Everton V Man City at Goodison Park : Match Preview

14 January 2017 09:34
Everton V Man City - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Koeman: Premier League may be physically tougher than Guardiola expected

Everton boss Ronald Koeman feels his old friend Pep Guardiola may well have underestimated the physical intensity of the Premier League.

Guardiola arrived at Manchester City as manager last summer having won LaLiga in three seasons out of four in charge at Barcelona and then the Bundesliga in three out of three as Bayern Munich boss.

City made a superb start under the Spaniard, leading the Premier League with maximum points after six games.

But the record since then has been seven wins from 14 matches, and ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures - which sees them face Everton away on Sunday - City were fourth in the table.

Asked if he thought his former Barca team-mate Guardiola had found English football tougher than anticipated, Koeman, who had two years at Southampton before switching to Everton last June, said: "Maybe, yes.

"But I think to see what happens in the Premier League, you need to be part of that. Then you realise how difficult it is.

"Maybe the way he likes to play, against the physical intensity of the Premier League, is more difficult."

City - who drew 1-1 with Everton at the Etihad Stadium in the reverse fixture in October - head into this contest having thrashed West Ham 5-0 in FA Cup third round last time out.

Everton, in contrast, were dumped out of the competition as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Leicester.

Koeman is glad for the chance to bounce back in such a high-profile game.

"We know we had a really big disappointment last week," the Dutchman said.

"Now we have an opportunity after that defeat.

"We know we need to be very good. They had a great performance last week against West Ham.

"But if we go face-to-face on Sunday, and we play with that aggression and pressing, then we can make it very difficult."

Koeman has confirmed new signing Morgan Schneiderlin, who joined from Manchester United on Thursday, will be part of the Toffees matchday squad, and says there is a chance another recent arrival, Ademola Lookman, could also be involved for the first time after he was cup-tied for the Leicester game.

Guardiola has no concerns about Vincent Kompany's state of mind as the Manchester City captain prepares to begin his latest comeback.

Kompany is in contention to return to action on Sunday after two months out with a knee problem.

The Belgium defender has been hampered by numerous injuries in recent years and his latest setback, sustained in an awkward collision with team-mate Claudio Bravo in November, was his 35th since joining City in 2008.

Three of those injuries have come this season and the 30-year-old has not played a full game since April.

This regular cycle of injury and rehabilitation could wear down a player but manager Guardiola, who needs to see Kompany fit to evaluate his long-term prospects at the club, is impressed by his resilience.

Guardiola said: "Everybody needs time to come back to a high level when they are a long time injured but his mentalities are strong, he knows exactly what he has to do.

"What I would like is (for him) not to put a lot of pressure on himself. Now is a time to make weeks of training sessions, play games when I decide he has to play and not put a lot of pressure on having to do many things.

"He has to do simple things, play like a central defender, like he was. After he has played one game, then another one, and then the amount is running, he will hopefully achieve his level."

Source: PAR