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Everton face toughest Christmas schedule

Silva more concerned about avoiding injury to his key players

Everton FC v Watford FC - Premier League
Two home games book-end a busy holiday schedule for Everton
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

If you were looking to avoid family and festivities by watching football during this holiday season, then you are in luck because starting tomorrow you will be hit by a barrage of Everton coverage. Four games in ten days, to be precise. We’ll be writing a match preview for the next game even before we finish the tactical analysis for the previous game, and there’ll be press conferences and media snippets galore to fill in the cracks in between as well when the Toffees are not actually on the pitch.

Speaking to the Echo yesterday ahead of Sunday’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur, manager Marco Silva remained stoic over the vagaries of the fixtures computer.

“I don’t know if the right word is unfair but what I can tell you - and some of you have already written about the situation - this is the toughest scheduled.

“It is not the best thing for us. My opinion is that the schedule is really tough for us and when you look at all the Premier League clubs then ours will be the toughest.

”But the games are already decided and so my job is to prepare our team the best we can and get the best results we can for our club.

”If it is unfair or not, I don’t want go in this way but if you ask me if I would prefer something different then, of course, I would prefer something different.”

After the game on Sunday, the Blues make the short hop to Burnley on Boxing Day Wednesday, and then the long haul south to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday before returning to home comforts against Leicester City on Tuesday, which is New Year’s Day. That’ll make it a total of four games in 212 hours, similar to what Tottenham will face too, with Liverpool on the opposite end of the spectrum playing their four fixtures over 312 hours, equivalent to four more days.

Silva’s focus however will be to ensure that none of his key players go down injured during this hectic time.

“I think everything we have achieved until now, most of the time we have had all of our players available, if you forget the first month or month and a half when one or two players came with problems.

“But everything started to settle and we started working in the way I want, the things are going in a good way and almost all of the games we have 90% of the players ready which is a very good number in the Premier League because the Premier League is really tough.

”I hope nothing will happen but we have to analyse the games and the conditions of our players and make the right decisions.

“The time to rest in some moments will not be enough for them to be in very good conditions. But it is up to us to make them rest in the right way, prepare well and recover for the next match.”

James McCarthy is fully fit again and available for selection but there was no word yet on whether Idrissa Gueye was ready to play again after missing last weekend’s trip to Manchester City.

Richarlison and Andre Gomes both had minor illnesses and missed the team’s annual holiday visit to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, but will be fit to play tomorrow.