Stoke Difficult But Everton Have Big Ambitions
Ronald Koeman is prepared for a difficult afternoon as Everton start the Premier League season against Stoke but the Blues go into the campaign with 'big ambitions.'
Everton have been very active in the transfer market during the summer, spending a lot of money too. However, this money hasn't been spent for the sake of spending, this has been focused on the best possible players to bring the Blues the greatest chance of success and we're not finished yet.
Koeman told the Official Website: 'We have big ambitions. That is what we like to show everybody, but the end of the transfer window is when it is more realistic to speak about targets and what is possible (for the team to achieve). We spent money… but everybody is spending money and looking for the best players. It is a big competition and we will see what happens.'
The boss, looking ahead to the visit of former Blues forward Mark Hughes' Stoke, knows the Potters have lost a main player, Mark Arnautovic, of course linked with Everton in the past, but Koeman is still prepared for 'a battle' this afternoon.
'Saturday will be a difficult game. We followed Stoke in pre-season, they had a lot of games. They have made some changes to their team, they lost Marko Arnautovic and brought in some new players. Playing Stoke City is always a battle, home or away.'
Koeman went on to confirm he has a fully fit squad, well, aside from those out long-term, such as Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie and Ramiro Funes Mori, but all are making progress with Coleman and Bolasie closest to returns.
James McCarthy is also 'back training but will not be ready for Saturday.'
Everton have a very tough start to the season, facing some of the most fancied sides to win the Premier League, a Europa League play-off is thrown in too, but Koeman isn't worried by this and feels if the Blues can continue to 'do the business we want' in the transfer market that'll give the Toffees a better chance of achieving these goals.
'We know it is a tough start - but it is about 38 games. In the Premier League, if you think you have an easy start you will pay for it - and if you think it is really tough then, maybe, it is different. Not everyone is at their best at the end of pre-season. The difficulty is we have the two Hajduk Split games as well,' said Koeman.
Adding: 'If we can do the business we want, then we are stronger than last season. It is difficult, we are changing a lot on the pitch, but also off the pitch, with the new building and facilities. We want to bring more structure to the club. It is really important to grow.'