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23 August 2017

Everton boss Ronald Koeman blasts Premier League chiefs ahead of Hajduk Split test in Europa League for fixture pile-up

RONALD KOEMAN has accused Prem chiefs of wrecking Everton’s European chances.

The Dutchman is unhappy at the prospect of facing three away games in less than seven days — against Manchester City, Hajduk Split and Chelsea.

Ronald Koeman has blasted Prem chiefs over a fixture pile-up
Ronald Koeman has blasted Prem chiefs over a fixture pile-up
PA:Press Association
The Dutchman feels his side are getting a rough deal with three games in a week
The Dutchman feels his side are getting a rough deal with three games in a week
Reuters

And he says his side’s Europa League hopes are being hurt by this week’s brutal 3,500-mile schedule.

The Toffees will defend a 2-0 lead in tonight’s Euro qualifier out in Croatia.

Jose Mourinho famously claimed, “the Premier League don’t give a s***,” when Manchester United were in the Europa League last season.

And last night Koeman admitted: “I totally agree with Jose. Maybe they don’t care enough about European football. We understand TV money decides a lot when it comes to arranging kick-offs.

“But what makes it even more difficult for us playing on Thursday is we also played City on Monday night — then we are the first game on Sunday lunchtime.

“It is difficult enough for us to give competition to the strongest teams in the Premier League, and European football makes it even tougher.


Jose Mourinho famously blasted the Prem when he played in the Europa League last season
Jose Mourinho famously blasted the Prem when he played in the Europa League last season
Getty Images
The extra games didnt stop Mourinho from winning the tournament
The extra games didn’t stop Mourinho from winning the tournament
AP:Associated Press

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“But it’s important for a club with Everton’s history to be part of Europe and it’s the ambition to qualify for the Europa League. I want to be involved again on Thursday nights. We know it is going to be tough, and have some injuries, but we’ll fight.”

Everton’s players will not return from Croatia until the small hours of tomorrow morning and Koeman does not understand why they must face Chelsea at 1.30pm on Sunday when the match is not being televised. But Hajduk coach Joan Carrillo had little sympathy for Koeman.

He said: “It’s not important we have had 24 hours more rest as we have played a lot more qualifying games in this competition than Everton. They also have 32 players in their squad — we only have 25.”



Wayne Rooney is sure to play a big part after retiring from England duty
Wayne Rooney is sure to play a big part after retiring from England duty
AP:Associated Press
Antonio Conte will be looking to take advantage of tired Everton legs
Antonio Conte will be looking to take advantage of tired Everton legs
Rex Features

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Koeman knows the intimidating Poljud Stadium will pose a serious test of character for his side after the Hajduk fans tried to storm the pitch at Goodison last week.

He said: “They will try to intimidate us but it’s the kind of atmosphere you like to play in.

“The plan is to win the game and to qualify for the group stage.”

EVERTON (likely): Pickford, Keane, Williams, Jagielka, Martina, Davies, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Baines, Calvert-Lewin, Rooney.

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