Everton were involved in a drab scoreless draw at Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday, which saw their chances of qualifying for European football fade even further. Despite a multitude of injuries the Toffees had to add another name to the list with Yerry Mina the latest picking up an ailment during the game.
The lanky central defender came up hobbling after stretching to make a sliding tackle in the second half, and speaking after the game, Carlo Ancelotti said it was a muscle issue. while choosing to stay positive.
“Yerry Mina had a muscle problem on his abductor and he will not be available for two-three weeks I think. He will not be available for Friday [against Tottenham Hotspur].
“It is not a good moment. The injured players is this. We have difficulties in this moment but we need to move on.
“We are still in the fight. It is more difficult but we will not give up. It is a strange season with unpredictable results. We can see something in this fight.”
Before the game Ancelotti also added that Abdoulaye Doucoure would have more tests in a couple of weeks, and it’s possible he could return to training should those come back positive.
However, fellow midfielder Jean-Phillipe Gbamin is not as fortunate, with his season over after just a handful of minutes last week against Crystal Palace.
“Listen, we are really, really sad. He was training well, he was showing good quality, he was happy - then back again, another injury.
“He’s going to have a scan, I don’t know how long [he’ll be out] but I think for sure the season for him is finished. But I think that he’s a really strong guy, because he accepted this.
“He’s focused to recover, and I hope that soon he can recover and play. He had, practically, [Lucas] Digne fall down on his knee unfortunately. The knee stayed down and he had this, I think, ligament problem. Medial ligament.”
The bad news for Everton yesterday did not finish there, with on-loan striker Cenk Tosun rupturing his patellar tendon at Besiktas and requiring surgery, effectively ensuring he’ll be out for a few months as well.
The Toffees have now fallen seven points behind fourth-placed West Ham United, and despite having a game in hand, face an uphill battle to make it into the top six.
“Of course, it’s more difficult now, the five, but it is a point. It is a point which through good team spirit, although of course with the ball we could do better, we had difficulties to build up from the back, we missed a lot of passes. We were not able to reach our strikers with efficiency.
“I think that we are still in the fight but like I said it is more difficult. But now in the next eight games that we have to play, there’s a lot to play (for) and teams really close to us and the fight with us, we are still there.
“Of course it is a difficult moment because we have a lot of players out but I hope to recover some players for Friday and fight against Tottenham.”
He also added that Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jordan Pickford, Allan, Andre Gomes & Josh King who all missed yesterday’s game, would be available for the game at Goodison against Spurs. By his own admission, Everton will need five wins in their last nine games, and now that is going to be five wins in the last eight games.