Ronald Koeman looking forward to facing pal Pep Guardiola

Comments from Ronald Koeman’s pre-match press conference ahead of Everton’s trip to Manchester City.

Ronald Koeman looking forward to facing pal Pep Guardiola
Photo: Getty Images

Ronald Koeman is looking forward to taking on his old friend Pep Guardiola on Saturday as Everton take on Manchester City.

Everton have improved under Koeman and faced some tough tests but there is no bigger test in the Premier League than Guardiola’s Manchester City team. 

The Blues travel to the Etihad Stadium on the back of an international break that could actually have a positive impact on them for once. Getting to grips with Koeman’s new style of play is no easy feat as Everton are being asked to press more than before. 

The Dutch boss has already admitted that his side can continue to improve in that facet of the game and has looked to hammer that point home. Speaking to the assembled media at Finch Farm, Koeman once again said: “We need to press our opponent.” 

Koeman on facing Manchester City

Manchester City have already made strides under Pep Guardiola but Koeman believes his side have a chance on Saturday. Plenty of teams have succumbed to Guardiola’s attacking style, something the Everton boss doesn’t want his side to fall victim to.

Koeman said City are “impressive” in the way they play football and “it is difficult for defending” but he is looking to use the example set by Tottenham Hotspur on how to counteract City’s play.

Photo: Getty Images

Facing John Stones

The transfer of John Stones is a rare one in football, in terms that it worked out for both teams. City got a defender who has huge potential and fits right in with the managers' plans.

Meanwhile, Everton got a handsome sum for a player who they could replace immediately for a short term gain.

Koeman wasn’t able to work with Stones for a long time but saw enough to back him as a top player. Of course, questions about Stones facing Everton are always going to be asked but Koeman is backing his former player.

The Everton said the fact that Stones fits in with Guardiola’s philosophy is “one of the good qualities” about him.

He added that it can be difficult for defenders to defend with lots of space behind them and that is something his side will look to use to their advantage. 

Injury report

Romelu Lukaku has shaken off a thigh injury and will be fit for the trip to City. Everton are also likely to have captain Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines fit and available.

Baines has missed the last few games with a hamstring injury and Koeman will be looking forward to welcoming him back. Bryan Oviedo has filled in at left-back but he hasn’t had the same impact as Baines.

Everton will also welcome back Darron Gibson from injury. James McCarthy played for Ireland during midweek but needs a break after Koeman said he was “overworked.”

Manchester City are likely to have Sergio Aguero available but Kevin De Bruyne may face a late fitness test.