Everton manager Sean Dyche met with the media earlier today ahead of this weekend’s return to Premier League action, the game against Manchester United, and the chance to get on with football rather than talking about the injustice of the points deduction!
Dyche’s rundown of the player availability did not look good for Amadou Onana who had returned from the Belgium team early after having missed the first match and then withdrawing for the second. The calf injury, which saw his time limited against Crystal Palace after missing the Brighton game continues to be an issue and Dyche said that, “Ama’s calf, I don’t think it will be right. It’s still sore.” The good news is that it is a Sunday match so we will see closer to the kickoff.
As for his other absentees:
“The other lads, three of them had a game in the week including Lewis Dobbin who is slightly younger but the three older boys, Ben, Keano and Seamus all played so that’s good getting them some minutes and Seamus came through no problem. I spoke with him about it, I think when you’ve had a long-term injury, that 90 minutes is sort of the final marker really.”
Long term absentees Dele Alli and Andre Gomes continue their rehab with both players now out of the treatment room and working on the grass which is another step forward.
“Andre is back on the grass with us which is good. He’s had a very frustrating season so far but he’s back on the grass with us. He needs a bit of time, he needs games obviously but he’s back around it.
With Dele, it’s good to see him back on the grass. He’s still tentative at the moment on the sports science side of things in regards to not joining up with us but he’s doing a couple of warm-ups and just feeling his way back in. It will be really pleasing if we can get him fit as well and he can get himself fit.”
Throughout this chaos, the one constant has been the calm demeanor of the gaffer. From the moment that he arrived on the scene last season he has constantly focused his attention on the growth of the players and the need to work together and work hard. He has also kept the players on an even keel whether there were struggles like the beginning of the season or successes as there have been recently.
The points deduction has most certainly got the Dogs of War mentality being called for but the players, in Dyche’s mind have to keep focused on the job that they have had since the manager arrived.
“It doesn’t change the focus. The focus since I got here has been sorting things out on the pitch. Getting the team to win, getting the team to feel different, the performances to feel different. We were on the right lines for that, then this has given us a push backwards but only to come forward again. The job hasn’t changed.”
This press conference was the first time that Dyche has really spoken about the FFP decision:
”Like everyone in these parts, I was shocked [by the decision]. The wave of noise after that suggests most people around football are shocked. The enormity of it, disproportionate is a word that has been used by the Club. Obviously, we are going to feel aggrieved by that.”
“All the senior boys are rallying and saying, ‘It is what it is, let’s get on with it’. So that has been the clear message from me to the players and them to each other. Let’s take it on, let’s take on the next challenge. There’s been plenty of them since I have been here, so let’s take them on.”
On Sunday, the fans will have their opportunity to show our disgust at the decision and show our support for our team.