Everton boss Ronald Koeman not planning wholesale signings for European campaign
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/04/17 1:16pm
Everton manager Ronald Koeman is unconcerned about the prospect of balancing the demands of European and domestic football without a huge squad.
With his side on course to secure a seventh-place finish, initial plans can start being made for a return to the Europa League after a two-year absence.
However, Koeman has no intentions of bolstering his squad with a huge number of new arrivals in the summer in order to cope with the increased demands and will instead look to manage his resources.
"I know what we would like to do but we will wait to see if it is possible," said Koeman of his recruitment plans.
"We know we will have competition from bigger clubs and it will be difficult but the direction Everton is running in and what we did for this season and what we would like to do for the next is an interesting project.
"We did a session Thursday morning with 17 outfield players; most of the teams they have 24, 25, 26 players.
"I am not the sort of manager to have that number of players because it is really difficult to keep the spirit in all the players when they don't have any possibility to start.
"It is better to use young players."
Koeman had a season in the Europa League with Southampton last year, but they failed to get out of the group stage after just two wins in six matches.
That European campaign began on July 30 and Everton could face a similar prospect should they not improve on their current league position.
"It is good for the club, the fans and for the experience of the players," he added.
"We know it is Thursday evening-weekend (matches) but we will try to have a strong squad for next season.
"We know now at least we have finished seventh in the table and that is normally qualification rounds for the Europa League so we have to be prepared in the number of players to battle in all competitions but that is a challenge.
"I am not afraid of that because that is what everyone likes to have is football in Europe."
There is still a chance for Everton to avoid the potential early qualification European rounds but that will require them to catch sixth-placed Arsenal, level on points with two matches in hand, or even Manchester United, three points ahead having played two matches fewer.
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For that to happen Everton need to improve their away form, which has seen them win just four of 16 matches, with three of their five remaining games on the road.
"My meeting with the players is no different from when we play away to when we play at home," he said.
"When the players play in front of their own fans they find themselves a little bit more comfortable but we go to West Ham and they still need points for this season.
"We can show we have a strong team and can play away from home in the same way we like to play at home and we will take up the challenge of trying to win all of our remaining games.
"Of course a top-five finish is still an incentive. It is our target; we know it's really difficult and a battle between Everton, Arsenal and Manchester United.
"The last game of the season is Arsenal v Everton and if we are still in the hunt, then to beat them will be really nice."