“We are aware of what it means”

Everton fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg reckons he has a good handle on what the Merseyside Derby means to fans.

Speaking to evertonfc.com, Kluitenberg said: “This derby is amazing. You can read a lot, you can watch it on television – but when you’re really involved in Everton, you know this is the most important game of the season. Of course, the coaching staff and I try to prepare the players for what is a big challenge. I know the players will do everything they possibly can to get a good result.

Kluitenberg worked with Ronald Koeman at Benfica during the 2005/06 season, with Benfica recording a double over arch-rivals Porto, including a first away win for more than 14 years.

“It’s intense. We experienced the Benfica-Porto derby twice, but I have to say this is more intense than we’ve had before.

“The Portuguese derby, we won two times in 14 years so that was a great result. Southern European people are excited about their derby but sometimes it looks like it’s more intense when you’re outside of the stadium, compared to when you’re inside it. Here it is on a higher level. There are two big teams on Merseyside and we are aware of what it means.”

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