Carlo Ancelotti believes Everton’s impressive display in their 1-0 victory at Spurs “told us we can compete with everyone” - as the Blues boss called on his side to deliver consistency to enjoy a successful season.
Everton got their 2020/21 campaign off to the perfect start with success in north London on Sunday, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s bullet header from Lucas Digne’s pinpoint free-kick on 55 minutes proving the difference.
Adding to three points and a dominant performance against Jose Mourinho’s team were the debuts of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure, all three new boys catching the eye at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Ancelotti admitted his faith in the trio’s ability meant he was not surprised by how they fared despite having only a handful of training sessions at USM Finch Farm in the build-up to the clash.
And the Blues boss called on his squad to match the level of a “brilliant” performance shown against Spurs throughout the campaign to ensure they can fulfil their potential.
“The game was good, it was what I expected from the team,” said Ancelotti. “It was not easy but the new players brought energy and quality. The others also supported the adaptation of these three really well. The performance was brilliant.
“The players who are able to play football don’t need a lot of time to adapt. James knows what he has to do, and Allan and Doucoure were the same. It is up to them to show their quality and I think they did.
“We have to give continuity. The problem we had last season was we were up and down, in a lot of performances. We have to try to have more continuity and we will see in the next game. But this game told us we can compete with everyone.”
🗣 | "The spirit and the attitude were good. I could not have asked for more from the new signings and they had the support of their teammates."@MrAncelotti's #TOTEVE verdict is in... 🔵 pic.twitter.com/cjYVoj1cNR— Everton (@Everton) September 13, 2020
James joined Everton on Monday, the Colombia international signing from Real Madrid to much fanfare around the world.
The move saw the playmaker link up with Ancelotti for the third time in his career, the duo having worked together previously at the Bernabeu and Bayern Munich.
Ancelotti was encouraged by the 29-year-old’s Blues bow and explained the reasons behind starting James so soon after his arrival on Merseyside.
“We considered the physical aspect - James is not the fastest player in the world but he has a lot of quality, so we have to use him to show his quality,” added Ancelotti.
“He is not a winger, not a right winger, but he can come inside and when he comes inside and receives the ball between lines he can be really dangerous. We are not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about this, I would sign Usain Bolt and not James!
“I think we have a good combination in midfield. We have players with quality – Gomes, James – we have Allan who is really good in position [awareness], we have Doucoure who can work box-to-box more.
“The combination of the midfielders are good this season. Last season, we had a lot of players with quality on the ball but in football you have to play also without the ball.”