Ronald Koeman admits David Moyes faces a difficult task to replicate his work for Everton at Sunderland.
But the Dutchman is also sure Monday’s Premier League trip to the Stadium of Light will be a testing assignment for the Toffees.
Sunderland have one point from their first three games and Moyes, appointed their manager in July, warned after last month’s 2-1 derby loss at home to Middlesbrough that the Black Cats were likely to be in another relegation battle this term.
While in charge at Everton from 2002 to 2013, the Scot regularly had the Toffees pushing for a place in Europe.
And when asked ahead of Monday’s match if he could see Moyes doing something like that at Sunderland, Koeman said: “I think it’s more difficult, at the moment, for Sunderland.
“With what he did at Everton, I think he had a great time. He showed he was a great manager for Everton in all the years he was in charge.
“Sunderland is a different club. The last few years they have been struggling – and there is what he said himself about relegation.”
Koeman – who has seen Everton take seven points from three games since he arrived in June from Southampton – added: “Sunderland are also a club that have signed new players, and the team will be different than it was two weeks ago.
“It (Monday’s match) is a difficult one – we need to be prepared for that.”
Koeman has also emphasised the danger specifically posed by Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who has scored two of his team’s three league goals this campaign.
“He is so dangerous, always with his movements behind the defenders,” Koeman said of the 33-year-old frontman.
“If there is space and a chance, normally it is a goal and, of course, we need to prepare for him because he is still showing his productivity as a striker.
“And it is not only Defoe – if we stop the midfielders in passing to Defoe, then you don’t get that problem.”
Having achieved it in each of his first two seasons in English football with Southampton, Koeman now wants to secure European football for his new club, who ended up 11th in the last two seasons.
“Everton needs to be a team who fight for Europe and I think we have the squad available to do that,” he said.
“The start is okay, but now we need to continue.”