Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti insists there is no pressure on Andre Gomes to produce instant performances with the Portugal international in line for his first start since an horrific ankle injury.
The 26-year-old’s comeback is particularly timely as Morgan Schneiderlin faces a lengthy spell out after undergoing surgery on torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee following injury at Arsenal last weekend.
Gomes came on as a substitute for the Frenchman in that game for his first appearance since a fracture dislocation of his right ankle on November 3.
Such has been the lack of creativity in midfield Gomes’ 31-minute cameo at the Emirates had fans raving about his return but Ancelotti does not want the midfielder to feel he has to deliver immediately.
“He is ready to start, he is closer to start compared to last week. He trained well, normally, and he can play. I have to talk to him before the game.
“He did really well. I was surprised by the fact that it seemed he was not out for three months because he played with confidence, without any fear.
“Also for him it was useful to play and he has shown more confidence this week compared to last week.
“There is no-one who puts pressure on him. The club absolutely not. Myself absolutely not.
“Everyone followed the instruction of the medical staff and he is ready to play and everyone has total confidence in him so there is no pressure.
“He knows he is really important for this club and this is not going to put more pressure on him. He is quite confident to play and has no pressure.
“The expectation for him can be a good motivation.”
Schneiderlin’s absence means Ancelotti will be shuffling his options in midfield again.
“So sad about my injury. I will come back stronger,” the midfielder wrote on Instagram.
Last weekend Everton twice allowed a lead to slip in the 3-2 defeat at Arsenal but Ancelotti hopes the players have learned an important lesson ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Sunday.
“What we leaned from that defeat was quite clear: to be focused on the mistakes we did because they were easy mistakes,” the Italian added.
“We have worked on that and I hope we can improve because the performance was good but we ruined the performance with mistakes and the little details in football are important.
On Sunday against United we will test this because we have improved on those specific situations.”
Ancelotti also dismissed speculation defender Mason Holgate could be on his way to Manchester City.
“I think it’s a rumour, but if it’s not a rumour I can say Mason Holgate is an important part of the future of Everton,” said the Toffees boss.
“There is no possibility he can go to another club. Zero possibility, like my friend (Jose) Mourinho says: ‘Zero’.”