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Ancelotti: Calvert-Lewin not ready to return yet

Everton manager will still be without his side’s top scorer for tomorrow’s visit of leaders Manchester City

Ancelotti has not seen Everton win a home league game since December
Photo by CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti has ruled Dominic Calvert-Lewin out of Everton’s clash with Manchester City tomorrow, but said Jordan Pickford and Allan could both return.

Calvert-Lewin missed Sunday’s loss to Fulham having sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s FA Cup win over Tottenham, and Ancelotti has said he will not recover in time to feature in Wednesday’s visit of the league leaders to Goodison Park.

But Jean-Philippe Gbamin is Everton’s only other absentee, with Ancelotti revealing Jordan Pickford and Allan should be back in contention having recovered from their respective injuries:

“Not available for sure are Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Gbamin. The others are all OK; they’re going to train today.

“Pickford trained yesterday and was OK. We check again today, and if he’s available, he’s going to play. Allan is in contention. He’s fit, he’s good, he’s available to play.

“I think it’s a matter of days [with Calvert-Lewin]. We hope he will be available on Saturday.

“Calvert-Lewin is really important because he gives us the opportunity to play in different ways. Without him, we lose some opportunities to play, but we played really well against Wolves [2-1 away win last month] when we were without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

“I’m not worried about the players that are not going to play. I have to be worried for the players that are going to play tomorrow.

Ancelotti reiterated how dismayed he was by Everton in their listless 2-0 defeat to 18th-placed Fulham on Sunday, which extended their wait for a first home league win since December 19.

And while he accepted that the ramifications of COVID-19 on football have made this season almost unique, he admitted he and his side are still looking for remedies for their home discomforts.

That said, he still has confidence that Everton can get a result against City, despite their poor home record and City’s perfect recent form:

“It’s an unpredictable season. The games that seem easier than others become more and more difficult. We had this experience against Newcastle and Fulham. It’s this kind of season.

“We are not the only team that lost this type of game. Manchester United lost, Liverpool lost; the only team who didn’t was Manchester City, who we are going to play tomorrow.

“Of course, we are frustrated and disappointed. We lost an opportunity to climb the table with this game, and we have to find another solution to try to get points. I don’t know how many chances we will have against City, but we have a chance.

“Usually, in this kind of game, we have done really well. I have confidence. I believe we can play a completely different game [to Sunday].”

Ancelotti knows Everton will spend much of tomorrow’s game without the ball against Pep Guardiola’s side, who are chasing a 17th successive win in all competitions.

But he has faith in Everton’s ability to take their chances and defend properly, even against a City side he has a lot of admiration for:

“Of course, we have to defend. This is absolutely normal. Most of the time, City are going to have the ball, but we have to use our quality and efficiency in the time we have the ball.

“Their results come from the quality of the players, from the organisation of the team, from the fact Guardiola has worked with this team for a long time. They have a lot of confidence at the moment. They have a really clear idea of football, so it’s not only one thing.

“There are a lot of things altogether that means City are a really top team. They are the first candidate to win, that’s for sure.”

With 2,000 fans having witnessed Everton’s two December home league wins, the Blues have not taken three points at an empty Goodison since October 3.

And while their away form has been exceptional, having not lost in seven straight league games on the road, Ancelotti knows Everton’s Goodison results must improve if they are to achieve anything this season:

“Of course, we have to improve. We are still in a good position in the table, but not because of what we’ve done at home, because at home it was not good enough. We deserve this position because of what we’ve done away.

“Away, we’ve done really well. But the best games we’ve played at home were against top teams, like Arsenal and Chelsea, when we won and were really focused. I hope it will be the same tomorrow.”