Ancelotti pleased to see Everton recover from 'terrible start'

Saturday, 5 December, 2020 39comments  |  Jump to last

Carlo Ancelotti appeared satisfied with his team's performance at Burnley this afternoon even if he was disappointed with the end result.

Everton had to be content with a point from their latest trip to Turf Moor after after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had scored his 16th goal of the season for club and country to bring them level in first-half stoppage time and the Blues failed to produce enough quality to win the game in the second half.

Nick Pope made three important saves to keep out Calvert-Lewin, James Rodriguez and, crucially, Gylfi Sigurdsson at the death but Jordan Pickford had to be just as alert at the other end to twice deny Chris Wood.

“We have to accept the result because, above all, the start was not good and we had difficulties to come back into the game," Ancelotti said afterwards.

"After 30 minutes, we were back. After that we had good control, we tried to win in the second-half, we had opportunities.

"Of course, we conceded some. We had some problems on the counter-attack and from set-pieces, but this is absolutely normal against Burnley. We have to accept the result because the performance was quite good.

“The start was terrible but up front we were good. We created some good chances in the first half and mostly in the second.”

The manager had praise for Ben Godfrey, however, after the defender put in an admirable shift at left back after Fabian Delph had succumbed to a hamstring injury with just 26 minutes on the clock.

The young centre-half had already impressed in his more natural role and helped prevent Burnley from doubling their lead in the 12th minute with an important intervention front of his own goal and he was solid at full-back for the remainder of the contest.

“We are in a little bit of an emergency [at full-back],” Ancelotti acknowledged. "But to see the performance today, Iwobi did really well, Ben Godfrey did really well on the left so, in this moment, we have to adapt some players.

“We have to be positive and we hope to recover soon, above all, Seamus. He will recover soon and we have to find a solution there [on the left] for sure."


Reader Comments (39)

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Stephen Brown
1 Posted 05/12/2020 at 17:09:14
I don’t think Iwobi did well! His crossing was abysmal! He tried hard but he had 5-6 chances to cross under no pressure and missed the targets each time! Criminal !
Dave Williams
2 Posted 05/12/2020 at 17:30:16
I thought he played well! A few decent crosses, some good runs and not bad defensively. Yes, his crossing can improve but there were plenty today who were a lot worse!
Jim Harrison
3 Posted 05/12/2020 at 17:43:13
Stephen 1

I thought Iwobi looked good. Put in crosses, decent runs. And made from a position that isn’t his normal one. No world class player, but he put in a shift and put the ball into dangerous areas.

Mark Wilson
4 Posted 05/12/2020 at 17:46:36
There’s no logic or clarity to the managers team selections in the last couple of weeks. It’s as simple as that. He’s a top manager, a very successful manager, we are lucky to have him and compared to Silva, Koeman, Allardyce, Martinez etc he’s a brilliant winner and a jolly nice chap. None of which changes my view that even tho us no legged one armed chaps in a powerchair have never kicked a ball in anger on a bit of grass somewhere in our great city, leaving your reserve full backs at home when your two top class full backs are injured is beyond daft. Worse, not even having one of them on the bench to account for when one of your out-of-position full backs crocks himself is inexcusable.

Sorry, I’m at a loss to understand what’s going on but far more serious than my confusion is the fact that the team and the squad are yet again coming up massively short. Yes it’s only 11 games in, which actually is a bit more than a quarter of the season already gone and yes we started well but even in a couple of those games there were spells when we looked shaky at the back. But for the most part this season the defence has been aweful, the midfield a massive disappointment after the hype of Allan and Doucoures arrival, a hype I willingly got caught up in, and only DCL has consistently surprised and pleased in equal measure with his new found brilliant touch in front of the net. We are crap and have been for several months. What the hell has gone wrong, again ?

Honestly didn’t see this coming, thought Carlo was above such nonsense as this full back rubbish. Thought Allan would control the area in front of the centre backs like a man in total control of his “sector” and defo thought Doucoure would not have four or five pretty miserable games in a row. Oh and yes I thought Rodriguez was the genuine superstar signing that would set us alight and keep burning. All wrong. Tho Rodriguez was ok at Turf Moor.

As I said, what the hell has gone wrong?

John Raftery
5 Posted 05/12/2020 at 18:13:50
I suggest the opinions of Iwobi’s performance are skewed by the memory of two poor crosses near the end of the game. Before then he had a decent game, worked hard up and down the line and might have had an assist from his cross for DCL in the first half.

It would seem Allan and Doucouré are still trying to build an understanding in central midfield but there could be no excuse for their poor play which set up Burnley’s goal after only two minutes.

Pat Kelly
6 Posted 05/12/2020 at 18:14:40
"in this moment, we have to adapt some players."

I think he meant adopt.

Billy Dawber
7 Posted 05/12/2020 at 19:17:27
A draw at lowly Burnley is not going to convince anyone that we are going to do anything other than have another mediocre festive season yet again. A truly awful start and first half followed by a not too bad second half.

My concern is why do we turn an attack into defence everytime we are going forward? Why do we give the ball away far too easily and not even find our player with the intended pass?

Truly baffling at times not to mention playing the donkey Delph instead of one of the younger members of the squad. Sigurdsson comes on as a sub and misses his chance of getting back in the team next week – or as he? Tosun on with his new hair trying to disguise himself as a good player. Truly laughable really Carlo.

At this rate the taxis will be queuing up for this lot to take them to the nearest airport and send them all back to Disneyland where they belong. Mickey Mouse outfit being run by Dumbo. Onwards and downwards we go.

Steavey Buckley
8 Posted 05/12/2020 at 20:10:59
Iwobi is neither a winger or a full back but someone who can burst forward from midfield. Crossing a ball is a specialist position, that is why Digne has the highest number of assists at the club with 4.

Walcott was another who was stuck wide on the right without any effect; nor was Bernard, Gordon, Gomes, Davies or Sigurdsson. I am not sure if Ancelotti understands what a winger or a fullback is really all about.

David Connor
9 Posted 05/12/2020 at 21:55:41
I'm starting to have serious doubts about Carlo. Is he up to the job? At this moment, it's very questionable.

If that kind of performance is acceptable to him, I think we are well and truly fucked. Because, to me, it was poor... and that's being kind. Every team he has managed was a good team before he took over. Now, he's with a squad who are basically crap, he is struggling to find solutions.

Yes, he needs another two transfer windows to see how he shapes the team. But, for me at the moment, I don't think he will do anything with us. I hope to god I'm wrong.

Jerome Shields
10 Posted 05/12/2020 at 23:02:45
Ancelotti knows that Everton have to master different formations and have adaptable players who can play in them.

Of course, it would be great if Everton had the top player in their team for every position on the pitch, but that is not going to happen. If it did, other teams in the Premier League would soon work out how to play against such a traditional formation.

To become adaptable, players have to play in different positions, should it be required by the manager, so as not to be a predictable team. Under previous managers, Everton where predictable.

What has happened is that teams caught on to the approach of Everton early In the season and, when it was required to counter this, players were not able to adaptable enough.

Ancelotti has now had to give players game time in different positions to increase and push the players to adapt. In some cases, this was forced on him. They are gradually getting better at doing this. It is noticeable that player performances have improved.

It is often posted on ToffeeWeb that football is a simple game. It is not. In the modern game, teams need to be adaptable, as individuals and as a team, changing positions and formations, throughout a game.

I still think that Ancelotti will achieve a top-6 finish at the end of the season.

Mark Murphy
11 Posted 06/12/2020 at 08:35:08
I agree, Jerome, and I'm really hoping that that is the plan. But I'd really really really like to see Nkounkou and Gordon be included in that plan.

To be fair, even though Godfrey did well at left-back, if Digne had been on the pitch yesterday, we'd have won that. We looked decent 2nd half (shocking the first).

I'm keeping the faith.

Scott McKirkcaldy
12 Posted 06/12/2020 at 08:35:25
For me, all the good teams press the opposition, we don't!!! And there is a big gap between our forwards and defence which gets exploited all the time the other team attack. Yesterday, they knocked long balls and every time they picked up something.
Joe Bibb
13 Posted 06/12/2020 at 09:09:17
No vocal Captain, no commander on the field, no aggression, we lack all those qualities.

Gomes continually gives petty fouls away, others stand off their man and don't tackle.

We need Carlo to get this sorted out. The only reason we got the draw at Burnley was that they were even worse than us.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 06/12/2020 at 09:31:06
Mark #11,

I agree regarding Nkounkou and Gordon, but I think Ancelotti wants to bring them into the team when they are ready, not because of necessity.

Digne would have definitely improved the side. He is one of the few players who can achieve a consistent standard of performance and Everton would have won had he played.

I was not surprised that Mina was selected instead of Holgate. He was more suited to playing Burnley, though Holgate was the right choice against Leeds. I did predict Mina would be selected prior to the game. Burnley are a traditional set-up.

I have no answer to the selection of Delph, unless Ancelotti thought that Davies wasn't suited to playing Burnley or he is injured.

Surprisingly, I also think that Everton will play better against the top six clubs. They will not be up against such rigid formations as much, as long as the top teams have not copped on this is the way to play against Everton. But, maybe Ancelotti will have the team up to speed on adaptability by then.

Everton do have some players that only play to the level they have to, and seem to up their game against top 6 opposition.

Paul Birmingham
16 Posted 06/12/2020 at 09:41:01
Iwobi has upped his game, is less timid and is taking players on, but his final delivery yesterday bar one either hit the first defender or were over hit to the back post.

Gomes, as much as I want him to succeed, for me doesn't deserve a place in the starting line-up. He can't tackle and gives too many soft fouls away in dangerous areas.

The lack of pace from central defence permeates to midfield. God help Everton versus Chelsea as, bar a miracle, we'll be chasing shadows.

Gonna be a long tough Chrimbo fixture schedule, as usual, but concerning with the team's current tempo and awareness.

But typically Everton often raise their game to the better teams.

A few slices of luck next week is needed, let's hope so.

Paul Birmingham
17 Posted 06/12/2020 at 10:56:47
Looking at the table, it's bloody frustrating and concerning as yesterday was a great chance to keep tabs at the top.

As expected, Everton's sense of opportunity and maximising no effort in the game was spurned.

Not enough focus and killer instinct. Surely next week Nkounkou or Kenny will be brought ino the squad..

Let's hope the spirit of Chelsea last season is there, as we will need every ounce of effort and belief that these players can muster.

4-4-2, or 4-3-3, versus Chelsea?

Jim Bennings
18 Posted 06/12/2020 at 11:16:09
Chelsea is a huge game, imagine a full house under the floodlights, Saturday night great atmosphere, but sadly I can see Chelsea having a field day against us next week.

We need to get some form back soon; otherwise, we are going into the New Year in a dire state, probably ensconced in the bottom half.

Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal the next three games, whereas we'll make Leicester and Arsenal look more difficult than they actually should at the minute.

If we aren't absolutely on the number in these games, then I honestly think it's heading towards another underwhelming bleak season.

Jason Wilkinson
19 Posted 06/12/2020 at 11:40:52
If Ancelotti thinks we put a satisfactory display in yesterday, then I would suggest he is happy for a mid-table finish. Spurs away has been our best performance this season.

Pickford has improved. I still think we need a better keeper.

Allan and Doucouré are inconsistent. Gomes is not fit. Sigurdsson, Davies, Rodriguez, Delph and Iwobi should not be seen as the future of the club. All are too slow for the Premier League.

I don't expect us to be challenging for the title but I do expect 100% from every player on the pitch. If that was 100%, then we are in trouble. I include the coaching staff in that too.

Liverpool pissed the league last season. Do they have superior individuals? I would say Allison is a better keeper but, man for man, we have as good if not more talented players. The effort and teamwork isn't there.

Robert Tressell
20 Posted 06/12/2020 at 11:54:07
Jason, totally agree with the comments about effort. As regards player quality, we are miles behind Liverpool. Of our current squad, I can't see anyone getting a game if Liverpool have everyone fit. Maybe Holgate? Maybe Calvert-Lewin?

Pickford or Alisson?
Coleman or Arnold?
Digne or Robertson?
Holgate or Gomez?
Keane or Van Dijk?
Allan or Fabinho?
Doucouré or Henderson?
Gomes or Wijnaldum?
Rodriguez or Salah?
Richarlison or Mane?
Calvert-Lewin or Firminho?

And you'll cry when you see the subs bench...

Barry Rathbone
21 Posted 06/12/2020 at 11:58:26
Carlo has aged 10 years in that pic... the reality of the task is clearly hitting home.
Tommy Carter
22 Posted 06/12/2020 at 12:23:51
The first half performance was of some concern. A very slow start and the shape didn't suit the midfield players at all.

After the tactical change was forced upon us, there was an improvement and some positives to be taken.

Godfrey did his best in a completely alien position. I've said this since he joined, he deserves a start at centre-back. He's the most aggressive defender we have. It is also his best position.

Keane and Mina, I thought, had good games. It was heartening to know that, during a scrap, we have players there who can stand and be counted. However, when we play teams with more guile and who have players who are more clever, Keane and Mina will struggle.

My suggestion of conversion of Iwobi to right-back was ridiculed by everyone on this website. Well, now it is happening and, whilst he wasn't brilliant, he offered a threat down the flank and worked hard all game. His hard work is often misguided but there is effort there. Better end product required.

Certainly not a great result but we could have easily lost that game and we didn't.

Jay Harris
23 Posted 06/12/2020 at 16:25:54
Iwobi and Godfrey were OK, Iwobi from an attacking perspective, Godfrey from a defensive perspective but were talking about Burnley here.

Against a good side with proper wingers/wingbacks they will be torn apart. Imagine Iwobi up against Pulisic and Werner.

Or Godfrey against Reece James and Ziyech or Havertz.

Jerome Shields
24 Posted 07/12/2020 at 10:14:48
"We have to adapt a little bit outside but I am positive because Iwobi did really well and Ben Godfrey, also, did really well as a left-back. "


As Jay says it depends on how well they have actually adapted. Which looks as if it will be tested in the coming games.

Jon Wit
25 Posted 07/12/2020 at 10:33:36
Disappointing result and the second goal we've conceded from somebody just outside the area in as many games.

On another day we would have won and we are missing our full-backs.

Not sure how to manage my expectations now - we'll have to up our game to get Europe and I hope we can find an edge for the cup games.

Sean O´Hanlon
26 Posted 07/12/2020 at 11:29:40
Let's be honest: Carlo Ancelotti was a good coach. Why did Everton manage to secure him as manager? Because none of the big English & European clubs wanted him. He's past it.

Everton have been doing similar only with players for years. Buying other teams' dross: Iwobi, Delph, Walcott, Sigurdsson, etc – to name but a few of the current crop of wasters.

Jeffrey Hughes
27 Posted 07/12/2020 at 12:09:31
We have no creative midfield. Again and again, long balls sent upfield to the forwards is poor play and not worthy of us. The forwards will not be happy with this yet it has been an age-old fault at Goodison Park for many a year.

We are also a yard slower than the opposition far too often. The one thing that David Moyes did was to have a very fit team with few injuries, if and only because they were a squad. Please learn from this, Mr Ancelotti!!

Brian Murray
28 Posted 07/12/2020 at 12:28:15
Jeff. What’s so disappointing and shocking in all this is we as fans on a friggin forum have to point these basic things out like fitness and the right players and formations that they are comfortable with for a manager who’s not just starting out in the game. I’m still clinging to the hope that me and many others are way off the mark and we are on the cusp of glory. If we are well they are hiding it well.
John Kavanagh
29 Posted 07/12/2020 at 13:06:55
What really mystifies me is how a manager of Carlo's experience can still believe that Delph deserves to start and that the likes of Sigurdsson and Tosun are capable of turning a match around despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Why repeat failures when circumstances demand that risks should be taken using youngsters who are desperate to be given the chance to prove themselves.

If Tosun had been available and fit, I suspect that DCL would still be languishing in the under 23s and getting an occasional spot on the bench.

Graeme Beresford
30 Posted 07/12/2020 at 15:07:38
Being negative towards Carlo is not the answer. He has already proved he is a winner since he has joined us. Being able to attract players such as Allan and James. We have lost 11 games in 35 under him and 5 of them have come in the last month ironically when we have had to play without some of our best players Richy, James, Digne and Coleman.

I do agree the five at the back system isn’t working so he needs to scrap that ASAP, however we can’t blame the guy for trying a new formation and sticking with it. To play five at the back leaves too many spaces in the number 10 area of the pitch as centre backs will always be centre backs and not want to venture too far foward, hence we have been sucker punched by two bottom corner 25 yard strike’s in two games.

Everyone cries out for the new left back and Gordon however if they have a poor game we will get on their backs like we all do with Davies. We expect a lot. I do to however I think we need to go back to the formation which worked at the start of the season and ultimately play the best available players in the available positions. Massive performance needed against a quality Chelsea side. Here’s me hoping it’s like the 4-0 United game the other year. Everyone is up for it and we get the first goal. Something we have struggled to do recently.

Mike Berry
31 Posted 07/12/2020 at 19:21:50
Rapidly losing my faith in Carlo. The defending is increasingly getting on my nerves. You build from the back in football - not the front. Very un Italian like
Grant Rorrison
32 Posted 07/12/2020 at 19:50:19
It's since we started worrying about our defensive problems that we've become shit. No-one gave two hoots about letting in goals when we beat West Brom 5-2 and Brighton 4-2 earlier in the season. We went defensive against Newcastle... lost, and have played terrible ever since with a variety of shocking team selections and accompanying clueless performances.

Play to your strengths... which for us means attacking and hurting the opposition and never mind screwing about with things. It's not a coincidence that the only win in the last 7 games came from playing nice attacking football, albeit briefly, against Fulham. Not from searching for but ultimately failing to find this defensively solidity that Ancellotti keeps harping on about in every press conference for the last 5 or 6 weeks.

Jerome Shields
33 Posted 08/12/2020 at 11:58:50

What you say would happen if Gordon and Nkounkou played. They would get taken apart on ToffeeWeb. The problem is not in defence, but still in defensive or offensive midfield area as you say also.

Ian Horan
34 Posted 08/12/2020 at 14:49:25
" We as fans are disappointed " wow !!! Guys Everton have been a inconsistent underpreforming club since Martinez first season.

Ancelotti has a mixed bag of other managers players and yet we all expect a top 4 or top 6 team. My mind boggles on our perception of how good Everton really are, if we truely had a top 4 to top 6 team or squad would we truely of had 5 different manages in the past few years...

We criticise the RS as deluded until last season, have we now inherited their dillusional mindset. I am beginning to think reality no longer exists in the minds of Evertonians

Jay Harris
35 Posted 08/12/2020 at 16:01:13
Graeme and Ian good points.

We can all be critical of any decisions based on our opinions but being patient is not jumping on the backs of the club, manager and the players after 12 months and a string of injuries/ suspension of our star players.

I actually think the lights go out at Finch Farm every November as we always seem to have horrific pre xmas form but I do believe the player we miss the most who is exactly what we need now is Gana Gueye.

He is not getting a game for PSG and might be worth a tilt in January subject to how well Gbamin recovers.

Graeme Beresford
36 Posted 08/12/2020 at 16:37:16
Jay, I actually think Allan does the Gana role pretty well. What we seem to be lacking in now the central creative midfielder who we all thought and hoped Gomes was going to be. Someone who gets the ball. Turns, see’s a pass, spreads the ball forward and also scored 8-10 goals a season himself. Unfortunately Sigurdsson and Gomes haven’t been able to become this in recent times and we are now left with 2 good midfielders in Allan and Dacoure however the other position just doesn’t seem to be a good fit for anyone from Sig to Gomes, Davies, Bernard.

However what we all have to remember is Gomes was playing in that midfield at the start of the season when we started great, so what’s happened their who knows.

I think Carlo has got some thinking to do. Especially in defence. If it were me I would of already decided on my back 4, not 5, against Chelsea and I would be playing them in training together all week. Working on their communication as they are in for a tough time, especially against Werner and potentially Pulisic.
If it was me I would be playing the new left back, Holgate, Keane and Kenny. However, I think we will probably see the back 5 again.

Jay Harris
37 Posted 08/12/2020 at 17:06:08
I think he does OK but we need more of an aggressive sitting DM to protect the back 4. Allan is very mobile and gets about be he does not protect the back 4. He is more of a troubleshooter putting fires out all over the pitch and covering for others.

My feeling is we need a Gbamin/ Gana type to complement Allan and Doucoure so they can advance up the pitch.

I also think it a mistake to play a back 3 as it leaves gaps on the flank behind the wingbacks for the opposition to play into..

Lets see what another weeks thinking does for us against Chelsea.

Sean O´Hanlon
38 Posted 08/12/2020 at 19:19:28
Jay #35, Our "Horrific pre-Xmas form" actually began on the 17th October, when we were very lucky to scavenge a point against Liverpool.
From that date to now, 5 points from a possible 21.
Extrapolating from those stats, would give us a total of between of between 25 and 30 points for the remainder of the season. Luckily we have the initial 4 wins - so we're looking at between 37 and 42 points total for the whole season, if the current form continues.
Brian Murray
39 Posted 08/12/2020 at 22:07:02
Those of you who would've preferred another young up-and-coming manager, there might be one at a loose end down the East Lancs Road very soon. Won a title in Mold, so no contest!
Jerome Shields
40 Posted 08/12/2020 at 22:52:21
Graeme #36,

What happens is that opposition teams work out what tactics to adopt and which players can be pressurised off their games. Gomes, Sigurdsson and Bernard are all one-dimensional and easily pressurised and Everton's tactics collapse with this weak often non-existent centre in the second half of most games.

Gomes is pushed deeper, loses possession, and commits fouls. Sigurdsson will pass sideways on any hint of pressure, then becomes anonymous when a confident defence pushes up. Bernard will continually draw back giving up beating his marker; he can also become anonymous on the wing.

I agree Allan does the Gueye job. He's better than Gueye going forward.

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