Everton were beaten by the better team yesterday as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge yesterday, with the Toffees sorely missing Abdoulaye Doucoure’s energy as the hosts ran rampant.
Rumours had been circulating before the game that the midfielder had sustained a stress fracture in his foot in the win over West Bromwich Albion when he had left the game hobbling late on.
Carlo Ancelotti addressed the absence of Doucoure in his comments after the game yesterday -
“He had an injury in the last game and we are going to check. I think he will miss some games.
“Honestly, I don’t really know what happened. [The medical team] are checking and will be more precise in the next few days. We’re sure he will be out until the break and after that we will be more precise on the time of the recovery.
“We were without Lucas Digne for two months and we replaced him really well, we were without Allan for two months and Tom Davies did fantastic performances, and we are going to manage in the absence of Doucoure.
“Of course, he’s a fantastic player, he gives a lot of energy but I think we have the possibility to replace him well.”
The loss against Chelsea coupled with a win for West Ham United sees the Toffees slip to 6th with 11 games left in the season
“We are in the fight for Europe. This is our target and we will be fighting for Europe until the last game.
“This will be good for us. Of course, we are disappointed with this defeat, we could do better, but no tragedy, we look to the next game.
“We are disappointed but not too much.”
Ancelotti’s former side are replete with stars and had the luxury of a fresher lineup and stacked bench, something the veteran Italian manager has been unable to rely on in the last couple of months at Everton.
“They played better than us. They deserved to win. We were good defensively for 30 minutes. When they scored the game became difficult for us. They are a good team.
“For 30 minutes, it was the game we planned. Of course, we could do better with the ball and be more clinical in front. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities but we had a good chance with Richarlison to equalise the game.
The gameplan Ancelotti has had to rely on at Everton involves being clinical and taking advantage early on of the few chances his side creates, something that did not happen yesterday.
“We have to be honest, we are still not at the same level as Chelsea, so we have to plan the game differently. We cannot play an open game against this kind of team.
“It was the same game we planned to play against Liverpool but against Liverpool we scored after three minutes and were more comfortable to defend.”
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had three clean sheets before yesterday and added eight excellent saves yesterday. In some ways he will feel hard done by with the two that he did concede, the first an unfortunate deflection on a shot he had covered, and the second a penalty he gave up when he rushed out to stop Kai Havertz.
“Jordan did really well, he made good saves, defensively we had more difficulties in the second half but Jordan was really good.
“The penalty he could have done better but it doesn’t change a good performance from him.”