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Ancelotti’s comments on Everton’s Champions League push

The manager has been speaking ahead of the visit from Crystal Palace tomorrow

Carlo Ancelotti Takes His First Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton will be looking to go into the upcoming winter break with another three points from Crystal Palace, and an opportunity to continue climbing up a packed Premier League table.

Speaking ahead of the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti was asked on what he thought about the opponents tomorrow.

“I expect a difficult game as is every game in the Premier League. Every team has its own quality, Crystal Palace have their own quality, a manager with lots of experience, players with a lot of quality.

“We have to do our 100%, and with the support of our stadium I think we can have three points.”

Fabian Delph has come in for a lot of criticism from the fans, but the manager spoke up in support of the midfielder.

“In this moment, we have three midfielders, without Delph. We have Tom Davies, Schneiderlin, Sigurdsson. I can say now two of these will play - and one will go on the bench!

“He did well when he played, I have confidence in all the players. Honestly I can say Fabian did a good job here in this period with his personality and character in this period. The team needs a player with this kind of quality.”

The new transfer window dates were announced yesterday, what did Ancelotti think about that?

“For my job it’s not good to have this window so open. The best way for a manager is when the league starts officially and the transfer window is closed. Then you cannot keep a player who is not happy. You could manage a player for one month who wants to leave. For us it’s more difficult.”

The Everton Women’s side will play the Merseyside Derby at Goodison on Sunday.

“It is fantastic to support them. They have a fantastic game at Goodison Park at him. I saw them training last week. With the support of our fans they can beat Liverpool.”

Has the rise of Dominic Calvert-Lewin caught him offguard, and did he know about him before he joined the Blues?

“I knew about him. I was not surprised. He has quality and he is showing his quality.

“He can improve, I am sure, he is still young but I am satisfied with his form in this month.”

His thoughts on the staggered winter break which will see the Blues play tomorrow and then off until 23rd February when they are away at the Gunners.

“The team is fit in this period. The fact that we played on the Christmas period it is good to have a rest and time to prepare.

“It is an important time for the players to have a rest. I am going to give them five days off and then we come back to prepare for the game against Arsenal.”

The big question, with fourth place still in touching distance, was he looking at Champions League qualification this season?

“Honestly, we are not thinking about this. As I said, To play the Europa League would be a fantastic result for us for next season.

“This is the target in this moment, because Chelsea is too far ahead at the moment. Maybe in the next three or four games they’ll be closer but there are a lot of fantastic teams. But our target needs to be the Europa League, but let’s see what’s going to happen.”