Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed many of the players who missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw at West Ham United through injury will also sit out tomorrow’s visit of Newcastle United.
Alex Iwobi remains out with a hamstring problem that has sidelined him for a month, while Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurðsson, who were ruled out of the West Ham draw shortly before the game due to a twisted knee and a groin issue respectively, are also still unavailable.
Though there was more positive news on Michael Keane, who also missed the trip to East London with a neck problem but may recover in time to be included in Tuesday’s matchday squad.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Monday, Ancelotti said:
“Richarlison trained today, but he still feels pain so is not available tomorrow. Iwobi is doing well, but we don’t want to take a risk for the game tomorrow.
“Sigurðsson is out and Michael Keane trained today but was not so comfortable. He will be in the squad and we are going to decide tomorrow.
“We have a lot of games, so the players are not recovering properly, and so to play them is to take more of a risk in this period.
“We are having a busy time, a lot of games, and I think after this game we have a period where we can train properly. On the injury aspect, I think it will be better.”
As for longer-term casualties, midfielders André Gomes and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Ancelotti did not want to put a time scale on their return, but believes both are recovering well from their setbacks.
Gomes suffered a fractured dislocation to his right ankle in November’s 1-1 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur, while summer signing Gbamin has not featured since August due to a thigh injury sustained in training.
“They are training individually. everything is going well, but it takes time. [They had] big injuries, so they had started training, and Gbamin starts some partial training with the team [soon].
“We will see in the next few days.”
Tomorrow’s game will mark Everton’s eighth game in exactly one month, with Newcastle even more decimated by injuries than Ancelotti’s side.
And while Ancelotti acknowledges the importance in England of a festive football programme, he believes the February one-week winter break will be to the benefit of the players thereafter.
“For me, it’s a new thing to have a winter break in February, but in England, the fact that you play in the Christmas period is really important.
“I understand this, but also the fact that there will be a winter break in February can help all the teams to be better at the end of the season, this is for sure.”