Koeman 'taking Europa League seriously'
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Ronald Koeman says he is taking the Europa League “very seriously,” as Everton begin their campaign with an away tie against Atalanta on Thursday.
James McCarthy, Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman are injured, whilst Aaron Lennon has also not travelled to Italy.
Koeman has indicated he may make some changes to the team.
“We have more than 11 players available, so we can make some rotations,” he said.
“But, like always, we will start with a strong team,”
Cypriot side Apollon Limassol and France’s Lyon are the other two sides in Group E
‘We need to forget about Tottenham’
The Toffees qualified for the Europa League group stage after a 3-1 aggregate win over Croatian side Hajduk Split.
The club have had an indifferent start to their domestic season, despite bringing in 10 new players in the summer.
After a Premier League opening day win over Stoke, followed by a hard earned draw with Manchester City, they have lost consecutive games to Chelsea and Tottenham.
Home away from home
Atalanta, managed by Gian Piero Gasperini, qualified for the Europa League after finishing fourth in Serie A last season.
However, home advantage may be limited for Atalanta, who will play their Europa League home matches at fellow Serie A side Sassuolo’s ground Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia.
The stadium is 120 miles away from Atalanta’s home ground the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Itali in Lombardy, which is currently being renovated.
After consecutive losses to Roma and Napoli in their first two games in this season’s Serie A, Atalanta are coming into the Europa League fixture off the back of a 2-1 win over Sassuolo on Sunday.