Everton v Lyon preview: Ronald Koeman urges focus on Europa League three points
Last Updated: 19/10/17 8:16pm
Ronald Koeman has urged Everton to focus on getting three points in their Europa League match with Lyon as they look to move off the bottom of Group E.
But ahead of Thursday's match at Goodison Park (kick-off 8.05pm), Koeman has urged his side to target their first victory of the campaign and believes the confidence will improve across the board if they win.
"It is a really important game," he said. "We know the situation in the group - we need a win. We expected a win last time against Apollon Limassol but we were unlucky and they scored in the last few minutes [to draw].
"But you know that one point from two games means you need a win. You need three wins at home and try to pick up what you can away. The situation is that we need to win to get good possibilities to go through in this tournament.
"We know what we need to do [on Thursday]. The boys are working really hard to get it right. It is a good night tomorrow to win and get the full confidence back in the team.
"We have three different games in three different competitions in the next week. We want to do well in all of them but our only focus is tomorrow and that is what we need to concentrate on."
Ronald Koeman confirmed Thursday's clash will come too soon for James McCarthy, though the midfielder could return for Everton's clash with Arsenal on Sunday.
The Republic of Ireland international has been out with a knee injury since March, but did play the first half of an Everton U23s match earlier this week.
Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori, Aaron Lennon, Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley all remain sidelined along with Oumar Niasse, who is ineligible, while Jonjoe Kenny is an injury doubt.
Lyon are expected to have a fully fit squad for the trip to Goodison Park, with former Man Utd midfielder Memphis Depay likely to feature along with talented forward and captain Nabil Fekir.
This will be the first competitive meeting between Everton and Lyon.
Everton have met French opposition on two previous occasions on the European stage - beating Lille in the Europa League 3-0 at Goodison Park in November 2014, while drawing their away match 0-0 in October 2014.
The Toffees have won seven of their last nine games at Goodison Park in European competition including qualifiers (D1 L1).
Everton are winless in their last three Europa League matches (D1 L2), after winning five of the previous six (L1).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
Well it just keeps coming for Everton and Ronald Koeman, although I genuinely don't think the owners want to move him on.
People are linking him with the Holland job and then there's people looking at his lifestyle, and whether he's taken to living in Merseyside.
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The biggest question is why he didn't buy a proper striker when he said they needed to replace Romelu Lukaku. Then he brought in Gylfi Sigurdsson at the last minute and nobody knows how he fits into the team.
It is Wayne Rooney who is getting them out of the holes. He's not in his best form but he's the one who wants to get on to the ball, even if it is crossing from 30 yards out.
What they'll get here if they don't start well is a really awkward night in front of their home crowd. Lyon are a decent side and I just feel like there's an aggressive display to come from Everton.
I genuinely thought that they'd be top seven this season and that looks a long way away right now, but I think Rooney will help them get their Europa League campaign off to a belated start with a scrappy win here.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Rooney to score first (30/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton are 6/4 with Sky Bet to get their Europa League campaign back on track with a victory over Lyon (17/10), while the draw is priced at 5/2. The Toffees are 11/8 to qualify from Group E and 11/2 to win it, while their struggles have seen them drift out to 33/1 to lift the trophy.
Wayne Rooney is the 9/2 favourite in the first goalscorer betting, closely followed by Mariano Diaz at 5/1.