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Ancelotti: I’m really proud of my team!

Manager’s comments after Blues come from behind to nab a dramatic point

Manchester United v Everton - Premier League Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Everton came from behind twice, once from a two-goal deficit, to hold Manchester United to a 3-3 draw with Dominic Calvert-Lewin nabbing the point with the last touch of the game at Old Trafford.

Duncan Ferguson set racing off down the touchline to celebrate, and while Carlo Ancelotti and the rest of the Blues waited with bated breath for VAR to review the goal, there was a feeling that things would be different tonight than a year ago when the Blues were robbed of a late winner by Calvert-Lewin with VAR deeming that a prone Gylfi Sigurdsson had obstructed David De Gea.

Speaking after the game to Sky Sports, Ancelotti was relieved and happy at the same time.

“I think we started the game well, and were a little bit shy in the first half. We had opportunities in counter-attacks in the first half but we were not clinical in passing forward. We didn’t deserve to lose the game two-nil. In the second half we scored two goals and that was not expected.

“After that the game was in control. Honestly we did not deserve to lose. The result was fair for us because the effort and the spirit of the team in the second half was really, really good.”

Before the game Ancelotti had indicated with the Blues having lost to United twice already, he would have to do something different, which in the first half was playing a 4-4-2 diamond with split strikers. Did he feel it was working despite the Toffees being two-down at halftime.

“Yes I feel it was. Of course Manchester United are really strong in midfield. The idea was to put one more player in there, play with the diamond with one more player [James Rodriguez, in a free role].

“Sometimes James moved to one side and we lost the advantage, but we had the opportunities in the beginning.”

Sigurdsson looked like he was warming up to come on at the break, and Ancelotti was asked if he was about to pull off James just before the Blues’ two quickfire goals.

“At the end of the first half he [James] had a tight calf, he could play more but not until the end of the game. He scored a fantastic goal and I took him off to avoid problems.”

The Toffees showed they were not done though after falling behind midway through the second half either.

“What can I say, I am really proud of my team. The spirit is really good. We have a good run in this moment. We have to keep this spirit high.

“We think we can only win games with quality, but we are wrong. We showed that at 3-2 we did not want to lose.”

When asked what Ancelotti told his team at halftime, the veteran manager said he wanted his side to be braver.

“The first half we started well and were in good control. Instead of passing forward we passed backward. Play with more courage, I told the players. That is what they did second half.

“It was like the win but it is just one point, We competed against one of the best in the Premier League. We are not at the same level but we can fight and compete with our qualities. I am proud of my team.”