Squad Depth Key For Silva In Busy Festive Period

by Peter Lennox
@Everton

Marco Silva says Everton’s clash with Watford on Monday night represents a “big, big game” as the Blues embark on a busy festive period, insisting the Club’s strong squad depth will be key over the coming weeks.

The Portuguese called on Evertonians to help create another rocking atmosphere under the lights at Goodison as the sixth-placed Toffees aim to kick-start another winning streak at the Grand Old Lady.

The Blues came into Wednesday night’s clash with Newcastle United on the back of four straight home successes but saw their run halted by an obdurate Magpies outfit.

Richarlison hit his seventh goal of the season to cancel out Salomon Rondon’s effort but - despite dominating the ball and regularly pinning the visitors back in their defensive third – Silva’s men could not strike the decisive blow.

Indeed, the Blues’ supremacy is underlined by the fact they fired in 19 shots, had 76 per cent possession and won 14 corners.

Attention now turns to Monday night’s contest against the Hornets – and boss Silva stressed the importance of picking up three points in what is the first of six matches in just 22 days.

The manager made three changes to his side for the visit of Newcastle – with Kurt Zouma, Ademola Lookman and Cenk Tosun coming into the side – and insists the Blues' deep reserves of talent will be vital in negotiating such a hectic period.

“It is a big, big game and a tough one, for sure,” said Silva. “We had a very, very good run [before Newcastle] - not just results but also in our performances we had before.

"Now, the most important thing for us is the next match.

“It will be a busy month for us.

“We have strong competition among the players and that is a good problem for a coach. It is difficult, but it is good as well.

“We will do everything we can to manage the squad, giving some rest to some players, too, if I feel it doesn’t take away too much from our team.”

Silva - who revealed the Blues have no new injury concerns following Wednesday's game - highlighted the quality Everton possess in central defence, after France international Zouma came into the side for the in-form Michael Keane against the Magpies.

The 24-year-old went on to deliver an assured performance alongside fellow summer arrival Yerry Mina.

“Before Newcastle, we played three days before, in an intense match,” he said. “That’s why I took the decision because I know what Zouma can give us and he performed well, as I expected.

“Mina is doing well, too. He is in good condition if I decide he is staying in our starting 11.”

Looking ahead to Monday night’s clash with Watford, Silva emphasised the important role Evertonians can play in helping to drive his side towards victory.

“What I expect with the atmosphere in the stadium, is the same as we had against Newcastle,” he said. 

"Our fans came to support our team, like they always do.

“The most important thing is to play with their support.”

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