Sean Dyche now shares why he substituted Seamus Coleman against Arsenal last night
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Sean Dyche now shares why he substituted Seamus Coleman against Arsenal last night

Everton fell to a second consecutive defeat away at Arsenal last night, though manager Sean Dyche confirmed that his substitution of Seamus Coleman was based on helping Everton ‘stay on top’ of a congested fixture list, rather than injury, which may offer Evertonians a small amount of comfort following the 4-0 hammering at the Emirates.

Indeed, with a potential six-pointer away at Nottingham Forest this coming Sunday being Everton’s third game in little over a week, with two of those away from home, Dyche insisted on the importance of ‘mental sharpness’ ahead of some important fixtures.

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Speaking on the official Everton website, Dyche was questioned about his decision to withdraw captain Seamus Coleman around the hour mark last night, and was asked if the 34-year-old had picked up a knock, responding:

“No. We are looking after players.

“At his age, three in a week and all that stuff, [Abdoulaye] Doucoure as well put in a massive shift. Dwight [McNeil] put in a massive shift. He didn’t come off but you know what I mean.

“They are putting in a big shift, three games in a week, raising the mental sharpness of the players.

“We are just trying to monitor injuries and stay on top of everything, while also trying to win games, of course.”

Coleman has been vital for Dyche and Everton so far this season

Despite his ageing legs, Coleman has been in influential form for the Toffees of late, with stellar defensive displays in recent Goodison Park victories over Arsenal and Leeds United, a game in which the Irish international also scored a superb winner.

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However, three games in the space of a week would be a big ask for a player of Coleman’s vintage, and with right-back prodigy Nathan Patterson still unavailable due to injury, Dyche will be looking to some of his fringe players to plug those gaps.

Indeed, Ben Godfrey, who himself has struggled with injuries this season, replaced Coleman in the second half at the Emirates, though struggled to cope with the fluidity of Arsenal’s attack.

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