By Abigail Withey 

Ronald Koeman has predicted that Atlanta will be a difficult team to beat during their Europa League clash on Thursday.

The Toffees squad have jetted over to Italy ready to face the Serie A giants at the Mapei Stadium for their first Group E game.

The Dutch manager spoke ahead of the game and when asked about Atalanta he said that from his experience “it is not about the name of the team” as he believes that all Italian clubs are hard to beat.

Reliable journalist Phil Kirkbride, who is a journalist for the Liverpool Echo, posted Koeman’s thoughts on his verified Twitter account on Wednesday evening.

Koeman’s side reached the group stages of the competition after securing a 2-0 win on aggregate against Slovakia outfit Ruzomberok followed by a 3-1 aggregate victory over Croatian club Hadjuk Split.

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Everton will be hoping for a better result on Thursday night after the Merseyside club suffered recent disappointing defeats against Chelsea and Tottenham.

The Blues will also face Cypriot side Apollon Limassol and Ligue 1 outfit Lyon over the coming weeks with the hope of climbing to the top of their group.

Just three days after their Europa League match Everton will travel to Old Trafford to face Jose Mourinho’s side where summer signing Wayne Rooney will face his former Manchester United team mates.

In other Everton news, Manchester United star Juan Mata has delivered his verdict on the Toffees’ summer transfer business. 
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