Ronald Koeman: Everton improvement is impossible in Premier League this year

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With the start of the new English Premier League season this weekend, every one of the 20 teams including the newly promoted sides (Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield) would have set a target for the upcoming season.

McCarthy sat out Everton's pre-season finale with Sevilla on Sunday, with Everton manager Ronald Koeman telling reporters after the game that he was held out due to a knee injury.

The 41-cap global had an injury-interrupted campaign a year ago, featuring just 13 times for his club, while his appearances for his country last October led to a war of words between Everton and Ireland team management.

"Maybe a little bit more nervous than normally they are and also the way Stoke play, defending-wise they make it hard". Setting the bar too low could make fans, players and club owners question if they have the right manager for the job. We know we're in for a tough start.

Everton's last four Premier League campaigns have all begun with a draw, with three of them ending 2-2.

By the time Dominic Calvert-Lewin swung over a pin-point cross, Rooney had eluded the Stoke defence so completely that he had the freedom of the penalty area to bury a clinical header past Butland from 10 yards.

The 31-year-old sealed a fairytale return to Goodison Park this summer from Manchester United.

The Toffees have scored 30 Premier League goals at home in 2017, more than any other side - and five more than they managed in the whole of 2016.

"Last season I think we won 1-0, the same result, and it was maybe a little bit the same".

That gap of 4,869 days is the longest between goals for the same club in the Premier League.

It was October 15 before Stoke collected their first league win last season, September 26 the season before that and September 29 the campaign before that. "If you look at my team this weekend, and the bench, you can not compare it to the big six".

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