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Ancelotti admits the pressure is on Everton ahead of Fulham test

The Toffees head to west London seeking to avoid a fourth successive defeat

Southampton v Everton - Premier League Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti covered a wide array of subjects during Friday’s news conference previewing the weekend trip to Fulham.

Starting with Sunday’s game and the Italian admits there is pressure on his side after a run of three successive defeats saw the Toffees tumble out of the top four.

They take on a Fulham side who lost their first four matches of the season but have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks, claiming four points from their last four games, though that would have been five had Ademola Lookman not missed a last-minute penalty with a disastrous attempt and a Panenka at West Ham last time out.

“Fulham didn’t start well the season, but it will be an important game because we lost last three games.

“We want a reaction, we want to come back and play well las we did the start of the season.

“There is a pressure on us, and there has to be as we didn’t do as we wanted in the last three games. “

Ancelotti also welcomed the extra day’s recovery thanks to the game being switched to Sunday for live broadcast on the BBC:

“Really important. We played against Liverpool on Saturday at midday and for the players it wasn’t the best to prepare for this game. The extra day is really better.”

The issue of dementia among former footballers and a possible link to heading the ball has been in the headlines this week following the death for 1966 World Cup winner Nobby Stiles and dementia diagnosis of his former team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton.

The Professional Footballers’ Association is creating a taskforce to further examine the issue of brain injury diseases in football and Ancelotti has welcomed the news of further research into the subject:

“Of course, every research they do for this is welcome. Its true that 40 years ago, when I played there was not the control that the players has in this period for everything.

“The players now are more controlled, but it’s an aspect we have to take into consideration seriously because players welfare is most important.

‘In the past a lot of players had problems, not only with dementia but other things is a concern for everyone, so the research is welcome.”

When asked whether he was concerned about his own health, he added:

“Now, I think that we have to support the research for the future, not for the past because the past, unfortunately is the past, what happened to us in the past, we never know what is going on in the future.

“Some players from the past had big problem and fortunately, until now I didn’t have a problem but, of course, I am worried about this.”

Switching back to the current squad and Ancelotti was, perhaps unsurprisingly, asked about James Rodriguez.

The forward released a statement on Thursday evening denying reports of a dressing-room bust-up after their World Cup qualifying defeat to Uruguay.

Ancelotti says he has not spoken to James about the issue, while also revealing what he thinks his best position is:

“Really I didn’t talk to him about this, because I think it’s not our problem. I think now they [him and Mina] have to be focused on our games.

“His [James’] position is number 10. It doesn’t matter if he is a little to the right, his best position is to the front. It doesn’t matter in the middle or to the right. Every game he has played in the front.”

And, finally, some transfer rumours. Isco and Sami Khedira have both been linked with Everton in recent days, but Ancelotti, unsurprisingly, wasn’t having any of it:

“Isco is a rumour from the press, from the media, not a rumour that went out from our side. We are not talking about the market in this period, we are talking about the problem we had and working to solve this problem. He’s a Real Madrid player.”

“I have good memories of Sami khedira, a fantastic professional. I would love to work with him but unfortunately he’s not the only one. I had many fantastic players in my career, but to come here to Everton is another thing to consider.”