Apollon Limassol vs Everton - Morgan keen to make fresh start under new management

Posted Thursday, December 07, 2017 by PA

Morgan Schneiderlin is determined to revive his Everton career having been one of the few senior players sent to Cyprus for a Europa League fixture that Sam Allardyce will miss.

Allardyce, appointed as manager only last week, is not in Nicosia for Everton's dead rubber against Apollon Limassol due to a pre-arranged medical assessment and several key players have remained home, too, given the club's elimination has already been confirmed.

Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jordan Pickford are among them, with Allardyce conscious of Sunday's Merseyside derby, and Schneiderlin's presence on the other side of the continent could be interpreted as a reflection of his place in the Goodison Park pecking order.

The 28-year-old French midfielder has not started the previous two fixtures and last month both Schneiderlin and Kevin Mirallas, another also in Cyprus, were understood to have been left out of the squad to face Watford having been involved in a training-ground incident.

At the time Schneiderlin denied reports he was sent home due to concerns over his attitude and while once more dismissing that as "fake news" on Wednesday, he did admit he is keen to make a fresh start under Allardyce.

"First I read about it in the newspaper and I was as surprised as I could be because there was no incident," he said. "I made a statement on my social networks saying it was fake news and it wasn't true.

"I want to turn the page. It was not nice for me to see that and it is part of football. I have to deal with it.

"I want to prove (myself) in every game and of course there is a new manager coming in so it's a fresh start for everyone. I haven't had the chance to play the last few games and it is going to be up to me to show what I can do and that I can make a difference to the team.

"It needs to be the aim of everybody to show themselves and show that they can play. It is a chance to prove you can play."

Limassol boss Sofronis Avgousti, whose side can also not qualify for the last 32, admits he has been surprised by Everton's woeful Europa League campaign.

The Toffees have taken just one point from their five Group E games, against Apollon at Goodison Park in September, and have conceded 15 times including a 5-1 trouncing at home to Atalanta last month.

"For sure we believed that Everton would go better in the group," he said.

"It's a great historical team and we were expecting them to be higher in our group."

Limassol fans who have made the near 50-mile trip for a 'home' game will not be watching the likes of Rooney or Sigurdsson, but Avgousti is mindful that those deployed by the visitors on Thursday night will still have points to prove to their absent boss.

"It's a shame that our fans will not be able to see those players playing in the field," Avgousti added.

"But I'm sure the players who will replace them will show equally good quality in the game because they for sure will want to impress their new coach and they will want to show their good form."

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