Ronald Koeman’s side have made visible improvements but are now five games without a win and six without a clean sheet. The Dutch boss will be looking to right the ship this Sunday with a return to Goodison Park.
During the game against the Hammers, Everton will honour former manager Howard Kendall who passed away last year.
Kendall, the Blues most successful manager of all time, is a key figure for any new manager to aspire to be like and Koeman echoed a similar sentiment to those managers that came before him.
Speaking to the assembled media at Finch Farm, Koeman said: “It’s nice to see how the fans are involved in giving a lot of attention to him, he deserves that” before adding “I hope one day I will be successful as him as a manager.”
Koeman on Wayne Rooney
For many years, the return of Wayne Rooney to Everton has been a question of when not if. Rooney had a brief return last summer when he took part in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial game against Villarreal and many Blues fans suspected that would be it.
Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez welcomed Rooney’s presence that day but was never pressed about a further, permanent return for the former Everton forward.
Koeman, unlike his predecessor, welcomed questions about a Rooney return, saying that if there was ever a “possibility of Rooney at Everton” he would be “very pleased.”
Koeman on making further improvements
The Everton boss has already shored up a previously porous defence but has to find a balance between defence and attack. Statistically, the Toffees have the second best defence in the Premier League but still look to solely rely on Romelu Lukaku for goals.
Koeman said he is “happy” with the defensive organisation but he is “not happy" with the offensive aspect as Everton need to be “more clinical” and have “more productivity.”
Leighton Baines and James McCarthy will both miss this weekend with hamstring injuries. Baines was expected to return for Sunday’s fixture but isn’t ready just yet.
Darron Gibson and Muhamed Besic remain out with long-term injuries while Enner Valencia is ineligible to face his parent club.
Arouna Kone will also miss the game for the Blues after picking up a knee injury. Kone’s injury and Valencia’s ineligibility leaves Koeman with a striking problem from the bench. He is likely to opt for Kevin Mirallas or Gerard Deulofeu as his back-up forward but may have to dip into the talented Under 23 team.