Everton boss Ronald Koeman has warned his side to prepare for a “dangerous game” ahead of facing Hull City in a Premier League clash on Friday.
Despite the Tigers currently propping up the league in 20th place with just 12 points from their opening 18 games, Koeman is expecting a tough encounter at the KCOM Stadium.
The Toffees come into this game in a far healthier seventh position, with 26 points, but have also struggled this season, winning seven but losing six of their games played thus far.
— Everton (@Everton) December 28, 2016
They come into this match on the back of a good 2-0 win over Leicester, but with only two other victories in their last 13 matches, including a 2-0 win over West Ham and a massive 2-1 win over Arsenal.
Hull though have lost their last three games, 3-0 to Tottenham, 1-0 to West Ham and 3-0 to Manchester City, with their last win, a 2-1 defeat of Southampton back in November.
Koeman, who recently watched Hull play, said: "The most dangerous thing you can do in football is expect to win. We know the Premier League is unpredictable.
"They are a strong team. Strong out of set plays, physically strong and they have some good players.
"I’m not looking at the position of Hull in the league table, because I watched them against Manchester City. After 70 minutes it was still 0-0 and City were not creating a lot of chances. Also, Hull lost the game at West Ham 1-0 but they hit the post four or five times. It’s difficult.
"We need to prepare ourselves because it’s a dangerous game.
"We need to fight and to play with the same aggression as we did against Leicester, then we will have the chance to get a good result."
Phelan, who watched as his side played well but concede three goals to City in their last clash, added: "We set up well and I thought we competed terrifically for 65 minutes of the game.
"Then we suffered through making elementary errors and we have to stop making those if we’re going to progress up this league.
"I thought taking on Manchester City in the way we did was the right way to go about it. There was anguish in their dug-out at times, there was frustration as well because we were more than capable for a period of time."
In team news, Joel Robles will continue in goal for Everton with Maarten Stekelenburg (dead leg) injured while James McCarthy has been ruled out with a hamstring strain.
Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic (both ACL knee) as well as Matthew Pennington (hamstring) remain long-term absentees.
Hull, meanwhile, must make do without Abel Hernandez (hernia), Will Keane (ACL knee), Moses Odubajo (patella), Greg Luer (knee), Alex Bruce (Achilles) and Allen McGregor (back).