Everton take on West Ham United on New Year’s Day, hoping to get 2021 started off on the right note. The Blues saw their last game of the year postponed following a COVID breakout among the Manchester City squad and have welcomed the additional rest.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference earlier today, manager Carlo Ancelotti was asked what message he had for the Everton fans.
“To meet them at the stadium will be the best start of 2021. The momentum of the team is good and we want to celebrate the moment with them.”
Everton are on a good run right now, having beaten some big teams en route to a four-game winning streak.
“We did well honestly. It seems the games were more difficult against Leicester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, but we did really well and found solidity at the back after a difficult month of November.
“We are pleased. We know that we can compete and improved our confidence, and our belief. We are ready to be tested again against West Ham.”
The Blues have had to adopt a more defensive mindset recently to sort out their issues picking up clean sheets.
“We didn’t change our style or philosophy but in some games we changed the strategy.
“This squad is able to adapt to the situation, which is good when you think we have lost important players.
“In some games, our block was a little deeper than normal but we were able to get good results. The fact we are able to adapt is good for the squad.”
The manager marked his first anniversary in charge this week, what were his thoughts on where the team is now.
“We are doing well honestly, we improved compared to last season. This is the target, to improve every year.
“I don’t think this season we can be competitive at the top but next season we have to improve what we do this season.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has cooled off after a hot start, what were Ancelotti’s thoughts on his five-game ‘drought’?
“It’s true that he didn’t score as usual, as he did at the beginning, but it is also true that he has been very important.
At Chelsea he determined the penalty, against Arsenal, the own goal. Against Sheffield he had a good opportunity. He is still working really hard.
“I don’t have to ask more, I don’t need to ask him to score goals. Him and Sigurdsson work really hard defensively.”
Did the veteran manager think that Richarlison was not getting enough protection from referees, considering he is one of the most fouled players in the league and the foul causing his concussion went unpunished?
“I don’t think so. He has protection., the referees are okay in this sense and there are strict rules against violent conduct. He doesn’t need more protection.
“He is a powerful player, an important player, a lot of times he is involved and he is so powerful and fast. Sometimes the contact can be dangerous but not more.”