48 teams kick off Europa League with Champions League aim


Everton's promising start to the season has been derailed in recent weeks following defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur while a 3-0 defeat to Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League will leave Toffees fans apprehensive going into Sunday's clash with Man United.

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Instead, they walked through the Everton defence three times, scoring on each occasion in a game which could easily have finished 6-0.

'They showed more ambition, more aggression and in the way they defend, so close and tight.

He admitted however that the Atlanta defeat "was a wake-up call" for his team, adding that some of his players are only just starting to get used to the English topflight. "I thought it was happening after the third goal against Tottenham, but okay - I need to ask myself the question, what I did wrong". But of course, yesterday night I was really disappointed in the way we lost in the first 45 minutes.

"They have lots of good players, they are a good team and it will be a very hard match for us".

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The manager ultimately accepted it was his fault for not preparing the team correctly for a tough away fixture in Italy. "I saw the team with a lot of doubts".

"We miss Pogba, we need Pogba, but we have good players - Herrera, Fellaini, Carrick - who are waiting", the manager explained.

His seven goals in as many games in all competitions have fired United to the top of the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

This will also be Lukaku's first game against the Toffees since he went the other way, but the 24-year-old is only concerned about the task at hand, and is keeping his focus on getting a positive result against his former club.

The team will travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United at the weekend. We certainly shouldn't underestimate them on Thursday however and with the game being Atalanta's first European tie since 1991 the fans as well as players will be well up for it.

It was nearly at this point of last season when Everton embarked on a run of just one win in 11 games while Koeman experienced a similarly lean spell with Southampton the season before.