Tag: Everton

Guardiola says team must focus on UCL as Man City put one hand on title

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola insisted that the possibility of winning the Premier League title through a victory against Manchester United next week should not distract Manchester City from their Champions League quarter-final game at Liverpool.

City could be crowned champions in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium next Saturday having maintained their 16-point lead over Jose Mourinho’s team with a 3-0 win at Everton.

However, Guardiola insisted that City’s Wednesday’s visit to Anfield is the priority despite their dream scenario, and that his strong team selection at Goodison Park was, Guardiola admitted, designed with Liverpool in mind.

“We were a long time without being together and I didn’t want to play with seven, eight or nine players who are going to play on Wednesday without four weeks playing together,” the former FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager said.

“We needed to play together to find our pace and our rhythm for two massive games against Liverpool. I understand people are going to talk about United but now all the decisions are about Liverpool. We have to focus on the Champions League, we have United in the middle but for the lineup we have to think about the Champions League.”

“We are closer than ever,” he added. “We have one game to win and, if we are not able to win [against United], we have six more chances. We are so, so close and I am so happy with the performance.”

City were outstanding in the first half at Goodison and had been given applause after the final whistle by Everton fans.

“Maybe that’s because we are going to play against Liverpool,” Guardiola joked at the thought of City facing the Toffees’ bitter neighbouring rivals.

“I didn’t know it but it is a great satisfaction that they give credit to what the players have done. First it is for our fans but if the people who love football enjoy how we play, then that is a great satisfaction. Last season I applauded them after the 4-0. This season they applauded us, so thank you very much.”

Everton: Merseyside club set to sell forward Oumar Niasse

Everton FC is prepared to allow Oumar Niasse a January transfer move away from the club, with their Premier League rivals Crystal Palace, Brighton & Hove Albion as well as West Bromwich Albion having declared their interest in securing the player.

Niasse is currently still under contract with the Toffees up to June 2020.

Reports say that the Merseyside club are now prepared to hear any offers for their Senegal striker and they have quoted a price of £13m, which each of his suitors is willing to pay — which allows Niasse to choose from one of those clubs as he makes the decision based on where he is most likely to play.

Niasse, 27, has returned eye-catching numbers over the first half of the season, despite starting only five matches in all competitions for Everton and making a further nine substitute appearances. With six goals under his belt, Niasse averages at one goal in every 101.6 minutes.

However, Everton have already prepared for life after the player as they had already signed the Turkey striker Cenk Tosun from Besiktas for £27m. Toffees manager Sam Allardyce may also look to add further fresh blood up front before the closure of the mid-season window.

Previously, the Merseyside club secured Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow in a £13.5m deal in February 2016 but he struggled for regular playetime  under Roberto Martinez before he was essentially left out by Martinez’s successor Ronald Koeman.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Hull City, where he scored five goals in all competitions, and returned, against the odds, under Koeman at the beginning of this season.

In his first Premier League appearance under Koeman’s charge, Niasse came on to score twice in the 2-1 home win against Bournemouth.

Sam Allardyce admits uncertainty over Ross Barkley’s Toffees future

Everton manager Sam Allardyce has said he may be powerless to stop from Ross Barkley leaving the club next month should the Merseyside club’s board decide to cash in on the midfielder ahead of his due-to-expire contract.

Barkley, 24, has yet to feature this season because of a serious hamstring injury and will also be out of contract at the end of the campaign having rejected a new deal with his boyhood club.

While he turned down a move to Chelsea on deadline day in August as he wanted more time to consider a transfer that could have earned Everton up to £35m, it remains that the Blues are expected to renew their interest in January while Tottenham Hotspur are also known to be keen on the England international.

Everton had hoped Barkley would have reconsidered his decision not to sign a contract extension after the departure of Ronald Koeman, with whom he had a strained relationship, but in the absence of guarantees the club face a choice of losing the homegrown talent on a free transfer next summer or selling next month.

Their new manager Sam Allardyce says that while he is yet to speak to Barkley about his intentions, he will be guided by the board’s decision.

“It’s a difficult one,” Allardyce said. “I haven’t had the opportunity yet to find out the truth, or the whole scenario, to ask: ‘Where does it lie?’ and then make a decision one way or the other.”

“I’m not in control of that in too many ways. If someone comes in during January and says: ‘Here you go’ [with an offer] and the club says: ‘Look, if he’s not going to sign for us this has to be the case,’ then I accept that.”

“If Ross stays until the end of the season and I feel he is giving 100% to the team, like he has done since he was a kid, then he is an available asset for us until he leaves on a free transfer. I would hate that to happen but it might do.”