Everton are back in Premier League action tomorrow after their 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday against Merseyside rivals Liverpool. The Blues will travel to East Anglia to take on Norwich City who languish at the bottom of the league table. The last time the two sides met was early on in the season when the Canaries came away from Goodison with a famous win as the Blues floundered about in the last days of Marco Silva’s tenure.
Speaking ahead of the game tomorrow, manager Carlo Ancelotti started off with talking about the mood on the training ground and playing behind closed-doors with the perceived lack of pressure on the players.
“We have trained well. The game showed good physical condition. I was a bit surprised!
“I’m also sure it will be more difficult the next game that we play tomorrow because we did not have much time to rest.
“The players do not have fear to play in this period. They do not like to play without a crowd but the mental aspect? They don’t have a problem like fear.”
Goodison’s sometimes toxic atmosphere towards certain players has often been blamed for making things difficult on the pitch, and provides the Blues with an excellent opportunity to blood some youngsters and for Ancelotti to try out different tactics without having supporters baying for the players’ heads with every error.
Youngster Anthony Gordon made his first Premier League start on Sunday in the derby, and though he had a subdued game Ancelotti expects him to make a bigger impression going forward.
“The sense of belonging of players to the club is really important. When I was at Milan they built a fantastic team from the academy.
“Gordon has a fantastic sense of belonging like Seamus Coleman and Tom Davies. It is really important.
“But I chose Anthony not because he is from the academy but because he was right for the game. This is my job.”
The Toffees are wallowing in midtable currently with only two wins in their last eight games, and though they have been one of the better attacking sides in the league since the arrival of Ancelotti in mid-December, they are struggling to rack up the points that can see them surge up the table. With Manchester City suspended from Europe next season (pending appeal), fortuitous circumstances could see the eighth placed team in the league play in the Europa League, a target that Ancelotti is eyeing.
“It is really important to have a goal to reach. Our goal is to compete until the end of the season and try to climb the table and next season try to play in Europe.
“This is difficult but the teams above us are not so far away.
“It is a tournament. We have started well. We need points to climb the table. Our target is to do all we can to try to play in Europe next season.
“It will not be easy but we have to fight for this. It is an important goal for us and the club.”
All quotes courtesy of Liverpool Echo.