Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Everton boss Ronald Koeman seeks to ease expectations: Let's be realistic

Everton boss Ronald Koeman seeks to ease expectations: Let's be realistic

With only one defeat to Stoke in the last five meetings and an unbeaten pre-season schedule that included a 2-0 aggregate Europa League victory over MFK Ruzomberok, Everton will be likely favourites for Saturday's match.

Everton's net spend is, in fact, still barely over £1 million, although £50 million-rated Gyfli Sigurdsson, and another big-name striker, would greatly increase that figure if Koeman signs them before the window closes. You need one or two struggling in this season and maybe you can make the next step.

Morata contributed 15 LaLiga goals despite starting only 14 league games for Madrid last season and Chelsea need him to make an immediate impact, with star man Eden Hazard out for the opening weeks as he recovers from an ankle injury.

But the manager concedes that, for all Everton's shrewd business, it may only allow them to stand still, at least in terms of league position.

Bournemouth conceded 67 goals last season, but the arrivals of Ake and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from Stamford Bridge should improve their solidity as Howe looks to build on last season's impressive ninth-place finish. "If all the big ones are really strong and doing what they need, it is very hard".

"It is hard to replace Romelu Lukaku", he said in Thursday's press conference.

"We know we have spent money but everybody is spending money, everybody is looking for the best players".

Lukaku hit 25 league goals for Everton last season and, with supply coming from the likes of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Belgian should record a similar tally.

Koeman said: "We know it is a tough start but it is all about, in 38 games, getting the points. We brought some players in but we would like to bring some more in".

Everton kick off their 2017-18 Premier League campaign with a visit from Stoke City on Saturday by lunchtime, but they won't be able to call upon the services of midfielder James McCarthy.

Odds of 7-10 look good for a home win.

"A hard game, Stoke City is always a battle", he remarked. Let's hope we get an agreement as soon as possible.

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