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‘I am an Evertonian’ - Carlo Ancelotti praises Toffees supporters as he settles into life at Goodison

Carlo Magnifico indeed

Everton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

As you would expect from someone of his experience and knowledge, Carlo Ancelotti has a handy knack of knowing exactly what to say and when.

That applies when speaking to his players as well as the media, with his measured response in wake of the Newcastle farce, when all around him were in a state of shock, a case in point.

His latest interview with the official website is further evidence of how the 60-year-old is building close relationships with all facets of the club, including in this case supporters.

Speaking about his first month as Toffees manager, Ancelotti said:

“I am an Evertonian. The first day I signed I was an Evertonian.

“I love the feeling the supporters have for the team. They are really passionate about the team.

“You can see this in the stadium and city. There are lots of Evertonians here and the atmosphere in the city is really nice for me.

“It is a strength for us to have this kind of connection with the supporters.”

Everton FC v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The quotes have echoes of David Moyes’ famous ‘people’s club’ speech in his first press conference as Everton manager in 2002.

That instantly got the fans onside and helped restore their pride in a team that had floundered for too long.

Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar reaction, though the supporters are already well behind him anyway.

Of course, a cynic will suggest these are quotes deliberately designed to push the supporters’ buttons and I’m sure that is partly the case. But Ancelotti has actively shown his desire to embrace everything about Everton, including getting to know the city and its people, so they are not just completely meaningless platitudes.

If a manager is to be a success at Everton they need to get to know the club and its fans, something Ancelotti has shown a real willingness and enthusiasm to do.

Meanwhile, Everton’s early exit from the FA Cup means Ancelotti has had an 11-day break to properly work his players.

The Italian is pleased with the progress made by his team, but hopes the quality time on the training pitch at Finch Farm will bear fruit in the coming weeks.

“We worked well this week… some sessions with intensity, some tactical sessions and tactical drills.

“The game against Newcastle was good in different aspects; defensively and offensively.

“Also, in my opinion, we were more vertical in our play, [but] sometimes we have to use our possession to try to find the right space to attack, not to just keep possession.

“The target with possession is to find the right solution to attack properly and well.

“In that respect, we can improve.

“Sometimes when we have the possibility to pass forward, we are used to passing back.

“This is not good and this is the improvement we are working on.

“We spent most of the time working offensively.

“Defensively, the team is doing well, we are trying to press forward more.

“We are trying to improve and play better, because the key is to play better.”

Ancelotti also confirmed that Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi are available for Saturday’s trip to Watford after injury.

Andre Gomes was also able to train with the group this week for the first time this his horror injury against Tottenham in November, meaning Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who is slowly recovering from that nasty thigh injury, is the only absentee.

Speaking about Gomes, Ancelotti added:

“He is a humble guy and he really likes to play. For a player who is out for three months like him it is important to try to start with the team.

“He was really happy this week.

“In training, he is confident, he has no problem, he tries to do everything.

“I think he can recover soon.

“It is really important [for Gomes to be progressing in his rehabilitation] because first of all he is a player with fantastic quality.

“He has experience and has played for fantastic teams like Valencia and Barcelona.

“He can give us his experience and quality.”