Bohemian rhapsodies were once the domain of Freddie Mercury, but Ronald Koeman was inspired enough by the quaint setting to talk up Everton’s chances of conquering Europe, writes Mike Walters in Ruzomberok.
After his £100million trolley dash, and the promise of more big-money signings, Everton manager Koeman’s first hurdle before a ball has been kicked in the Premier League is to make sure he doesn’t come a cropper in a 4,500-capacity potting shed in northern Slovakia.
If his Blues preserve a one-goal advantage from the first leg of this third qualifying round tie in the tiny Stadion Pod Cebratom here, Koeman can dream of taking the Europa League group stages by storm
But if MFK Ruzomberok pull off a giant-killing on the biggest night in the town’s history, Big Ron will have to explain how owner Farhad Moshiri’s fortune and £75m from the sale of Romelu Lukaku barely took him past Calais.
If last week was all about Wayne Rooney’s homecoming in a blue shirt, this is all about the result.
And if Everton progress to the play-off round, as they should, Koeman believes he will be presiding over a squad equipped to challenge on four fronts top four and domestic cups at home, plus Europe by the time the transfer window shuts.
He said: “We had a very good season last year to get into Europe and we didn’t do that just to play two Europa League games.
“We like to compete in every tournament, including Europe, and if we can do all the business we would like to do before the end of August, I expect to be managing a very strong team but it is still too early for me to reach those conclusions.
“What is really important for us is to come here and go through to the next round.”
Source: Mike Walters
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