By Carl Markham, PA
Everton manager Sean Dyche insists he has no problem with the relegation-threatened club potentially already looking for his replacement.
The former Burnley boss arrived late in January as Frank Lampard’s replacement with the challenge of avoiding the drop.
Things have not gone entirely to plan with the Toffees just two points above the relegation zone, although their fate remains in their own hands as they seek to extend their stay in the top flight into a 70th season by matching the results of Leeds and Leicester.
And reports this week suggested Everton were already thinking about what comes next.
“It’s fair to say ‘interesting’ reports, but I don’t know where they come from,” said Dyche.
“At the end of the day, good businesses should be succession planning. I’ve got no problem with that, even if that were true.”
Everton go into their relegation decider at home to Bournemouth without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin or defenders Nathan Patterson and Ben Godfrey.
“They won’t be fit. We haven’t had Dom for two-thirds of my time here. We have still won games, still got points on the board and performed,” Dyche said.
“Patto has come into the side more latterly and performed well. We lose him as well.”
Dyche holds out some hope Vitalii Mykolenko – his only remaining full-back on either flank – could return after a two-match absence.
“He’s a bit better so we will see how he reacts tomorrow to training today,” Dyche added.
Dyche was already without Seamus Coleman, Ruben Vinagre, Tom Davies and Andros Townsend so more injuries just increase the pressure in an already tough atmosphere on Sunday.
“The fact is we should be under pressure because that is what we want from this group, that’s the demand of being at Everton Football Club and I’ve learned that very quickly,” added Dyche.
“Every game should be a pressurised occasion and it is because that is being a professional footballer, not just the final game of the season.
“I think it is part of being a professional footballer. You have to use the feeling in the stadium to your advantage and I think we have a decent experience level for the ups and downs of football to understand that.
“We want players to focus on the game, which is not as easy as it sounds, but focus on the game and the idea and don’t worry about the noise. That’s the clear intention.”