Everton are back in Premier League action tomorrow as they host Leicester City to take on the third-placed side. The Foxes will be looking over their shoulders at Chelsea who are just a point behind, and just beat them in the FA Cup quarter finals last weekend too. The Toffees meanwhile still sit in twelfth place in a crowded midtable where a number of sides are jockeying for position with the potential that up to 8th place could get a berth in Europe next season.
Speaking ahead of the match tomorrow, manager Carlo Ancelotti addressed the media in his pre-match call on Zoom, starting off with an injury update.
“Only Yerry Mina is back. Djibril Sidibe will be back Friday and Theo Walcott will be back in training on Monday.
“He (Delph) is still injured and he is doing individual treatment. I don’t know exactly when he can recover properly.”
Ancelotti is yet to use his full complement of five substitutions since the league resumed due to the thin squad he has being further decimated by injury and departures. The manager is unlikely to break up the pairing of Michael Keane and Mason Holgate that has looked strong in the last couple of games recording successive clean sheets, but having Mina on the bench does give him some added flexibility should it be needed later on in games being played in this energy-sapping heat.
Leighton Baines has committed to stay until the end of the season, but is yet to sign the one-year contract extension that was offered to him. However, Ancelotti has spoken highly of the veteran in the past and remains unconcerned that he would turn it down.
“He extended his contract until the end of the season. After that, we have time to wait for an answer from Leighton Baines.”
Youngster Anthony Gordon has been getting more and more playing time, but while he hasn’t been a breakthrough success in that period, the veteran manager wants to see him show progress.
“He has to improve and use this period, where he trains with us, to increase his quality. He has a lot of possibilities to grow fast.”
The Foxes will provide a challenge for the slower Blues tomorrow with their speed in transition, and Ancelotti is prepared for that.
“Our moment is not bad, it is good. What I have seen this week in training gives me confidence that we will play a good game tomorrow.
“Difficult team. They are really fast in front, Vardy is a dangerous player. They have good organisation and they are having a fantastic season. What I have seen this week in training gives me confidence.”
The spike in COVID-19 cases in Leicester has led to a regional lockdown, but as of now there are no plans to postpone tomorrow’s game.
“We don’t have any concerns. The Premier League protocols give us the confidence everything will be ok.”
Leicester City have shown the Premier League the blueprint on how to topple the top six, having won the league and now in pole position to grab a Champions League spot for the second time in five seasons.
“I have confidence for the future, not for what we did but for what we can do. We have a young squad with a lot of players that can improve their quality and confidence. This team can improve.”
All quotes courtesy of the Liverpool Echo