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Ancelotti: Everton have to be better at the back

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Manager happy with overall performance, but wants improvements in some areas

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-WEST BROM Photo by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It could have all gone so differently for Everton yesterday. First they let Grady Diangana waltz into the Blues half with the ball, backing off and letting him run at the backline before allowing him to rip a swerving shot into the far corner with an unsighted Jordan Pickford unable to reach the ball.

Then Jake Livermore reacted quickest to kick out at a loose ball into the box from a lofted cross that was poorly cleared. Luckily for Everton, the ball went past the despairing Pickford’s dive but off the outside off the post and the Blues were somehow not 2-0 down at Goodison Park.

Eventually their quality told though, and coupled with Kieran Gibbs’ moment of madness, the Toffees would go on to prevail 5-2. However, manager Carlo Ancelotti was far from satisfied after his side let slip a chance to make it three clean sheets in a row.

“In the first half we did not have balance… we were not able to control the transition. That was why we conceded the first goal.

“We had a great advantage with the red card but conceded a silly goal [West Brom’s 47th-minute equaliser] because we lost the ball in the first minute of the second half.

“Our combination up front was good. I am satisfied with our forward play but we have to be better at the back.”

Defender Yerry Mina came in for particular criticism from the boss [FourFourTwo].

“Yerry had an average game, I think he could be more aggressive and do more with the ball.

“The only aspect we have to look at is him being more aggressive when he can press the opening.”

Everton did well to bounce back in the second half aided by their opponents being a man down, and Ancelotti was pleased to see the goal threat his side posed.

“I have seen more motivation and focus and ambition [compared to the back end of last season].

“This moment is good but we have to pay attention. Every game can be difficult.

“This was a good test. Everyone is happy because it was a great result but if you look at the performance there are areas we can do better.

“West Brom were better than us in the first half but we had a good reaction after conceding the goal.

“With the extra man we had the advantage and the game was easier. We were more in control in the second half.”

What will be more encouraging for the veteran Italian is that the chances are coming from all over the pitch.

“We have creativity in front, we are really dangerous because we push with the full-backs. We have Andre Gomes and James between the lines. Richarlison is dangerous on the counter-attack and in the box and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in a fantastic moment.

“We are really dangerous on set-pieces with Michael Keane and Yerry Mina. These are the reasons we create a lot of opportunities.”

The Blues face a couple of bigger tests this week, first when they travel to Fleetwood Town on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup Third Round, and then next Saturday to play Crystal Palace who disposed of Manchester United 3-1 yesterday and also have two wins from two like the Toffees.