ANCELOTTI ON 'EXCITING' DERBY AND WHAT HE ENJOYS MOST ABOUT MANAGEMENT
Carlo Ancelotti says Everton must be ”excited” by the challenge of facing derby rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park on Saturday (12.30pm), as the Blues boss revealed the aspect of management he enjoys the most.
Everton have made an exceptional start to the 2020/21 season, racking up seven straight victories in all competitions.
Only once in the Club’s 142-year history have the Blues kicked off a campaign with a longer winning streak.
Everton began the 1894/95 season with eight straight wins, with the final game of that run a 3-0 Merseyside derby triumph at Goodison.
Ancelotti says Liverpool will provide a stern test on Saturday – but insists the quality and character of his Everton team will ensure they approach the game with confidence.
“We have to be focused to do our best, excited and happy to play our game,” he told evertontv.
“We don’t need to have pressure, we want to play the best game we can play.
“All the games are difficult.
“This is more difficult because we are going to play against the team that won the Premier League last season.
“It is a derby, and they are a quality team.”
Ancelotti acknowledged the influence of Everton’s summer signings in the Blues’ outstanding start to the season.
Dynamic midfield duo Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez and rampaging full-back Niels Nkounkou have made key contributions during the Toffees’ winning run.
Everton further strengthened their squad on transfer deadline day with the additions of England Under-21 defender Ben Godfrey from Norwich City and goalkeeper Robin Olsen on loan from Roma.
Ancelotti’s explained, however, that his squad’s collective appetite for self-improvement and application on the training field has underpinned Everton’s progress under his leadership.
“Every day, they are focused, with good motivation, serious,” he added.
“I think the atmosphere is very good. It doesn’t matter how many minutes the players play, they are involved. I see them train really well.
“I think the players who arrived did a really good job, they adapted really well.
“The new players would not be able to make the steps we have made this season alone – they have had the help of all the others that came here after holiday [following last season] with a different attitude and motivation.
“It’s important to keep the quality of the training high. This is only due to the attitude of the players – if we have motivation and we are focused, then the quality of the training is good.”
Ancelotti added working with his squad at USM Finch Farm is the element of his role from which he gains the most job satisfaction.
He said: “The training pitch [is what I enjoy the most].
“The biggest part of my job is to improve the Club and achieve the results. And I can reach the result by improving the players.
“I want to improve the players to give them more knowledge, but the target is to get results for the Club."
The Italian also emphasised how the vocal support of Evertonians at Goodison and on the road is significantly missed.
“Of course, I would like to have the supporters in the stadium in this period,” he said.
“It is not possible. We are still waiting to have our fans at Goodison Park.
“Our supporters are missed in this period, because it is a good period and to celebrate a victory together would have been fantastic.”
EVERTON MIDFIELDER DOUCOURE REVEALS PERSONAL AMBITION
Abdoulaye Doucoure wants to mature into “a great player” with Everton – and insists the depth of his welcome to the Club was a “happy surprise”.
Towering midfielder Doucoure is in line for his first Merseyside derby on Saturday after joining Everton from Watford last month.
The Frenchman has been one of the revelations of Everton’s winning start to the season, earning instant acclaim at Goodison Park for a series of compelling performances.
An exclusive in-depth interview with the player features in Everton’s matchday programme for this weekend’s derby encounter.
Doucoure details how he was spurred to succeed in his youth by the prospect of providing for his mum and dad and seven siblings and extended family in his parents’ African homeland of Mali.
As he advanced with first club Rennes, then at Watford in the Premier League, Doucoure consistently redefined his aims.
Those goals crystallised with a transfer to Goodison and his integral position in manager Carlo Ancelotti’s progressive and resourceful Everton team.
“My motivation today is to become a great player,” said Doucoure.
“I want to play in a top team and to keep helping my family.
“To be professional and stay in the starting XI every week.
“I improved a lot with Watford.
“I was the main guy in the middle, running up and back to help the team. Sometimes trying to do the jobs of the other guys.
“Javi Gracia [former Watford manager] told me, ‘You run for the others, run for yourself, first’.
“Everton was a big step for me, I worked hard to be in the team.
"I have a very good relationship with the manager and he put his trust in me.
“He doesn’t speak too much. He just gives one or two words of advice and gives you confidence and I can feel I am improving straight away.
“I heard a lot of good things about him before I came but he is even better than I expected.
“I improved already with him and I want to keep going the same way.”
Doucoure made his first Everton appearances four days after signing and was joined in the team which won 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur by fellow debutants James Rodriguez and Allan.
The 27-year-old featured from the beginning in subsequent Premier League victories over West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion, contributing his first assist against Brighton a fortnight ago with a delicately-clipped cross for James to score.
Doucoure, who played 129 Premier League matches for Watford after transferring from Ligue 1 Rennes in January 2016, is still waiting for full international honours.
He represented France at every level from Under-17 to Under-21 and reckons Everton can provide the springboard for him to make the final jump.
Additionally, Doucoure refuses to shy away from his team’s ambition of capitalising on their flawless start by launching a concerted bid for Champions League football.
“Everton is a big club and a great platform for me to reach the national team – but I have to work hard and have the right mentality," said Doucoure.
“We are looking very good as a team and have a lot of players with top quality.
“We have the capacity to qualify for the Champions League but it is a long season.
“Our start has been good but we have to stay focused and perform every week.”
Doucoure attributes his overnight bedding-in process – and the similarly prompt adaptations of South Americans Allan and James – to the twin-forces of the players’ shared desire to join Everton and manner in which they've been embraced in every corner of the Club.
“Everyone has been so welcoming, giving me advice about where to live, telling me the places to go,” said Doucoure.
“Players already here, like Seamus Coleman, Dom [Calvert-Lewin], Tom Davies and Fabian Delph are great guys and really helped me settle.
“It is a great city and the people are really nice.
“The fans are amazing and everyone who runs this club is great.
“To have people talking about Everton is very good for us and the Club deserves it.
“I was very surprised by the welcome I had.
“It was a happy surprise and showed it was the best choice for me to come to Everton.”
Post by Everton News. on Oct 16, 2020 11:47:57 GMT
Captain's message - Seamus Coleman
As always, first off, I hope you and your families are all safe and well as we continue to work our way through this difficult year.
And remember, Everton Football Club has been here for our local communities since the virus first started to affect people... and we will continue to work hard to help those in need, especially as the region is coping with stricter regulations now.
It’s been a long time since we approached a derby in pole position in the Premier League. It’s still very early days but the table undoubtedly is making for pleasant reading for Evertonians and it’s something we want to maintain for as long as we can.
There have been some strange results in the Premier League in recent weeks, none more so than Liverpool’s at Aston Villa, but we will be reading very little into that one. We know what a quality side we’ll be up against today and anything we get from the game will be hard-earned.
But I will also add that we are full of confidence at the moment. Like I said, it’s early days but a good start to the season is what everyone wants and we’ve got to be happy with the way things are going.
And every member of the squad is making a contribution. You don’t win games unless your training is of the highest quality and each and every player is making sure that’s very much the case. We’re all testing each other and we’re all making sure the competition for places is as tough as it can possibly be.
I’d like to congratulate DCL on his first England caps and his first international goal, too. He took to the international stage very well and I’m sure there’s more to come for him. You always want your team-mates to return fit and well from international duty but that’s the case even more so at this time.
Finally, a message for all our supporters... in fact for fans of both clubs today. I can’t help thinking that the atmosphere today would have been up there with the best I have ever played in. I can only imagine the noise before the game and, I’ll be honest, it saddens me we won’t experience it this weekend. I absolutely love the atmosphere of a Merseyside derby and not seeing Blues and Reds inside the stadium reminds us just how serious the situation is.
But we have to abide by the rules and we have to keep looking out for each other. Times are challenging, of that there is no doubt, and all we can do as players is try our very best to put smiles on faces.
Every man in a royal blue jersey will be doing that this weekend.
Post by Everton News. on Oct 16, 2020 13:55:30 GMT
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Carlo Ancelotti has revealed all Everton's players who were on international duty have returned to the Club fit and are available for Saturday's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park (12.30pm)
Lucas Digne was substituted seven minutes from time in France's 2-1 victory over Croatia on Wednesday night, while Yerry Mina sat out Colombia’s 2-2 draw with Chile on Tuesday as a precaution after feeling discomfort in his thigh - but both are in contention to face Liverpool.
Ancelotti confirmed earlier this week captain Seamus Coleman has recovered from the hamstring injury which meant he was unable to represent the Republic of Ireland during the international break.
Brazilian midfielder Allan is also fit having missed the Blues' 4-2 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion last time out with an abductor problem, while Andre Gomes is available for selection again after a minor knock kept him out of that game.
Defenders Mason Holgate (toe), Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle) and Jonjoe Kenny (ankle) remain out but are making good progress in their recoveries.
Cenk Tosun, meanwhile, is training individually as he continues his rehabilitation from an anterior cruciate ligament injury
Ancelotti added the Club is hopeful Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Achilles) could make a return to First-Team action in late November.
The Blues boss said: "All the players [who were on international duty] are available. They came back in good condition and are all available for tomorrow.
"Yerry Mina is okay. He trained today without a problem and is fit for tomorrow.
"I’m going to decide what the line-up will be knowing I have a lot of players who are fit and want to play. This is good and we can think about substitutions during the game.
"Every team had players involved during the international break but the important thing for us is our players came back without problems and in good condition. Maybe they are a little bit tired which could be a consideration to choose the line-up and also to see what happens during the game."