Big Sam’s Presser – Man City (H)

Sam was in a more jokey mood this morning as he showed up to his press conference to preview the game at Goodison tomorrow against Manchester City.

Sam kicked off with the news that Idrissa Gana Gueye will be assessed tomorrow morning to see if he is available for the game. Allardyce saying “We will give him the next 24 hours.”

Some more injury news that Sam broke is that “Gylfi Sigurdsson is walking with no brace but that process goes on from week to week”

With Jordan Pickford apparently being England’s World Cup keeper it was to be expected Sam would be speaking about Jord. He said this;

“He’s given Gareth a lot to think about with his performance the other night. I know people have gone on about him conceding goals for Everton this season but you look at the sort of saves he makes. He’s been extremely busy – far too busy on some occasions – and we’ve managed to quell that lately. We’ve reduced our goals conceded since I’ve been here and that helps the goalkeeper. He’s always there when needed.”

“He’s been brought up on first-team football from a very young age. He had lots of loans at Sunderland and now he’s an international. His grounding is very good. It’s been a very good progression, playing through the divisions on loan rather than sitting in the 23s through the years. That’s why he’s as good as he is as young as he is.”

More talk on a possible England World Cup appearance but not Jordan Pickford, this time Michael Keane. Allardyce had this to say;

“A World Cup place depends how he plays as a team. If he continues to grow, as he has done recently, there’s a chance. He has to be at his best for Everton to attract the attention of Gareth. He’s been helped by the return of Jagielka, Coleman and Baines. When you get your best players back you’re going to improve. As much as Jonjoe and Cuco did a fantastic job, the balance of Seamus and Leighton, their passing ratio, their qualities, they have better experience. We’re bound to improve when they play.”

“I think Michael’s ambition is to get in the England squad and not think about having a break. It’s always a challenge to get back in and the only way you can do that is play well for your club. He’s got a big test coming up Saturday. That back four has been very good but our home record has been fantastic since I’ve been here – for a couple of seasons, really. We’ll need people like Michael Keane playing very well on Saturday because they’re a fantastic attacking force.”

The attention then changed to the game on Saturday and Sam spoke about how to beat Manchester City;

“You have to believe you can stop them. What is your frame of mind? We will have to play our best, there is no doubt about that. You have to be in a positive frame of mind. We have to say we can challenge them and play against them. You can get a result but we’ll have to play our best.”

He then spoke about why City are so good;

“£350m had a bit to do with it! Money has been well spent. It’s a lot of money on quality players. Those players have brought so much more to the team overall. The average age has been reduced, the confidence has grown and they believe every game they walk out on they’re not going to get beat. We can’t be intimidated by that. We’ve got to master our gameplan tomorrow throughout the 90 minutes. It’s a big challenge and one we should really look forward to on the basis we’ve got back-to-back wins and a good home record.”

Sam spoke about the impact that he has had at Everton;

“It says we’ve steadied the ship and put relegation fears behind us a considerable time ago. We’ve only been out the top-half a week or two. We picked up points, particularly at home, but we’ve stayed in and around tenth or better so now it’s about the last seven games and how many points we can total up. Our biggest challenge of the season at home is to get points against Manchester City and Liverpool.”

With rumours about Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere being of interest to Allardyce he had this to say;

“Any player that is available or is to leave his club, of a decent quality, would be of interest to us. But we have a huge amount of players here already.But it’s all speculation at the moment.”

He wasn’t shy of talking up his opposition Pep Guardiola;

“Guardiola can go to any country he wants and deliver. It’s like Jose Mourinho. Pep’s ability to find quality players and the way he fits them into his system….his first season was finding his way and he’s done that and identified what was wrong and put it right. He’s beaten all the biggest clubs in Germany and Spain and now he’s making City one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.”

Beginning to wrap up he spoke about our home form;

“Obviously the home record has been the key. It’s very important we continue that against Manchester City and Liverpool while also focusing on continuing to better our away form. But for now, our main focus is Man City, tomorrow, at 5:30.”

And finally he spoke about City’s vulnerabilities;

“I was very impressed with Dominic against Manchester City that day [in the 1-1 draw at the beginning of the season.] Then you look at the Bristol City game where they got a result on their own patch and you have to look at where their vulnerabilities are if we’re to get something from this game tomorrow.”

That was all from Big Sam, here’s hoping for the 3 points against City tomorrow!

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