Koeman column: Blues boss downplays Tottenham tussle

Sport360 staff 23:15 04/03/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • The Dutch legend is writing for Sport360.com.

    The question has been asked this week if our game against Tottenham represents some kind of extra test of Everton, as if it is different to the other challenges we have faced already this season.

    My response has been the same to everyone. This is a tough challenge against a strong team at home and we will need to be at our best level, but this is the same no matter who you play in the Premier League.

    Such is the strength of the Premier League now that you have to be positive and aggressive in your play, do the right things and concentrate throughout the 90 minutes against every team.

    Every weekend is a test against a team fighting for the title or for the Champions League or Europe or to stay in the Premier League.

    This is one of the 38 games and I don’t believe it’s a different test to any other.

    Of course, Tottenham are strong. They have a really good football team with really strong individual qualities in some players.

    Sometimes they change the system and you don’t know what you can expect. But this is the same with Everton.

    We are also strong and we can keep teams guessing, too, about the way we will be organised and how we will approach the game.

    There is a lot of positivity around the team and around the club. We’ve made a really strong start to 2017, with some good results, some clean sheets and this has given everybody a good, positive feeling.

    The momentum is good with us right now, but there’s still a lot more to come.

    Every team has suffered a difficult period during this season. We had that period in October, November and we recovered from it well.

    We showed our character when we had to and the fitness of the team has remained on a high level.

    When you come in to manage a football team you need to time – time to understand the character of the players and the players need to understand how the manager will work, the system of play, the demands for intensity in training, all of these factors.

    Little by little we have changed some important things in the team and we made good signings in the summer, as well as in January.

    Take young Ademola Lookman, whom we signed from Charlton Athletic mid-season. This is the kind of player who is the future of Everton.

    He is the perfect example of the fact that if you are good enough you will play. Tom Davies is another.

    It’s really encouraging that the club has some good, young boys coming through and, as a team, this is what we want.

    Morgan Schneiderlin also arrived with us in January and, with him, I knew what we would be getting in the player, for I worked with him at Southampton.

    He is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League in my opinion. I’m really happy that we have Morgan in the Everton team.

    He showed from the beginning his qualities, his commitment to the club and to the team and, alongside the likes of Idrissa Gueye, Gareth Barry, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy and others, we are strong in an important area of the pitch to try to play the kind of football which Everton fans want to see and to create chances as a team.

    It will be interesting, of course, to say two players who are right of the top of the Premier League’s goalscoring charts in Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane.

    But Sunday’s game will be about the two teams and how we adapt to the imperatives of the game and attempt to gain the upper hand. We look forward to the challenge.