Ancelotti On Reasons For Everton's 'Lost Opportunity'

Carlo Ancelotti says Everton will remain focused on their European goal despite “losing an opportunity” to close on the Premier League’s top seven at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.

Manager Ancelotti rued the “unlucky” nature of the goal which won the game in north London, Giovani Lo Celso’s shot taking a decisive deflection off Michael Keane to leave Jordan Pickford in goal with no chance.

Everton carried more menace following the half-time introduction of Anthony Gordon – one of five substitutes used by Ancelotti – but couldn’t convert their promising approach play into clear chances.

Mason Holgate was replaced before the interval after being hurt tackling Lo Celso and Ancelotti confirmed Everton will check on the defender’s condition on Tuesday.

Everton welcome Southampton to Goodison Park on Thursday and with five games remaining are separated from seventh-placed Arsenal by five points.

“When you play against this team, with this quality and energy, you have to do more,” Ancelotti told evertontv.

“The performance was normal, not fantastic.

“I was sure before the game we could perform better.

“The game was balanced, though, and we competed until the end.

“In the second half we had good possession but it was not enough.

“We lost an opportunity [to make up ground on the European contenders].

“We have five more opportunities and we want to come back to win the next game.”

Everton limited Tottenham to two shots on target and again defended soundly after conceding only once in three matches ahead of their trip to the capital.

The goal they let in here came when Lo Celso fired a shot which would have travelled off target but for the intervention of the unlucky Keane, who was dashing across the penalty box to cover and could do nothing to avoid contact with the ball.

Everton forced a number of dead-ball situations deep in Spurs territory as they sought an equaliser but were short of the attacking urgency which was a hallmark of the victory over Leicester City five days ago.

Ancelotti conceded his team’s heavy schedule possibly caught up with them in the opening half.

And the statistics back up his instinct.

Nine of Everton’s 12 attempts came after the restart and the possession share swung in the visitors' favour following half-time

“We did not concede a lot [of chances] and defensively we did well against fantastic strikers,” continued Ancelotti.

“We could have done more in the final third but it was not easy.

“Tottenham defended well and were really compact.

“We could have used more intensity on the second ball and in the tackle.

“We lost but we competed until the end. The second half was better for us and we tried to equalise but were not able to do this.

“We didn’t have control of the game in the first half because we were second in the contact and to second balls.

“The most important thing now is to recover well and be ready for the next game

"We have three home games and two away, it is difficult [to reach Europe] but we still have a chance and have to keep fighting.

“This game is gone. We have to focus on the next. 

“The fighting spirit the team showed in the last games [against Liverpool, Norwich City and Leicester] was fantastic.

“We were a little bit down this evening but we have to consider we are playing a lot of games.

“We were not able to stay at our top level but we have to look to the next game and try to get three points.”

On Holgate, who sustained his problem trying to halt Lo Celso just before the half hour and was eventually replaced by Yerry Mina nine minutes before half-time, Ancelotti said: “He had a knock, I don’t know what happened.

“We are going to check tomorrow.

“I hope he will recover soon.”