Everton huffed and puffed in the second half and looked marginally better than when they last played Aston Villa less than a fortnight ago, but were unable to get more than a point at Villa Park.
With the chance to go joint fifth in the table with a win, the Blues looked mostly uninspired in a tight first half, before opening things up a bit in the second stanza but there were no goals to be found despite a number of half-chances.
Speaking after the game, manager Carlo Ancelotti remained upbeat that the Toffees could still get a European berth next season.
“No [it was not a missed opportunity]. We tried to do everything to win. We had a good second half. We pushed a lot of energy there, the first half was more imbalanced.
“In the second half we created a lot of opportunity, we were not lucky but nothing to say about the performance, we did our best.
“We have three games and we are still in the fight. We have to try to win the last three games.”
The manager had almost promised that his side would be better in this replay against Villa after a tepid showing the last time around, did he feel his side delivered?
“The performance was good. Defensively we did not give them a lot of opportunity. In the second half we put more pressure on them, we were better offensively. We had some opportunities to score goals, some shots from distance, but the performance was good.”
What did he change at the break to elicit that response?
“We put more energy in the second half. I think they [Villa] went a little bit down physically and we had more control of the game.”
Was the draw the right result on the day according to him?
“It is a point. What can I say? Not satisfied for the result, satisfied for the performance. We could win but we have to take this point and try to win the next game. We have to try to win the home games, where we have had difficulty this season.
“Villa are a good team, to win here is not easy. I think our performance was the best that we can. We could probably do a bit better with the final pass or final shot but in general the performance was good.”
Is Ancelotti still confident about Everton making it to Europe?
“I am really positive. We have a great opportunity and we have to try to do our best. I said at the start of the season the European positions will be decided by the last game, I think they will be decided by the last game and we want to be there.”