Everton vs Atalanta

Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 0comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Davy Klaassen will be hoping for a rare chance to press his claims for more first-team involvement

Everton face Atalanta in what is, for them at least, a meaningless Europa League fixture but which could hand chances to impress for some of the fringe players.

By virtue of their 3-0 defeat in Lyon, the Blues are out of contention in Group E with no chance of progressing but the Italians are joint top with the French side with top seeding at stake for the team that finishes first after the final group matches next month.

Caretaker manager David Unsworth is expected to field some of the players who have not had much game time since he took over from Ronald Koeman last month.

That could include the likes of Davy Klaassen who Unsworth confirmed is fit and available; Sandro Ramirez, who came on as a substitute at Crystal Palace last Saturday; and Nikola Vlasic who has been, arguably, the most perplexing omission from the stand-in boss's plans.

Vlasic was a stand-out performer in the last few games under Koeman who signed him from Hajduk Split on transfer deadline day and scored his only Everton goal to date in the Europa League against Apollon Limassol.

While nothing is riding on the result, Unsworth stressed that the team will go out to win, not only as a matter of expectation but also because it will help in terms of morale where the Premier League campaign is concerned.

“We've needed a bit of fighting spirit. I think when you're in our position,” he said in his press conference at Finch Farm today. “That's what helps you win and put points on the board until the confidence is as high as it should be and the players can start expressing themselves as individuals.

“Now, we can't play as individuals at the moment because we're in a perilous position. What we want to do is add team performances and within that, a strong unity, a team spirit and a desire and fight to win every single game.

“We need to perform and we need to win to get ourselves out of a tricky start to the season and I believe, looking at the performances, looking at the points on the board over the last couple of games, looking at performances in spells — not 90-minute spells where we need to be… but you've got to have those foundations and those building blocks.

“And you need a starting point and I think we've had that and I think we've have got better with each game. The lads have won a game and drawn a game and this is another game we want to win.

“We represent Everton and every time you pull on that famous Blue shirt we have a responsibility to win the game.”

Phil Jagielka is expected to be rested and Morgan Schneiderlin won't figure either while Mason Holgate is ruled out because of a groin problem.

Kick-off: 8.05pm, Thursday 23 November, 2017
Reverse fixture: Atalanta 3 - 0 Everton


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