Everton take on Aston Villa tomorrow with their European future on the line in the next handful of games. Speaking ahead of the clash against another football club that bears the weight of history without much recent success, manager Carlo Ancelotti started off with an injury update.
“The update is that all the players are available apart from Gbamin and Doucoure. All the others are good.”
Abdoulaye Doucoure though is looking closer to a return after the club posted a video of him participating in training sessions. Ancelotti had previously indicated that once he resumed training he would be a couple of weeks from playing again.
Forward Josh King has been in and out of the side since his January signing, and Ancelotti revealed that he had been suffering from a back ailment.
“He had a small problem on his back. He was back today after two days off. His condition was quite good. He didn’t have a lot of chances [to start] which was my decision. He has been good in training and very professional.”
Ancelotti was asked about Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s partnership up top and their current form.
“I think that this season Richarlison was not at his top, he was not so consistent for the quality he has. He’s still a fantastic player, we have to consider he’s also young. He had a good period, but he has a possibility to score more goals.
“I think the style of play changed, and so he [Calvert-Lewin] was affected. It’s true we didn’t create a lot of chances apart from the last games. For me, it’s important the teamwork that he’s able to do - and the goals will come.”
One player that has stood out in recent games has been Jordan Pickford, and his crucial save late on against Arsenal preserved the three points as well.
“He’s really composed, he’s comfortable in the goal. He came back in good mental and physical condition after the injury he had.”
Yerry Mina has been one of Everton’s more consistent players, and was on the bench against Arsenal, will he be playing tomorrow?
“He is good, he came back from an injury and so he didn’t play against Arsenal for this reason. He’s back, in a good condition and ready to play.”
Ancelotti also spoke about club captain Seamus Coleman.
“He is the perfect example of how to be a player. Focused in training, no complaints when he’s not playing, always focused on the performance of the team.
“He’s the perfect example of how to be a captain and a player.”
There has been some talk about contract extensions for Coleman as well as superstar James Rodriguez.
“At this moment we’re not talking about this. Our technical director Marcel Brands is involved in this and he will talk with the players directly.
“For James, we didn’t talk about an extension, I’m not involved in this. I think we have time to talk about this, because he has another year of contract plus an option.
“We don’t need to talk about this, maybe in the next few months. I think he’s happy here.”
Quotes courtesy of Everton FC and The Echo.