Carlo Ancelotti was in tears before kickoff during the minute’s applause to remember his one-time opponent and good friend, footballing legend Diego Maradona. At the final whistle, his mood would have improved very little as Everton failed to take their chances in a wide-open game against an exciting Leeds United side to lose 1-0.
Speaking to the media after the game, Ancelotti revealed that he had expected the game to go this way, minus the final result of course.
“We expected this kind of open game. They had chances, we had chances... who took the first chance won the game.
“They scored a goal at the end, we could have scored before, they could have scored before... at the end they won because they took the chance to score a goal.
“They played well, we didn’t play badly but it was not enough for the result. The opportunities we had, we could have been more clinical with the final pass or final shot. That was the game.
“I can’t say that the game was not good. The game was difficult but with more efficiency in front of goal we could have won.”
The expected goals charts will tell a different story, but it is indeed a minor miracle that a game with 4.4 in combined expected goals produced only one, that too from a chance from far, far away. On the goal itself the Italian had little so say that we didn’t see.
“It was a straight shot. Godfrey was close to the ball, Jordan in that situation didn’t see the ball when it started to move because it was close to the body of Ben Godfrey and it was difficult to save.
“It is true that Jordan made some fantastic saves in two or three opportunities.”
Ancelotti stuck with the two wingbacks formation from last weekend at Fulham, but didn’t get the kind of result he would have expected.
“Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman are important players who are out in this moment but, as I have said, we have to manage this because Digne is out for two or three months.
“In the second half we were better defensively. In the first half we had some problems. I know that we had Tom Davies in a new position, we had Iwobi in a new position. Second half we were more compact at the back.
“The work-rate of the wing backs was really high. They needed to defend and attack. That is why we put on fresh legs but the performances from both of them were good.
“We played badly against Southampton and Newcastle, today was not a top game, it was a good game but not enough to win. We competed and if we scored first we could have won.”
The Blues have now lost four times in their last five games, and have not had a clean sheet in the league since the opening day, nine games ago.
“We started really well, now we have had some problems. The victory against Fulham helped us but we have to be focused every game.
“We are in a good position in the table still but, of course, we need more consistency at the back.”