Everton won their third consecutive Premier League game, making it the first time in 27 years since the Blues recorded three consecutive victories to open a league season. However, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 proved to be their toughest task of the new campaign so far and manager Carlo Ancelotti acknowledged his side had to face some adversity yesterday, with the Blues inability to hold the ball in the second half as well as giving away a litany of setpieces, only the one of which came back to bite them.
“The performance was difficult. We had difficulties.
“The first half was quite good, we were able to play as we wanted. The second half was more difficult because Crystal Palace played a good second half putting a lot of pressure on us.
“We defended well but we could play better with the ball.”
Ancelotti has often talked about team spirit, and the squad’s mentality, since he joined the club. The veteran manager came back and referenced that again yesterday, especially in the context of the Blues back atop their Premier League perch.
“It is good to see the spirit in the team in this moment. We have started the season well.
“We have to look only for the momentum, that is good in this moment. In a busy time with another game on Wednesday, we have to keep the motivation, ambition and we are doing really well.
“The danger is behind us all the time when we do not behave properly.”
Everton’s winner yesterday came from a controversial handball call when Joel Ward was adjudged to have handled the ball from a Lucas Digne header. There have already been a number of contentious VAR rulings on this matter just three weeks into the new season, and Ancelotti acknowledged that while his side benefited from the call this time, it was not his place to make these calls.
“I am not the right person to judge the decision of the referee. It is not only one referee that decides and we have to adapt to the new rules on the handball. It is difficult, but we cannot do anything.
“We can agree or not with the rules (on handball). I know I cannot agree with this kind of rule but at the end, it is a really difficult decision. There is a new rule and you have to accept that first of all.”
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin notched his fifth goal of the young campaign, and a week after saying he could be his next ‘Filippo Inzaghi’, Ancelotti boosted the youngster for an England call-up, with the next international break looming.
“I think the only way to reach the dream to play for the national team is to play like the way he is at the moment.
“That’s it. For sure the staff of the national team are going to have a look at him, without doubt.”