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Silva on Walcott, Emery and zonal marking

Everton manager gave exclusive interview to Sky Sports prior to tomorrow’s trip to Arsenal

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
Silva’s Everton travel to Arsenal tomorrow
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Marco Silva expressed his appreciation towards Theo Walcott after the winger told of how his Everton move has re-energised him.

Walcott, returning to Arsenal for the second time tomorrow since leaving for Merseyside in January, told Sky Sports he feels his career is back on track at Goodison Park now after falling out of love with football at the Emirates Stadium, praising boss Silva as a key factor in his rejuvenation.

Also giving his own interview to Sky, Silva said:

“I think it is really nice to hear these words from Theo. I think the club, not just the coach or his team mates support him to enjoy football again, to feel how he is important for the club.”

Silva was also asked about the polarising issue of zonal marking, the subject of much debate among Evertonians after watching their side concede six goals from set-pieces in the first six games of the season.

With Silva opting to employ this strategy, rather than the simplified and traditional tactic of man-marking from set-plays, the Blues appear a long way from perfecting this craft. But the Toffees manager defended his decision, adding:

“It’s normal they [the fans] ask because they don’t like the team conceding goals and the saw the team conceding in the first games from set pieces. For me it’s normal they will try to ask the coach why.

“It’s not because you are marking zonal or man-to-man. It’s a matter of doing the right things to keep focused because even last season here they have two different situations, zonal with one coach [Ronald Koeman] and man-to-man with the other [Sam Allardyce] and they conceded goals in the same way.”

Deadline-day signing Yerry Mina is still awaiting his first appearance in royal blue since his £27 million deal from Barcelona due to a foot injury sustained while representing Colombia in the World Cup.

But Silva is confident the central defender, now in first-team training, will alleviate Everton’s defensive woes once fully fit, saying:

“If you are talking about set pieces, with his size [6ft 4in] it is something he has to do.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s clash in North London, Silva also praised new Arsenal manager Unai Emery who, after losing his opening two matches, has now won four consecutive games in all competitions:

“He is building a new process there as well and I am doing the same here.

“The team now is in a better condition. It is normal, this situation, and it will be a tough game as well.”