Carlo Ancelotti would not rule any his quartet of short-term absentees out of tomorrow’s trip to West Brom, but could also not confirm any of them would be ready, either.
Robin Olsen, Seamus Coleman, Tom Davies and James Rodriguez all missed Monday’s win against Southampton, and Ancelotti said he would use Wednesday afternoon’s training session to make a judgement on each of them.
Indeed, as of Wednesday lunchtime, the only players he confirmed Everton will be without are those with longer-term injuries - Yerry Mina, Fabian Delph and Jean-Philippe Gbamin:
“We have training in the afternoon [so] I can’t give to you the precise information about this. We are going to check these players in training if they are available or not.
“Mina, Delph and Gbamin are out, for sure. The others, we have to check today.”
After a nine-day break between the 2-0 win at Liverpool and Monday’s Southampton victory, Everton’s visit to The Hawthorns will be their second game in the space of seven days.
They complete a quick turnaround by travelling to Chelsea on Monday - a potentially pivotal game in their quest for European football, but Ancelotti his and his team’s focus remains solely on West Brom for now:
“Honestly, we are not thinking about the Chelsea game because we have an important game tomorrow.
“It will be a difficult game because it seems West Brom, in the last three games, had lots of consistency. They were unbeaten, they had two clean sheets. So, we are focused there - the Chelsea game will come, but we want to be ready tomorrow.
“We have to be able to manage. We are not complaining about the schedule. It’s true that there are a lot of games. It is a busy time.
“We had nine days before the game against Southampton, so we had time to prepare the team well for this game. No complaints for this. Rotation will be important to avoid injury and to keep all the players motivated.”
Ancelotti also complimented West Brom on their recent run, which has seen them go their last three games unbeaten, keeping clean sheets in the previous two.
The Baggies, who appointed former Blues boss Sam Allardyce as manager in December, sit nine points adrift of safety, but Ancelotti is expecting a stern test from a highly-motivated side who have began to build momentum:
“They fought against United, they won against Brighton. It seems they have more consistency and they are fighting against relegation, so I’m sure they will be really motivated for this game. We have to be strong and motivated.
“I met him [Allardyce] when he was at Blackburn and I was at Chelsea. He’s a good guy. I have a good relationship [with him]; I respect him as a manager. He’s doing a job at West Brom that is not easy.”
Asked whether recent home defeats to similarly lowly sides Fulham and Newcastle act as cautionary tales for this one, Ancelotti said he takes heart from Everton’s eight-game unbeaten run on the road in the Premier League.
And he stressed that, in the top-flight, every game is tough, regardless of your opposition, as Southampton showed on Monday:
“We didn’t do so well with these kind of teams at home. Away, I think the run was good. I hope for the same, but of course, we have to be worried, we have to pay attention, because all of the games are really complicated and difficult. Every game is an example of this.
“Southampton was not an easy game; their run was not so good, but they have fighting spirit, and it will be the same tomorrow against West Brom.”