Everton have enjoyed a good season and are in the running for a Champions League place. Ronald Koeman says that if team can collect four points in the games against Liverpool and Manchester United, they will most likely achieve a top-four finish.
Koeman says that Everton are ready for the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on Saturday. The team has enjoyed a wonderful run of form losing only game in the Premier League in 2017. The Dutch manager thinks this run can continue. And with enough self-belief the team can achieve a top-four finish at the end of the season.
Koeman has set the team’s objective for the next two games against Livepool and Manchester United. “I believe that yes [four points would see us challenge for the top four],” the manager told Sky Sports.
“We need to show it and depending on the next two results, Liverpool and then Manchester United away on Tuesday, that makes our possibilities until the end of the season more clear.”
“If you look at Everton since the start of 2017, we have had a great run of results. We have had the best results of all the Premier League teams, but we know that Liverpool and Manchester United away are really tough games.”
“But we had a draw away at Manchester City and in my time managing Southampton we won against all the big teams. This Everton team is not less quality than that Southampton team was and it is football.”
“You need to believe and you need to believe in the quality of your team-mates and you need to show that aggression and control your emotions, because that is also a really important part of the Merseyside derby.”
Arguably Everton’s most valuable player this season has been Romelu Lukaku. The striker won the Premier League Player of the Month award for March. The striker is the League’s top goalscorer with 21 goals. He will likely be Everton’s most marked player in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
“I’m really happy, [winning the award] gives me another boost. I think we’re preparing differently this year [for the derby] because, obviously, we’ve had the games with the national team but we’re not really talking about the game,” the player told Everton’s official web site.
“We are in a good flow at the minute, we know that we have to be focused and keep our emotions under control, even though it’s a derby. At the end of the day you want to win, you need to keep your focus and make sure that you get the three points at the end.”
Congratulations, @RomeluLukaku9! The @EASPORTSFIFA Player of the Month for March! #COYB
— Everton (@Everton) March 31, 2017
Amid growing interest from some of Europe’s top clubs, manager Koeman advised the striker to remain one more year at Everton. However, Koeman himself is targeted by important teams. Rumors have him replacing Luis Enrique at Barcelona next season. Koeman is also on the list of potential coaches for the Netherlands’ national team. The Dutch manager did not confirm he will extend his deal with Everton past the current season.