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Silva confirms Gueye return for City clash

Manager revealed wantaway Senegalese midfielder will be back for tomorrow’s match against Manchester City

Millwall v Everton - FA Cup Fourth Round
Gueye has missed Everton’s last two matches due to a minor groin problem
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye will return to the matchday squad for tomorrow’s home game against Manchester City, according to manager Marco Silva.

Gueye, 29, was the subject of multiple bids from French champions Paris Saint-Germain last month, and handed in a transfer request in an attempt to push the move through.

With Silva having put his absence against Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers down to a minor groin injury, the manager has now said that Gueye is fit to play again.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference before tomorrow night’s match, Silva said that, while Gueye has recovered, his injured team-mates Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Yerry Mina remain sidelines:

“Just Gana will be back for the match. All of the others aren’t in a condition to be part of the squad for tomorrow’s match.

“Let’s see if Mina in the next few days can be OK for the next match. For tomorrow, no.”

Ahead of a gruelling run of fixtures, which sees all five of Everton’s next home matches against clubs in the top six of the Premier League, Silva said he refuses to look too far ahead, and remains focused only on the Blues’ upcoming opponent.

Everton FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Silva’s side came up short against Wolves on Saturday
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

A dreadful display against Wolves on Saturday saw the Toffees succumb to a 3-1 defeat, their third Goodison loss in their last four home league games, and Silva is demanding a reaction when they host City on Wednesday:

“I really don’t look for what will happen in the next month of the next five or six games at home. Each game will be tough and it doesn’t make sense if you’re looking to them and are scared.

“We have to look, first of all, for ourselves, and it is the right moment for us to do that; what we can do differently and better, respecting all of them [opponents] and to improve on what we did in the last game.

“In the end, if you don’t do that, it won’t be difficult for them, and you have to make things really difficult for them when they are playing with us at home.

After conceding three goals from set-pieces in the FA Cup embarrassment at Millwall last week, the Blues repeated the same mistake against Wolves when Raúl Jiménez headed home João Moutinho’s free-kick to put the visitors back in front.

Everton FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Everton were guilty of more dreadful defending in allowing Jiménez to head home
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Silva admitted that Everton must learn to rectify their errors, and added that he felt the Blues cannot keep gifting their opponents result, as he felt they did to Nuno Espírito Santo’s side on Saturday:

“We are here to tell our players why things are happening. The feedback was clear; each mistake we are making, the opponent can make some damage in ourselves.

“It is the worst thing as a squad if you see a team come here at Goodison, playing against us and, like in the last game, they didn’t need to do something really special because we made things easy for them. It’s really tough for us a squad.

“I told them when we analysed the match it is something we have to do differently. We are playing at home and we have to make things difficult for our opponent. For them to leave our stadium with points in the bag, they have to do something really good.

“Credit to our last opponents [Wolves] because they won the game, but I think we have them more than we must do.”

Silva would also not offer a lack of confidence as an excuse for the Blues’ wretched recent form, which now stands at just three wins in their last 12 games.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
It has been a difficult last few months for Everton
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Again, he challenged his side to improve on doing the basics in football properly, believing that this will spark an upturn in results:

“You are not here to find excuses, but solutions about everything. I can’t speak every single week about confidence or nerves. If you’re here, that means you have the quality to handle this normal thing in football.

“When everything goes well, everything looks easier because it’s normal for our confidence to be at the top. Things come easier; it’s easier to understand everything we’re doing on the pitch.

“We are not. We have to be more assertive, doing the most simple things in football, and never lose the basic things. In the last game, we missed some of them.”

Despite fan unrest growing towards Silva, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri offered the manager a public vote of confidence earlier today.

Silva accepted the current scrutiny on his position, but added that this sort of pressure comes with the territory of being a football manager:

“It’s something I’m feeling since the first day I joined the club. For me, I think when you are in this job, it is normal.

“When you’re winning games in a row, the the analysts normally say good things about you. When the results aren’t what you expect, it’s normal, this type of situation.

“But I think it’s nothing new in our club, if you look in the last three seasons here at Everton. I am here now to talk about the present and nothing more.

“We are always in contact. I know his feelings also. I know what our project is.”

On tomorrow’s opponents, Silva is anticipating a difficult game against Pep Guardiola’s side, who will overtake Liverpool to go top of the league on goal difference with victory over the Blues:

“It will be really tough. When we played against them in December, I told you how it will be tough because in my opinion, it’s clear that their team plays the best football in the Premier League.

“In the last away game [2-1 defeat at Newcastle], they didn’t achieve the best result. We know it will be tough, for sure. They are just a really solid team with strong character.”

Manchester City v Everton FC - Premier League
Gabriel Jesus scored twice in City’s 3-1 win over Everton in December
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Some sections of Evertonians have debated whether they want to see Everton beat City given the implications the result on the title race.

But Silva added that he is not interested in how the result will impact on rivals Liverpool in the search for their first league title in 1990:

“My feelings are not about the title race. We know what our fight is. What about fans want tomorrow is our team winning the game. It’s the most important thing. The title is not important.”