Idrissa Gueye was told by Ronald Koeman that he was “not happy” about his performance in the recent draw with Middlesbrough.
But the Everton boss has been encouraged by the midfielder’s response during the squad’s training camp in Dubai and since they returned to Finch Farm.
Gueye was playing his first game since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations and says fatigue was behind his below par performance at the Riverside.
The 27-year-old had returned in time for games against Stoke City and Bournemouth but was not used.
“I wasn’t happy with his performance against Middlesbrough and I spoke to Gana who said he was still a little bit tired from the African Cup,” Koeman revealed.
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“But what I saw from Gana last week and this week is that he is at the level we expect and what he saw from him at the beginning of the season. He’s back and that’s important for the team.”
Gueye said: “When you go away for the African Cup you need time to come back into the team.
“The weather is not the same, the players [you are playing with] aren’t the same.
“Playing four games [at the tournament] can be tiring, so you need some time when you come back. That’s why the manager has done it like this.”