Everton manager Ronald Koeman is less than impressed with the physical state of his squad just days out from their first Premier League game of the season against Tottenham on Sunday.
The Dutchman, who left Southampton to replace Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park, said his predecessor granted the first-team squad an excessive break after a disappointing Premier League campaign last season.
“In my opinion the team is only on 70 per cent of the fitness of what a Premier League player needs,” he said.
“We do testing, runs and sprints.
“At Southampton, we had a really strong team. In terms of a physical state, the team was high. I don’t know about other teams, but if I compare here it is 70 per cent and at Southampton it was 100 per cent.
“But they had a holiday of six or seven weeks at Everton. I changed it to start the season three days earlier.
“I had planned for Southampton to start the season one week or 10 days earlier because it is not good that players get six or seven weeks of holiday.
“That is one of the reasons why they are not on the level they need to be.”
Koeman will be trying to lift Everton back into the top half of the table after a forgettable campaign under Martinez last time out saw the club finish in 11th place in the league.
He will hope a disrupted pre-season, the loss of John Stones and the continual rumours surrounding a transfer for Romelu Lukaku and other stars does not have too large of an effect come Sunday.