After the tepid display last week in front of the home crowd at Goodison Park, there is a glimmer of hope that the creativity that Jack Harrison brings to the team may soon be seen in Everton blue.
“Not to start. He’s back on the grass, he’s had quite a long-term situation – he’s going very well I must say, he’s very clear-minded – and his fitness looks good but no, he’s not ready to go yet. We’ve just got to delay him a little bit. He’s been out for a few months but he’s looking fit, he’s looking sharp.”
A mixed message for sure with Dyche alluding to an appearance off the bench but also saying that he is ‘not ready’.
Dwight McNeil returned to the starting lineup last week against Arsenal:
“Now it’s getting that final piece of the fitness right. Dwight is only just back fit really, he probably went in a little bit quick. If I’m being honest, I asked a lot of him in the last performance but he’ll get true fitness coming quickly.”
The news was not so encouraging for Seamus Coleman who continues to rehab after his end of the season knee injury.
Dyche is looking forward to the return of his captain but there is no question that his role in the team extends far beyond the pitch.
“[Coleman] is not with us yet training but he is out on the grass though so he’s making progress but he’s not yet with our group. He’s great around the place. He’s always around, I’m chatting with him, he’s chatting with the group, the fantastic professional that he is. He’s always around and about and his opinion is always welcome.”
The manager was also feeling buoyant about the return of his more experienced players like Harrison, McNeil and Calvert-Lewin.
“I think it will certainly help from the depth of the squad and the competitive element of the squad with all due respect to the young players who have been involved heavily in pre-season because of injuries and players leaving the club et cetra, the market and all the other stories. They’re learning, they’re maturing and some of these players are in advance of that of course like with Jack and Dwight [McNeil] when he’s fit – properly fit I mean – and Dom.”
Another interesting moment came when Dyche was asked whether he would be open to using two strikers up front now that Calvert-Lewin and Beto are available and fit. There is no doubt that playing a 4-4-2 has been the most used formation during Dyche’s managerial career. The question is whether this preference will be seen sooner or later. Clearly, our lack of goals is calling for the former.
“I’ve always liked playing with two strikers, but it’s got to suit the rest of the team where possible. You’ve got to have the players that can work in midfield, but I do like two strikers when I can.”
The gaffer was also reflecting on the team’s predicament in the table with only one point from five games.
“The other games I think have been good performances, I think the margins have been tight. The two obvious ones, Villa we were miles off, second half particularly with Arsenal we lost our way. There is a lot of good in it but the league table doesn’t lie. I can’t change my tune when you’re going well and when you’re not.
The underlying story is better than the league table says but at the end of the day we are the only ones that can change that. I am under no illusion we have to change that. Sometimes you want to play well, if you don’t and you win then at this stage you take it.”
Check out Sean Dyche’s full press conference here: