Ronald Koeman has stressed he will need time as he works on his “big project” at Everton.
The Dutchman was appointed as Toffees boss in June, succeeding the sacked Roberto Martinez, and is looking to revive the Merseyside outfit, even speaking around the time about trying to emulate the glory days of the club’s past.
But ahead of his first competitive game in charge, Koeman has emphasised it is not a quick-fix job.
Speaking at his press conference to preview Saturday’s Premier League campaign-opening clash with Tottenham at Goodison Park, he said: “It is a nice challenge, it is a big project and that project is starting.
“But it will not be completed after two months – we need more time.
“That is what everybody mentions, but in our way of thinking, it needs time.
“We know normally in football you don’t have time and need to win from the start. But I think there are enough good reasons to explain why we need more time.”
Looking specifically to Saturday, Koeman – as well as claiming his players are only at “70 per cent” of what he would like in terms of fitness – has been keen to point out the contrast between it being Everton’s first proper outing under him and their opponents having been managed by Mauricio Pochettino for two seasons already.
“It is always the best to have a good start to the season because that really gives you the confidence you need to play,” Koeman said.
“But in our situation it’s, for example, more difficult than it is for Tottenham in their situation if you compare that.
“We play against a really strong team who have not really a lot of changes, which is always positive and good.
“We don’t have that, but okay – it’s football and you can win against everybody. We will see what we can do.”
Koeman added of the meeting with Tottenham, who finished eight places above Everton in third last term: “I’m looking forward to a full house, sold out.
“We need the support and we will get it if we do our job and show our fans we are committed to Everton, and that spirit that you need to win the game.”
New signing Ashley Williams is set to sit out the contest, with Koeman having said the centre-back, brought in from Swansea on Wednesday, will not be ready to make his debut for at least another week due to a late start to pre-season.
Full-back Seamus Coleman (ankle) and striker Romelu Lukaku (heel) are doubts, but skipper Phil Jagielka is available to start in central defence after overcoming a hamstring problem, and two summer recruits are poised to make their bows in goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and midfielder Idrissa Gueye.