Benitez provides positive Everton injury update on Doucoure and Calvert-Lewin and makes Delph exit admission

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The key points from the Toffees boss’ pre-match press conference ahead of the trip to Man City.

Rafa Benitez has been speaking to the media ahead of Everton’s trip to Man City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Here are the key points you need to know from the Toffees manager’s press conference.

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Injury update

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure. Picture:  Chris Brunskill/Getty ImagesEverton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure. Picture:  Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure. Picture: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images | Getty Images

Everton will again be without Abdoulaye Doucoure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes at the Etihad Stadium.

However, Benitez is hopeful Doucoure (foot) will be back to full fitness in a week’s time, while Calvert-Lewin (quad) is progressing well.

The Everton boss said: “To be fair, all of them are progressing well but not ready yet.

“The squad is fine. Training has been quite intense, we know we’ll play against a good team but we have confidence we can do well.

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“In our last game against Tottenham, we showed the right character and mentality and that’s what we have to do in every game.

“Sometimes, you can manage the injuries but if you have a knee problem or players have had injuries in the past, you try to bring them bak as soon as possible but safe at the same time.

“The team started really well then we had some issues. Hopefully, the players coming back will give us a boost.

“Each one is different. They are getting better but have to make sure they’re 100% fine.

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“Doucoure, one week, two weeks maximum he can be fine and won’t have any problems.

“Dominic, at least two weeks we have to wait because he’s progressing well but still needs some time.”

Gerrard’s Premier League return

Rafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard. Picture: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty ImagesRafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard. Picture: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images
Rafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard. Picture: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

Steven Gerarrd is back in the Premier League after taking charge of Aston Villa last week.

Benitez worked with Gerrard at Liverpool, winning the Champions League and FA Cup together.

However, Benitez played down Gerrard’s appointment.

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He said: “It’s always bad to see a manager lose his job but always good to see a new manager.

“I wish him all the best apart from against us. He will have plenty of time to show his level and hopefully we can do well against them and show our level to.”

Delph’s impact

Since returning from a shoulder injury, Fabian Delph has impressed.

He caught the eye off the bench in the 2-1 loss at Wolves before delivering a fine performance in the 0-0 draw against Tottenham before the international break.

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Benitez hailed Delph’s attitude as he prepares to face his former club - despite having tried to offload him in the summer.

Everton’s Fabian Delph shields the ball from Tottenham’s Harry Kane. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty ImagesEverton’s Fabian Delph shields the ball from Tottenham’s Harry Kane. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
Everton’s Fabian Delph shields the ball from Tottenham’s Harry Kane. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

The Spaniard said: “I hope so. He has the right mentality and attitude. He wants to play every game and I have to stop in training sessions because he is pushing very hard.

“That’s the right attitude you expect from every player.

“In situations in the past, we’ve maybe been giving up too early and we cannot do that.

“We showed against Southampton, Burnley and a lot of teams the mentality and character we’re looking for and hopefully we can do these things like we did against Tottenham for the rest of the season.

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“He knows we were thinking to replace him but was training well in every training session. When I was quite pleased then he had his shoulder problem and we had to 10 weeks until he was available again.

“From day one, we saw his commitment and is quite vocal, trying to help team-mates. These players with experience and quality, if you can keep them fit then they can help the team.

“He is desperate to play and can be an example to anyone. If he can stay fit, he will be a good addition for us.

“He’s someone that has experience of winning something and mentality that can help the young players. If he can keep this intensity for a while, it can only be positive for us.”

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