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Koeman offers hints towards team selection ahead of Europa League tie

Toffees insists he will play his strongest possible side on Thursday

Everton FC v Hajduk Split - UEFA Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: First Leg Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Everton boss Ronald Koeman insists he has no plans to field a weakened side for Thursday’s Europa League tie against Apollon Limassol.

The Toffees are looking for their first group stage victory after an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Atalanta a fortnight ago.

But with an important Premier League game against Burnley to come on Sunday it was suggested Koeman could rotate his squad.

However, Koeman was quickly to dismiss such suggestions when they were raised by a Cypriot journalist during his pre-game press conference.

The journalist said opponents Apollon Limassol would rest players as their priority is their domestic league, something given short shrift by Koeman.

“The most important is always the first one. I don’t choose because I believe to win both games.

“I believe in all the competitions. We have a lot of different competitions but I think it is not the moment for tonight because we had a bad result against Atalanta.

“You have a squad available and doubts about several players. The team will be the strongest one of the players available. Even teams who plays some players doesn’t mean that the team is weak.

“They will put a strong team in because it is important for a team from Cyprus to be in the competition. I don’t believe they will put a weaker team in.”

Koeman was quick to acknowledge Apollon’s impressive performance in their opening group stage draw with Lyon.

He also admits that his side still have a lot of improving to do, but still has full belief in his players.

“I know we need to improve. But I am not worried because I believe in the qualities of our strikers. Maybe we know now what we need to change to create more.

“I think you’re worried if you don’t have good players. We have good players. I hope the answer to his question is tomorrow after the game.”

“They had a good point against Lyon at home. It’s important to be part of Europe. It will not be an easy game. They are aggressive and like to press.

“More important is about ourselves tomorrow. We need to play better, more aggressive, we play at home and we need to win.”