Everton travel to Chelsea this weekend in their third straight game against a top six side, with Carlo Ancelotti leading his new side to a familiar ground for him where he lifted the domestic double a decade ago.
Speaking ahead of the Premier League clash, he talked about returning to London -
“It’s an important game. We went out after the game against Manchester United with a good confidence, we played well and we’ll try to repeat against another strong team against Chelsea.
“We have to try to break our record that is not good away against top teams. The condition of the team is good in my opinion. I hope we can change this situation.
“It will be an emotional moment for me. I have fantastic memories of the period I was there, it was two unbelievable seasons. I’m really excited to come back.”
The manager touched on the uncertainty brought to the game with the Corona virus epidemic when he mentioned looking forward to seeing his former player Frank Lampard who is now the manager at Chelsea.
“I thought he could be a manager, he’s doing really well, he did well last year and this season. I hope the best for him.
“I am really pleased to meet him after a long time, though I don’t know if I can shake his hand!
“It’s a serious thing, we are following the advice of the government and the Premier League.”
The Premier League issued an edict this week that pre-match handshakes between players and the referees would not be allowed to contain the spread of the virus, and even playing games with no supporters behind closed-doors remains a possibility.
“The only thing we can do is follow the advice the government give to us. In Italy they’ve done this for the next month, everyone of us is not happy for this. But we have to follow the instructions. We hope everything will be solved soon.
“(Regarding celebrations) I don’t know, I don’t know, we will see.
“Without the crowd it is really difficult, nobody is used to it. Supporters are really important. I hope that in April things are going to be normal.”
The Italian veteran was able to quickly turn around a foundering Everton side and was asked what his secret was.
“I think the fact that I didn’t want to change a lot from the past gave us the possibility to improve quickly. The motivation in this team during this period was good. They are focused, there is a good sense of belonging here.
“That made us better, but I am sure we can improve.
“We are not a top team. The spine of the team is good, we have mix of young and experienced players. We can improve, we are not at the top in this moment, but we can be. It is our dream to be at the top soon, as soon as possible. I am sure it is not going to take a long time.”
Ancelotti has certainly embraced living on Merseyside, and spoke like a true Scouser about his fondness for the area and all it brings.
“I like the club, the facilities, the city - I feel good here! I don’t want to leave the city, it’s a good place, we have to manage the weather but this is normal, I’m from the north of Italy.
“I went to the beach on Monday and it was absolutely fantastic! We could go to the beach today instead of staying here!”
There was some big news this week with both Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin committing their futures to the Blues.
“It’s important, when you have young players with quality you can build a good future around them. The fact that they are English is important for the club because they know the atmosphere around here.
“Above all, they are players with a lot of qualities. With them we can build a good future in this club.”