Carlo Ancelotti will have virtually the same squad to pick from for tomorrow’s trip to Leicester City as he did for Saturday’s home win over Chelsea.
Everton secured a 1-0 victory over Frank Lampard’s side without Seamus Coleman, James Rodriguez and Fabian Delph, all of whom missed the game through injury.
And as well as long-term absentees Lucas Digne and Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Ancelotti confirmed at today’s pre-match press conference that all three of them will also miss the Leicester match.
“The squad is practically the same. I don’t want to take a risk on Seamus Coleman, who is quite ready and fit, but we’d prefer to leave him out for this game and be ready for the next game on Saturday [against Arsenal].
“We have James out, who is starting his individual rehab, and we’ll check him day by day. Delph is also out; the others are all OK.
“I don’t know [if James will make the Arsenal game]. As I said, we have to check day by day. It’s not an easy problem. Maybe if he’s not available for Saturday, he will be available next Wednesday [against Manchester United].”
Ancelotti is anticipating a stern test from Leicester, who are third in the Premier League but have won eight games this season, more than any other side in the top-flight.
And the Italian admitted Everton will need to put in the same high-quality performance as they managed against Chelsea if they are to stop Brendan Rodgers’ side, and in particular the free-scoring Jamie Vardy:
“It’s really difficult [to play against Leicester]. They have a good team who are really good on the counter-attack.
“If you want to have a good result against Leicester, you have to do the same performance as we did against Chelsea - defend well, be focused, don’t let them have the possibility to play counter-attack.
“They are playing really efficient attacking football. They have players with quality, they have fast players, and they have a fantastic striker in Vardy, who is used to scoring every single game. I think that is their best quality - their style of attack is really efficient.”
Ancelotti was also asked about Ben Godfrey, who was signed as a central defender but has also deputised at right-back and now left-back since his October Goodison Park arrival.
And on the back of a highly impressive individual performance against Chelsea at left-back, the Everton boss spoke in glowing terms about the 22-year-old:
“Ben is a good surprise for me because he’s showing all his quality. He’s a guy with a strong personality, humble, so I think we signed a really, really good defender.”
Ancelotti also gave an update on Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who has not played since August 2019 due to several long-term injuries.
He confirmed the Ivorian is near to completing his rehabilitation, but conceded it is unlikely he will feature in any of Everton’s five remaining games in 2020:
“The player, I think, is desperate to come back. We will be having a talk with him and the doctor and we can start to look to him for the next year. The guy had a lot of problems, suffered a lot, and everyone hopes 2021 will be fantastic for him.
“ I don’t think so [that he will play before January] but the important thing is to start training with the team.”