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Ancelotti has almost entire squad available for United clash

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Everton boss says Holgate, Coleman, Digne and Rodriguez could all return for tomorrow’s game

Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League
Ancelotti’s Everton have lost their last two matches
Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti has said he has almost an entirely fit Everton squad to choose from ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Goodison Park tomorrow.

James Rodriguez, Seamus Coleman and Mason Holgate have all recovered from their respective injuries, while Lucas Digne is back in contention after serving his one-match suspension following his red card in last month’s defeat at Southampton.

Only Richarlison, still banned after his own sending-off in October’s draw with Liverpool, and Fabian Delph are definitely out, Ancelotti revealed at his pre-match press conference on Friday. He said:

“We have practically all the squad available apart from Richarlison and Delph, who had a little problem yesterday but is out just for a few days. All the others are available.

“I think it is important to have not only James back, but to have Coleman and Digne back, so we can have a better team. It will be an important and difficult game.

“I forgot to say, also Holgate is back. It will not be easy to find a back four that are going to start tomorrow!”

Everton have won none of the seven Premier League matches that Richarlison has missed since signing in July 2018, and lost the last two in the Brazilian’s absence at Southampton and Newcastle.

And Ancelotti called on his side to end this unwanted record when they host Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side tomorrow, adding:

“Richarlison is a really important player for us, but I think we have to break this statistic tomorrow. It is not good.”

“It is a great opportunity tomorrow to forget these two defeats, to stay at the top of the table. It’s a really important opportunity; difficult, because we know that Manchester United is a strong team, but we want to take this opportunity.

“In this moment, it’s too far from the end of the season, so we have to move forward from these two defeats which were not good, to come back and play well, to show fighting spirit, and then we’ll see.

Jordan Pickford was left out of a Premier League match for the first time since joining Everton in June 2017 when Ancelotti handed Robin Olsen his Blues debut in goal at Newcastle last weekend.

But both before and after that Newcastle defeat, the Italian confirmed Pickford would return for tomorrow’s game, and reiterated that message here in his press conference.

After Gareth Southgate stressed Pickford remains England’s first choice goalkeeper yesterday, Ancelotti maintains he still has great faith in him despite a shaky start to the season:

“I have no message [to Pickford]. I talked to him every day this week. We laughed; we were together. He knows what to do tomorrow. He starts, no doubt.

“His mentality is good; I don’t want to change it. He’s a good guy; a funny guy. I think sometimes, he made mistakes because he thought too much. He has to use more instinct.

“When he reacts, he’s a really top, top goalkeeper. When he has to act, sometimes he makes mistakes. But he’s still a young goalkeeper with a lot of quality. It’s there that he can improve.

“It’s difficult to change the character of people. I think on the pitch he has to be focused on what he’s doing, knowing his limits but also where his qualities are.”