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Ancelotti hints at Everton’s starting lineup for West Brom

Manager’s comments from his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash

Everton v Preston North End - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Everton host West Bromwich Albion tomorrow in their home-opener, though there will be no fans in the stands at Goodison Park for this event for the first time in the club’s storied history.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that club captain Seamus Coleman would start tomorrow, his 250th game for the Blues.

“He will start and so congratulations to him [for beginning his 250th top-flight game], it is a great achievement. We are honoured to have him as captain in this team.

“Seamus can play until 40, he is still young.”

He also added that the trio of recent signings who all started last weekend were doing well too after a full week of rest and training.

“The new players are in good condition, they adapted well in the game against Tottenham Hotspur.

“They trained well this week. I gave a rest to them and other players [against Salford], to prepare well for tomorrow’s game.

“In general, it is important to rotate the players, in the beginning. Nobody is 100 per cent fit [this early in a season]. We can use training to improve their physical conditions.

“Allan and James Rodriguez have international experience, Abdoulaye Doucoure played really well in the Premier League [with former club Watford FC]. They brought more confidence to their teammates.”

Ancelotti had positive things to say about his #1, Jordan Pickford, who was composed last week in a shutout and looked good for England during the international break as well.

“Jordan is confident in this moment. The fact he played in the national team gave him more confidence to start the season well.

“He is focused and had a fantastic performance against Tottenham.”

West Brom are led by former Everton defender Slaven Bilic who led his side to promotion from the Championship at the end of last season.

“West Brom is a tough team. I know the manager and his style, he did really well with Croatia [as national team boss].

“It will be a difficult game, I hope we can have a good result but we will have to play at our best to win.

“The game plan doesn’t change [from Spurs]. The most important part of the game was the spirit the team showed and that has to stay the same.

“West Brom will play in a different shape from Tottenham. We have to manage this but the idea is to play the same.”

Last weekend’s win has done morale a world of good especially considering how disappointing the Toffees were to end last season.

“The expectation gives us motivation. It is always important to have expectation because this puts more pressure on us. It is good to have pressure because it can give you more motivation in your job.

“The performance last week was really important, it gave us a lot of confidence for tomorrow. That is where we are focused, on trying to repeat the performance we had against Tottenham.

“The spirit in this moment is good and we want to keep the spirit high with a good result [against West Brom]. I can say we have a good squad and for this reason we can get a result.”

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

While the Blues did well soon after Ancelotti’s appointment, the squad seemed worn down often especially after resumption of play from the COVID-enforced break.

“We need consistency, this is what we missed last season. The victory against Tottenham was a victory for spirit not strategy. A lot of times we played with the same strategy but missed motivation, concentration and ambition.

“We have to want to be consistent in the future. It [ability to be consistent] is to do with mentality. How the players focus and concentrate and believe in what we are doing.”

When asked about his thoughts regarding having fans back in the stands, Ancelotti added -

“All people who love football wants fans to come back to the stadium but when it is safe and secure. We have to follow the advice of the Government.

“With the games behind closed doors we are safe and secure because the Premier League did a great job.”