukaku, though, who was withdrawn after just half an hour of the second friendly in Scotland against Dundee 10 days ago.

The Belgian appeared to be complaining of hamstring trouble but Martinez insisted at the time that it was just "heavy legs" following a more intense pre-season than the one in 2014. He explained today that Lukaku will be assessed over the next 48 hours to determine if he is fit enough to play.

There was better news regarding John Stones and Kevin Mirallas, however, with both players expected to shake off ankle knocks sustained against Villarreal on Sunday to line up against Watford, while Gerard Deulofeu has "a chance" of being included in the matchday squad if he recovers fully from a hamstring injury in time.

Meanwhile, the Catalan reiterated his need for three more signings before he would feel the squad is completely where it needs to be.

“We’ve given a lot of youngsters a good opportunity and we were able to stretch the squad with two games back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday," he said.

“We know exactly where we are and what we need, which is three players to bring into the squad."

Quotes sourced from Everton FC.com


Reader Comments (37)

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Duncan McDine
1 Posted 06/08/2015 at 14:56:49
So we're "READY"... but we also "NEED 3 PLAYERS". I was feeling quietly hopeful until he opened his mouth. Always sounds like David Brent from 'The Office'. I won't care if we get a win and look like we're giving it a bloody good go from the kick-off.
Dominic Tonge
5 Posted 06/08/2015 at 15:26:48
Well, after watching both of the weekend's games, I beg to differ.

We have only got one striker, the midfield has no creativity and lacks balance, we have more injured players than any other club, we were lucky not to get done by three or four on Saturday, and we look no closer to bringing in reinforcements. The fans are somewhat apathetic to the tepid football on display; oh, and we are skint.

Still, despite an upturn in finances afforded by an increase in TV money, Stones to Chelsea / Man Utd / Man City has been a distraction.

Oh and then there are the rumours of James McCarthy being unhappy with the lack of new deal on offer and bids for KM, who is our secondary goal threat.

But other than that yeah, ready to rumble...... Well, ready to grumble.

Stephen Davies
6 Posted 06/08/2015 at 15:28:14
We are ready?? I was sure I saw him at Big Duncan's testimonial! Maybe I was wrong.

We certainly are not ready, we only improved when we had a target man who was prepared to have a real go at the opposing players; Wayne is not our player and that is one thing we missed.

We had Duncan come on for a cameo and again improved things, but with him his playing 90 minutes are over.

Roberto does not look at the vote that's taking place on ToffeeWeb where he would find out how many fans think we are ready. Oh, I wish we were ready...

Paul Kossoff
7 Posted 06/08/2015 at 15:32:53
93% on here say we aren't ready for Saturday's start, but at least Kev and James are supposedly signing new deals. I bet they will be classed as just like new signings.
Nick Entwistle
9 Posted 06/08/2015 at 15:43:18
Took my usual summer off from all things football. Seems Everton have too. Is there anything I've missed?
Tommy Webber
11 Posted 06/08/2015 at 15:50:38
Talking down any further signings may not be the popular move but may be the difference between 2 or 3 additional players at the end of the window. Upside to this method is we get more in. Downside is we (more times than not) lose out to other teams interested in the same players.

Would be nice if we could just get the players we're interested in for pre-season, if only to see how we'd start the 1st half of the season with a full squad plus backup for injuries.
James Flynn
12 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:00:55
Not arguing with any posts so far. We're 24 hours from the bell being rang.

Let's see what happens. Lukaku or not.

Conor Skelly
16 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:25:50
My interpretation of today's press conference is it's Stones out, potentially 3 in, with anything up to 㿊m to spend.

Expensive experienced replacement for Stones nailed on (Evans). No idea who else we have in mind but hopefully it's another proper Striker in the 㾶-15m range and maybe a really shrewd loan signing to play in the hole, with a view to buy. I could actually see us getting the likes of Shaquiri on loan.

If the rumors of Jimmy & Kev putting pen to paper on new deals are true I would see that as a very good sign that something positive may be about to happen.

Paul Tran
17 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:33:24
Welcome back, Nick. You haven't missed anything of substance. As usual in summer we haven't done enough in the transfer market at this stage. In the preseason games we have played slowly, deliberately and poorly. Lots of people on here seem to think we're going to get relegated and I wish I was a bookmaker.

You made the right choice. Think I'll join you next year. I'm going to judge playing performances from Saturday onwards and transfer performance at the end of the window. I'll leave the speculation to the experts.

David Barks
18 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:35:05
Lukaku's heavy legs still haven't healed. Definitely not a hamstring injury though, of course not.
Ray Said
19 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:47:31
Conor (9),

If we get Shaqiri, he will be on the bench all season. I watched him the few times he played for Inter last season and he was awful. He looked like a player who has forgotten what he can be good at -- beating a man and crossing.

Every time time he got the ball, he ran infield and into trouble; every time he didn't have the ball, he wandered in field and was easily marked. He offered no width, no threat and was no use.

Brent Stephens
20 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:49:35
Nick #5 "Took my usual summer off from all things football. Seems Everton have too. Is there anything I've missed?"

We could probably sum it all up half a dozen lines:
Roberto is crap (more than Moyes). Give him x more games.
Bill is crap (still): where's the money? where's the new ground? where's the new investor?
Osman et al are crap - get rid.
We're linked to x and y - sign them.
Why do we always leave it late in the transfer market.
Pres-season results crap.
This season will be crap. We're doomed.

Or contrary / self-moderated views. Have I missed anything?

Derek Turner
22 Posted 06/08/2015 at 16:58:08
No Nick, nothing changed while you were out, but I am sure you will have returned refreshed, full of your usual optimism regarding all things blue! Watch the heavy legs though if you get into it too soon, we need you fit for Watford.
Jay Harris
23 Posted 06/08/2015 at 17:01:24
I gave up listening to Roberto's comments a long time ago.

The delusion among Everton management is catching.

Bill is "our best salesman".

Roberto is.. well just "phenomenal".

Ray Roche
24 Posted 06/08/2015 at 17:04:00
Brent. The new kit.


Crap.

Conor Skelly
25 Posted 06/08/2015 at 17:08:32
Ray (12) I have my doubts about Shaquiri too, but I wouldn't complain if he was the wildcard loan signing at the last minute. A loan might be exactly what Inter are after. Put him in the shop window of Harrods of the most lucrative market in the world for a season. He's got talent, a bit like Barkley in that he's suffering from analysis paralysis and needs to gain a consistent performance level. Have you watched him for his national side. Quality.

Anyway, getting off the point here. My opinion is we'll see Stones go and get in 2-3 significant signings and one loan of a talented player -- lost his way a bit -- type. Deadline day will be great this year.

Brent Stephens
26 Posted 06/08/2015 at 17:29:24
Jeez, Ray, don't go on about it!!
Nick Entwistle
27 Posted 06/08/2015 at 17:42:06
Thanks for all your answers.

How do you spell one big sigh, herrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhh?

Bill Gall
28 Posted 06/08/2015 at 18:02:41
I am getting a little bit confused about how much Mr Martinez, considering he is a physiotherapist, is actually aware of Lukaku's injury.

On August 1st he gave a statement that, "From a medical point of view, he is fully fit". He followed that up with a comment that I find more confusing: "It is just a case of making sure we give him a good introduction to work with the group, because he has not had a chance to do that yet."

Another one of his quotes I find strange is in an interview with the Daily Mail, in 2012, he is alleged to have said. "I always believe every injury can be avoided plus, I don't believe in soft-tissue injuries. If you get a soft-tissue injury playing football, a mistake has been made."

As Mr Martinez is in charge, as the fitness programmer at Everton, with the amount of pre-season injuries, maybe he should have a good at what is wrong, as prevention is sometimes easier than the problem.

Christopher Kelly
29 Posted 06/08/2015 at 18:09:08
Nick, you could've taken the last 15 years off and it'd be the same. Actually a kind of romantic notion if you think about it.
Denis Richardson
30 Posted 06/08/2015 at 18:09:30
If we're 'sweating' on him and it's now Thursday, that presumably means we shouldn't risk him at all, or have I missed something?

Could be a bluff I guess, mind games with the mighty Watford....

If he's not 100% please do not risk him. Last thing we need is Rom being out for 1-2 months!

Paul Tran
31 Posted 06/08/2015 at 18:15:33
Maybe if he is missing on Saturday, it will make the 'directors' aware that we need quality backup for Lukaku?
Ray Said
32 Posted 06/08/2015 at 18:26:00
Conor (16). I agree he has talent and pace but he wanders and I would not have him playing the wing as he leaves gaps when drawn into the middle. If we got him I would play him in the middle behind the striker and just let him run and shoot.
Craig Mills
33 Posted 06/08/2015 at 19:49:31
"Heavy legs" still not rested enough after 10 days Roberto.....I had a funny feeling he wouldn't be fit for the weekend.

I guess that means we will move onto prolific striker No 2. With 1 goal in 2 years, we make as well player Hibbert at No 9 for what Kone offers.

Ray Said
34 Posted 06/08/2015 at 19:54:23
Chris (20) EFC as Brigadoon-popping up unchanged every few years as the world progresses without us?
Clive Rogers
35 Posted 06/08/2015 at 19:58:10
Craig,

Hibbert is out for 10 weeks.

Michael Polley
36 Posted 06/08/2015 at 20:40:40
Full of apprenshion for this season. Let's just get 3 pts on Saturday by whatever means. COYB !
Steve Cotton
37 Posted 06/08/2015 at 21:47:18
Long up front then... Oh hang on..
Craig Mills
38 Posted 06/08/2015 at 22:00:59
Clive I know, and will still have more movement and probably pose a greater threat to the opposition......
John Malone
39 Posted 06/08/2015 at 22:59:13
I will be gutted if Stoke get that Yarmelenko, he is definitely someone who could bring that bit of magic we are missing: speed, skill and long range goals!

Can someone please explain how Stoke City are eyeing up better talent, have got better contacts at Barcelona, and are spending more money than Everton FC!

Terry Downes
40 Posted 06/08/2015 at 23:18:42
John, easy mate. Peter Coates is their chairman, he also owns Bet365. I would estimate he's about the 6th richest chairman in the Premier League.
Ant Dwyer
41 Posted 07/08/2015 at 01:54:22
If Lukaku is not fit for the Watford game then Roberto has again been found out telling lies. Not that anyone on the planet actually believed Lukaku was holding the back of his leg cos he was heavy legged in the first place.

But if Lukaku had been able to complete 90 mins against Watford, we could and would have swallowed Roberto's verbal diarrhea. Roberto has to learn to treat us with more respect, we all have eyes, we all understand football and the injuries that come with it, and we can all see when our side is good, poor or average.

The biggest disappointment for me apart from Roberto's piss-poor tactics is his utter disrespect for us as fans. Learn to be honest, Roberto, we are not stupid.
Ciaran Duff
42 Posted 07/08/2015 at 05:37:52
According to Physio Room, which is generally fairly accurate, we top the injury list with 9 players. 3 are down to be back this Saturday -- Mirallas, Stones and Lukaku. Actually they sound more confident about Rom than the other 2. Del boy and Besic are down for Aug 15. Let's see what the reality is.
Steve Cotton
44 Posted 07/08/2015 at 13:04:49
If RM admitted that the three named above would definitely miss the Watford game then there would have been a huge demand to get someone in straight away, not wait for 11:55 on the last day of the window. But by telling us they should all be fit he allays the public outcry until the last minute; by then, it would be too late anyway.

If it turns out Lukaku has indeed suffered a hamstring injury and he has tried to kid us knowing only Kone waits in the wings, then I will be severely pissed off.

James Marshall
45 Posted 07/08/2015 at 13:21:32
I sometimes wonder if the fact English isn't his first language is to blame for some of his confusing comments.

My Spanish is shit.

Matt Lavery
46 Posted 07/08/2015 at 21:41:06
...Or perhaps he is an optimist and states that he will be fit (instead of saying there is a good/bad chance of him being fit).

Another reason to keep his mouth shut is perhaps due to the fact that he's not wanting to tell Watford et al that they don't need to train for their game with us with players X, Y & Z in their mindsets, instead they can focus on other tactics and have a better chance of beating us.

I know many of us feel like we "know our stuff", but I am hedging my bets that half of you getting angry don't really know how to manage a football team half as well as you'd like to think you do. Give the man a break; the season hasn't even begun yet!

James Hughes
48 Posted 08/08/2015 at 08:47:01
Has the pitch been watered or is the grass still sticky?

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