Welcome back for the first pre-match quotes segment of the 2016-2017 season and also new manager Ronald Koeman’s first shot at the media leading into a competitive match. Expect 100% less comments involving words like ‘phenomenal’ and ‘unique’.
When asked about new signing Ashley Williams being ready for Saturday:
“We had to get a new defender and Ashley brings experience, leadership and he knows the Premier League, but is not available for Saturday.
“The League starts this Saturday and it is all about points and winning games.”
The manager would also not be drawn into talk of signing Yannick Bolasie or Lamine Kone, but did have some comments about the teams approach to the rest of the window.
“I don’t comment on rumours. We have discussions with the board and with Steve Walsh.
“We have three new signings and we will do business for three or four new players.
“Phil Jagielka is the captain of the team. We don’t have too many centre backs. We need four so there is no way he can leave the club.”
Koeman also addressed the future of certain players currently with the club. When asked about Romelu Lukaku -
“The club is doing everything to keep the players we want to keep.
“Niasse, in my opinion, is not what we need for the future in that position. But good luck to the boy.”
Everton could be without both Lukaku and Seamus Coleman this weekend -
"Lukaku is doubtful because of the cut from the Espanyol game, Coleman also has a problem as well."
The manager made one more comment about the fitness and preparation of the squad and seemed to be insinuating that the team had suffered under Roberto Martinez.
"We are not at the level we need to be in terms of players or physical state. We are 70% of what we need to be physically."
He said that last season Southampton was at 100% at the beginning of the season, almost squarely laying the blame for their preparation at the feet of Martinez.
It’ll be interesting what Koeman plans formation-wise for Saturday without Williams and likely having to rely on youth players as his reserve CB. That said Koeman did not hold back other than commenting on potential transfer targets. He was honest and refreshing and players can expect to be held accountable for their play and effort this season.