Koeman's fitness boost ahead of Black Cats clash

Thursday 23 February 2017  16 Comments  [Jump to last]

Romelu Lukaku has trained the last three days and will be available to face Sunderland

Ronald Koeman looks set to have Kevin Mirallas and James McCarthy fit again for Saturday's visit of Sunderland while Romelu Lukaku has also resumed training.

Both Mirallas and McCarthy missed the goalless draw with Middlesbrough the weekend before last with minor complaints but have trained as normal this week after travelling with the group to Dubai.

Lukaku missed the Blues' warm-weather training camp because of a calf problem for which he sought specialist treatment in his native Belgium but Koeman confirmed that the striker has trained the last three days and will be available to face the Black Cats.

The manager also gave promising updates on Muhamed Besic who he says is working well and on course to return from his long-term knee injury in the coming weeks while young forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be back in training on Tuesday.

Koeman spoke of how pleased he was with the trip to the Emirates which he explained was really beneficial in terms of both physical conditioning and an opportunity for the squad to spend time together following the recent additions to its ranks.

“The group has changed a lot if you compare it to pre-season,” the Dutchman explained. “I think we have 7, 8 new faces in.

“We have changed a lot and I think it was important to bring the group together because you spend more hours of the day together than you do in a normal week.

“You have time to talk to the players and that was really good. It was a good week.”


Reader Comments (16)

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Jay Harris
1 Posted 23/02/2017 at 17:20:24
Good news all round.

Lets hope that continues on Saturday and let the talk be about this squad of players instead of a Man Utd reject currently monopolising all the posts on TW.

Will Mabon
2 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:16:27
In their up-and-down inconsistency, Sunderland are still capable of a desperate, match-winning performance out of nowhere. Having McCarthy in midfield to hamper their efforts will be a great advantage.
Minik Hansen
3 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:17:01
The trip is only good. Though, I remember two seasons back, when there was a warm-weather training, the lads struggled in the next game; here's to hoping the opposite, on all cylinders this will be Everton's game. COYB.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:23:33
Will (#2), that's assuming Macca's in the lineup. Not a certainty by any means with Gueye back.
Steavey Buckley
5 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:30:18
When McCarthy has played in his last 3 games, Everton have been brilliant. Yet, there are Evertonians who wanted him sold. They appear to have been watching a different McCarthy than the one I see.
Will Mabon
6 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:41:04
Mike, post 4 - of course. I'm thinking we should have enough up front to worry Sunderland's "Defence" regardless of the intricacies of formation – which means McCarthy should be used to dispirit them and prevent them getting going.

On recent form, he's the best we have for that. Depends on how he's progressed in fitness following the recent injury. Over to Koeman.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 23/02/2017 at 18:48:03
Steavey (#5)... to be fair, we're all watching a different McCarthy than the one we saw earlier in the season. His form was pretty poor. I was never among the "sell Macca" brigade but I wasn't calling for more playing time either.

Glad to see him return to previous form.

Steavey Buckley
8 Posted 23/02/2017 at 19:00:32
Mike (#7),

Everton's midfield, including Gueye, against Middlesborough was quite poor except for the performance of Tom Davies.

When McCarthy played last against Bournemouth before he was injured (again), Everton were in cruise control and 3-0 up. But when McCarthy came off, it was a different game of football, and the Everton midfield lost the plot again.

But, if McCarthy is fit, he should be a certainty to play against Sunderland. No ifs or buts.

Tony Hill
9 Posted 23/02/2017 at 19:55:25
Same against Liverpool, of course, Steavey.
Christy Ring
10 Posted 23/02/2017 at 20:13:38
Steavey (#8), Macca's biggest fan here, could never understand the abuse, and comments wanting him sold. James was burnt out under Martinez, never got a chance to rest, and rushed back after injury.

Koeman didn't like him at first, because he missed preseason with injury. When he regained full fitness, his performance against Arsenal was the Macca of old; it turned our season and changed Koeman's opinion completely.

Ernie Baywood
11 Posted 23/02/2017 at 22:36:33
The Martinez effect went beyond that, Christy. McCarthy was never going to suit that style. We played a slow passing game. Regardless of whether that could work or not, it negated McCarthy's strengths and played to his weaknesses. Gana Gueye would have struggled to get involved in games in that side.
John Malone
12 Posted 23/02/2017 at 00:21:53
I would like to see a 3-5-2 formation against Sunderland on Saturday with Mirallas and Davies in the team but the headache for Koeman (for me) is where does Gueye fit in??

Gueye has been one of our best performers earlier on in the season but if I'm being honest I think we have looked a better team with Tom Davies in the side since Gueye left for the afcon. Davies looks to have more of an attacking threat and a has a better passing range than Gueye.

Schneiderlin has been class since he came into the side and Barkley's form has improved since he has had Davies to link up with. Also Jimmy mac has impressed since returning from injury; it really must be a headache for Koeman to pick a team!

It's inevitable Sunderland will park the bus and counter attack us so for me that means we need two up front and we need to get in behind down the channels. The last thing I want to see is three defensive midfielders at home to Sunderland!

Funes Mori

Ernie Baywood
13 Posted 24/02/2017 at 02:21:47
A nice headache. It's good that we have a few players who can fill the midfield roles but I wouldn't be changing shape to accommodate them all. Balance is a precarious thing to manage.
Gareth Clark
14 Posted 24/02/2017 at 05:07:32
I'd go three at the back:

Holgate, Williams, Funes Mori;
Coleman, Idrissa, Schneiderlin, Baines;
Barkley, Lookman;

Subs: Stekelenburg, Jagielka, Barry, McCarthy, Davies, Mirallas, Valencia.

Might start Mirallas ahead of Lookman, I'd be happy with either.

Kieran Jones
15 Posted 24/02/2017 at 09:32:07
A repeat of the 7-1 a few seasons ago, lads?
Jay Harris
16 Posted 24/02/2017 at 14:55:59
I think this game will be a bit physical so I would go 3 at the back with Gueye, Davies and Schneiderlin in midfield, with Barkley and Lukaku, and bring Lookman on second half when we've softened them up.

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