Sean Dyche snaps back at those mocking Everton for losing to sixth tier Chester City

Despite training game loss to non-league Chester City, manager Sean Dyche has dismissed any significance to the result, focusing instead on the return of Dominic Calvert-Lewin from injury, reports the LiverpoolEcho.

On Tuesday, a team featuring several first-team players suffered a 1-0 defeat to the National League North side. Dyche was only concerned with the striker’s fitness and progress, as Calvert-Lewin is returning from a hamstring injury and has not played a competitive game since February.

As Everton face a battle for survival with only seven games left and struggling for goals, Calvert-Lewin’s return could be crucial. Dyche mentioned after the Fulham defeat last weekend that the striker could be available for the squad as they take on Crystal Palace on Saturday. This hope was further enhanced by the 65 minutes he played against Chester in a game arranged for his benefit. Dyche dismissed the result of that game, stating that the focus should be on Calvert-Lewin’s progress instead. He looked sharp, played well, and could have scored multiple times. The main objective was to ensure he came through the game unscathed.

Other players, including Yerry Mina, Conor Coady, Nathan Patterson, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Tom Davies, Ellis Simms, and Mason Holgate, also featured in the training game. None of them started against Fulham. Dyche was not concerned about the defeat and praised Chester for their defensive tactics. He emphasized that his main objective was to ensure players came through injury-free, sharp, and fit, which was crucial for the bigger picture of the team’s future. The result of the game has no relevance to the first team’s ongoing battle for survival.

Dyche also said: “And that is really important because look at the noise, look at what the noise has all been about since I came to the club. Apart from the ownership all the noise has been about Calvert-Lewin. And we’ve been working really, really hard with the physios, with the medics with him, to make sure we give him the best possible opportunity to be as fully fit as possible. That is the absolute outcome on this occasion.

“On another occasion if he was fully fit and everyone else was, I’d be going ‘hang on a minute’. But on this occasion, I had to stay focused on the prize, and this prize was for him to stay fit. It was my decision to take him off; he didn’t want to come off, I was like, ’no, no, no’, that’s enough. I was zoned in on that, how is he looking, how’s he moving. You know, how is he feeling, all those sort of things.

“But it is a totally different one if he’d have been flying and fully fit, we would be having a different conversation, it would be with the players as well about that result. But the outcome is the outcome I was looking for and that is for Dom to play and be fit.”