Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has urged supporters to get behind his team when they host Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow, as the fallout from Sunday’s FA Cup defeat to a scratch Liverpool side continues.
It has been a wretched week for Everton, which has seen Fabian Delph argue with fans on social media, Seamus Coleman embroiled in an argument with a spectator at Anfield after full-time, and a group of supporters confront Marcel Brands outside Finch Farm.
But speaking at his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti was quick to stress how important a part the fans play, especially at Goodison Park, and also refuted reports of dressing room arguments after the Anfield defeat:
“We analysed the performance during the week. Of course, we were all disappointed, but I explained to the players my thoughts on the game. We made mistakes in all parts of the game, but we are working on them this week.
“We have to look forward; I understand the frustrations of the supporters. This is normal when you lose a derby, but I hope that tomorrow, the atmosphere at the stadium will be good because we need their support and we need a great performance to react well after the defeat.
“There was absolutely no arguments on the training ground or in the dressing room. The players listened, they agreed on the mistakes that we made, the fact that we were not able to play a good game. We have worked well this week, and I hope that tomorrow, we are going to give a good performance and to try, of course, to win.
“I think against Burnley [1-0 win, Ancelotti’s only home game as Everton manager so far], the atmosphere was fantastic, and I hope that we can help to keep this atmosphere up by playing well and showing good spirit, intensity and quality of football.”
On the issues concerning both Delph and Brands, Ancelotti said he has spoken to both of them about their respective incidents, but added that, in both situations, he can understand frustrations.
While he admitted Delph was perhaps unwise to retaliate, he believes everyone connected with the club was hurting immediately after such a bruising defeat.
As for the supporters who pitched up at Finch Farm, Ancelotti joked he is used to this sort of thing in his native Italy, and that he can also sympathise with them and would also be happy to speak with them.
“I and the club spoke with him. It was a mistake. He shouldn’t have reacted to this, but after the game, every one of us is frustrated, and so maybe sometimes, you react emotionally. of course, it is not good, but I think everyone can understand.
“I spoke with Marcel but as I said before, the supporters were frustrated after the defeat. I understand, but now, we need the support of our fans because we have an opportunity to improve our position in the table in the next game, so I hope tomorrow, everything will be OK. In Italy, it is normal. I can speak with them if they want to. I have absolutely no problem.”
After winning his first two games against Burnley and Newcastle, Ancelotti went on to lose the following matches at Manchester City and Liverpool, but feels context is needed before assessing his start as Everton manager.
He believes nothing has changed from the day he was appointed, that his target to climb the table remains the same, and that despite the derby defeat, the spirit in the camp remains high:
“Nothing changes because, as I said, our target is to improve our league position. We did well in the first two games. We have the opportunity in the next few games to improve our position again.
“The spirit in the squad is good and so, of course, there is disappointment about the game against Liverpool, but we have to look forward.”