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Ancelotti explains James Rodriguez substitution

Manager’s comments after Everton drop more points at home

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images

Everton’s hopes of getting into Europe are not dead, but that road certainly got rockier after they dropped more points at home, not for the first time this season either. The Toffees finally took the lead through James Rodriguez after missing a multitude of chances, and then proceeded to waste more opportunities to extend that lead before allowing Crystal Palace to draw level with just minutes to play.

Speaking after the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti tried hard to not throw his forwards under the bus for their wasteful showing.

“The reason [for not winning] was we were not able to kill the game when we had the opportunity. We had a lot of chances, which, in the last games, we didn’t have. We were not ready [to take those opportunities].

“Usually, our strikers in that situation were, in the past, really clinical. Tonight, they could have done better. After we opened the scoring, we had opportunities and could have closed the game. In the end, sometimes this can happen.

“In the last 10 minutes, you have to defend, you maybe don’t have the energy and maybe a little mistake can affect the result. That’s what happened in the last situation [Palace’s goal]. A little mistake [at the back] undid us and we have two points fewer.

“The position in Europe is still there. We are in the fight and have one game in hand. But when you deserve to win, you have to win. We have to be more focused to avoid these kinds of situations.”

Despite Ben Godfrey coming on late to bolster the defence, the Blues allowed substitute Michy Batshuayi get free with Godfrey and Michael Keane conspiring to forget how to defend with a lead on the line.

“In the end, we deserved to win. We have lost two points because of our mistakes.

“We were not unlucky, I have to say. We have to make up these points in the other games. We will be more focused in the next game to try to get the two points we lost tonight.”

James had put the Blues ahead early in the second half in his return from injury, showing Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin how to find the back of the net with a precise finish that beat Man of the Match Vicente Guaita at the near post.

“I think James gave a fantastic effort. It was a long time he was not playing. He played a fantastic match, he scored a goal and helped the team.

“At the end, he didn’t have a lot of energy and to avoid a problem I took him out.”

Ancelotti had to resort to the substitute’s bench as early as the half-hour mark when Andre Gomes went down with what looked like a hamstring issue.

“Andre Gomes has a hamstring injury and we will have to check in the next few days,” added Ancelotti.

“I don’t know how long he will be out. It doesn’t seem like a serious problem, it seems a little problem, but we have to check with a scan.”