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Koeman comments on Barcelona, Rooney, Lukaku and Bellew

Manager’s pre-match press conference ahead of Spurs trip

Tony Bellew Press Conference
Tony Bellew at Goodison Park
Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Everton travel to London on Sunday to take on Tottenham Hotspur, and manager Ronald Koeman spoke to the media in his customary pre-game press conference.

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Posted by Everton Football Club on 3hb Mac 2017

He was asked about Spurs away providing a different challenge than Sunderland last week who are bottom of the table.

“Maybe, I don’t know. This weekend is no more a test than last week, or it will be in two weeks.

“Every weekend it’s important to be at your best level. We know Tottenham is one of the best teams. They are really strong at home. It’s a challenge to play against a strong team at home, while being yourself and getting a result.”

Koeman was asked if agreed with Mark Hughes, whose Stoke City were thumped last weekend by Tottenham, when he had praised the Spurs attack.

“That’s an easy answer, if you lose 4-0. I saw the game, we will defend differently than they did.

“You need to stop the strengths of Tottenham. They have really good offensive footballers in the team. You need to stop Eriksen, you need to stop Dele Alli, they have two more midfield players, maybe they’ll play three in the back, maybe they’ll play with four defenders.

“A lot of questions. But they will also have those types of questions about how Everton will play and how Everton will prepare for the game.”

With Luis Enrique announcing that he will be leaving Barcelona this summer, the questions about Koeman’s commitment to the Everton project were invariably raised.

“Of course. Every word from my side about Barcelona is too much.

“I won’t speak about Barcelona.”

After Koeman had praised Wayne Rooney on Tuesday in front of the Sky Sports cameras, the footballing world has been alight with rumours on the former Evertonian. When asked if the Blues had made a loan move for the player in January, Koeman was non-committal.

“I won’t speak any more about Rooney. I’ve got questions about him several times, he is a United player and we will see what happens with him in the future.”

Another journalist pressed him on this, asking if Rooney were given to him, would he start the player.

“It’s not a question that I need to answer. I don’t think we can continue with that kind of question because it’s not realistic.”

Everton fan and local boxer Tony Bellew will be taking on former world heavyweight champion David Haye on Saturday night, and Koeman was asked if he would be watching.

“Yeah we arranged to see the fight. It’ll be nice. He’s an Evertonian and we will support him. Let’s hope he will win, and that will be a great result for him. That’s Saturday, and we have to then prepare for Sunday.

“I was (a big boxing fan). In the past I woke up at 5 o’clock in the morning, at that time it was still Cassius Clay and Joe Frazier.”

He was also asked if there was any progress on Romelu Lukaku’s new contract after the player’s agent said this week that it was virtually done.

“I don’t know. No. I haven’t heard anything about that this week.”