Koeman explains Gueye absence after Everton prevail in Split

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Everton manager Ronald Koeman expects Idrissa Gueye to be fit to face Premier League champions Chelsea despite the midfielder missing Thursday's Europa League match against Hajduk Split with a hamstring complaint.

Koeman's men closed out a 3-1 aggregate triumph to reach the group stages with a 1-1 draw in Croatia - record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson equalising courtesy of an astonishing 50-yard volley 14 seconds into the second half.

Senegal international Gueye had a scan on his injury that came back all clear but, with Morgan Schneiderlin ruled out of the trip to Stamford Bridge after his red card late on in Monday's 1-1 draw at Manchester City, Koeman did not feel able to take any risks.

"It was too risky to start with Gana," Koeman told a post-match news conference.

"He had a light... I don't call it a hamstring injury really because we did a scan this morning and the scan was positive, but it was too risky.

"We know we don't have Morgan on Sunday and that was a reason not to start with Gana.

"It's difficult. We know it's only three days - less than three days. We play at 1.30pm on Sunday and we need to travel. 

"But it's still the beginning of the season and I think we can get some fresh players back on Sunday and that's what we need. 

"But it's a nice challenge and we have a team that is really difficult to beat and that's what we want to show again on Sunday."

Koeman was delighted to secure a full European campaign for Everton, who reached the last 16 of the Europa League in 2014-15.

"Everybody likes to be part of Europe," he said. "Football without European football is not a level we want to play at. 

"It is good for the experience of the players. It's tough but I think we can deal with it.

"We deserved to be back in Europe because I think, watching the two games, we were the better team."