Everton boss Ronald Koeman is confident that he can convince striker Romelu Lukaku to stay put at Goodison Park.
The Dutch tactician has spoken out on the back of an interview the 23-year-old Belgium international did earlier in the week when he suggested that he would not sign a new contract with the Toffees because he does not think they have the ambition to challenge for honours.
Of course (I am confident of keeping him) and everybody knows what can happen in football. But you need to respect your contract.Ronald Koeman
Koeman was unhappy with Lukaku's decision to speak out and hinted that disciplinary action could be taken, but he also insisted that talks have taken place and he has not given up hope of the former Chelsea forward penning his new deal offer and staying put in the long term.
Koeman, who said he would not be in charge of Everton if they were not ambitious, said: "I spoke with Rom about this project. We had several talks about the future. But I am not so afraid about his situation because the player has two years more on his contract. Of course (I am confident of keeping him) and everybody knows what can happen in football. But you need to respect your contract.
"Every player has ambition, likes to play for titles, play in the Champions League. That's a normal ambition. What we want to do and like to do is to show everyone that if there is one club out of the big six to make the next step then its Everton.
"But it's impossible to do this in one transfer window, and one season. It takes time. But this is a message for everybody; the manager and Everton is trying to get the best team it can. But there is competition."
Koeman also confirmed that Lukaku will be selected for first-team duty when Hull visit Goodison Park on Saturday, especially as ffith-placed Arsenal are within three points of them.
"His behaviour, except this interview, is what I like from the player. There is no problem," he added.
"The team needs Rom, and to score goals Rom needs the team. We like to continue and keep the momentum. We are playing well and we know every game is difficult. Last week doesn't count, this is a new game."
Lukaku is 4/6 to score at any time against Hull, with Everton 4/7 to win the game. The struggling Tigers can be backed at 6/1 to win and the draw is 3/1.
View all Soccer betting