Everton are all but mathematically out of contention for a berth in Europe next season, but Carlo Ancelotti is not letting that get him down. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against Aston Villa, the manager insisted that nothing has changed in how he is approaching the final three games of the extended 2019-20 Premier League season.
“This season didn’t start well, we were close to the bottom of the table in December. We had a dream to reach Europe, but the last results were not good. This doesn’t change the plan, the target must still be Europe.”
The limited resources at hand and the glaring weakness of a threadbare midfield have meant that Ancelotti has had to chop and change his squad and formation every game, including in-game adjustments like against Wolves.
“I think the system is not so important. For the players I have in this moment, 4-4-2 defensively is the best system.
“When you change shape it’s not always easy for the players to understand. For the future, the identity has to be quite clear. Defensively you can see easily how we play, offensively we would like to have a different system to attack.”
Ancelotti also addressed Everton’s dip in performances over the last three games, with the Blues flailing about aimlessly all over the pitch, except in the opponents’ defensive third of course.
“Three poor performances. Why? It is difficult to say. First of all I think that we didn’t have a lot of time to recover properly, second of all we lost a bit of fighting spirit. I think the players lost a bit of motivation and concentration.
“I was really surprised and I marked this to the players. It’s not acceptable, I said. I’m sure in the next three games we are going to have a different attitude.”
While disappointing that the bloated and overpaid squad failed to motivate themselves by the thought of getting into the top half of the table and attempting to qualify for the Europa League, it will indeed be interesting to see which players in the squad his words have taken most effect on, and who is past caring at this point and needs to be promoted to the front of the expected procession out of Finch Farm this summer.