Carlo Ancelotti said the spirit and intensity Everton showed to battle their way back into Wednesday’s clash at Manchester City was “a good sign” and revealed his confidence his team will continue to improve.
The Blues fell to their first defeat since the Italian's appointment after the Premier League champions emerged 2-1 winners at Etihad Stadium. The result halted Everton's five-match unbeaten run in the top-flight.
After two clinical finishes from Gabriel Jesus put the home side in control, the Blues produced an impressive response and Richarlison’s close-range effort halved the deficit.
Everton committed men forward in search of a leveller and Moise Kean went close when his acrobatic effort went fractions wide, but Pep Guardiola’s team held out to secure maximum points.
“In the first half, I think we played too shy, too slow from the back,” Ancelotti explained.
“The plan was to have good possession and we wanted to show more attacking football.
“In the second part of the game, when we were down, we showed good spirit and more intensity. That was a good sign.
“We stayed in the game until the end. Second half, we took more risks and we were more aggressive in attack. We scored a goal and we tried to equalise.
“It was a really difficult game. City showed good football, they played well and deserved to win.
“Of course, we want to improve but now is a period where we play a lot of games – we have no possibility to train a lot.
“We have to wait to have the possibility to train and to improve the quality of our play.”
Ancelotti was forced into a late change to his starting line-up, with Bernard sustaining an injury in the pre-match warm-up. Tom Davies stepped up from the bench to take his place.
The Everton boss says he is hopeful the Brazilian forward will not be sidelined for a lengthy period.
“I think it is not too serious,” he said. “We are going to check tomorrow [Thursday].
“He had some contact with Yerry Mina in the warm-up and was not able to play. He had a lot of pain and we changed [the team]. I hope he can recover quickly. It was unlucky.
“It didn’t change [our plans] a lot. Tom Davies played on the left – he is not used to playing there – but he worked hard for the team.”
Next up for Ancelotti and Everton is a third round FA Cup tie at Anfield on Sunday.
The Italian says he is relishing the challenge of taking on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.
“It will be exciting,” he added. “It is a derby. We know how our supporters look to this game.
“We have to prepare well and to play with confidence. The atmosphere is good [in the squad] and we have to keep going.”