Carlo Ancelotti praised Everton’s “fantastic” spirit, ambition and motivation after the Blues made it five wins from five in 2020/21 courtesy of a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.
Now the manager has called on his squad to maintain those qualities to ensure their hugely-encouraging start to the campaign continues.
Everton came up against another previously-unbeaten Premier League side in Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday but came away with three points courtesy of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 10th-minute opener and Richarlison’s penalty shortly before half-time.
It means the Toffees sit top of the table in this embryonic stage of the season, having already seen off Tottenham Hotspur and West Brom, while reaching the last 16 of the Carabao Cup with victories over Salford City and Fleetwood Town.
“It’s really important to see the spirit in the team which is good in this moment and that is the reason we have started the season well,” said Ancelotti.
“We have to look at the momentum and know that every game will be difficult. We have to keep the motivation we have shown on the pitch and ambition because we are doing really well but we have to know that the danger is behind us all the time.
“The spirit was fantastic but we have to keep going to try to improve where we have to and be focused there. I’m really pleased what we have done in this first period of the season.”
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COLEMAN HAILS IMPACT OF NEW EVERTON TRIO
Ancelotti was encouraged by another goalscoring performance from Calvert-Lewin, who took his tally to five for the season when he fired home Seamus Coleman’s low cross after a slick move involving Andre Gomes, Abdoluaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez.
The Blues boss believes the Premier League’s current top scorer is doing all he can to earn a first senior England call-up – and also lavished praise on the leadership qualities of the man who set him up for the visitors’ opener at Palace.
“The only way to play for the national team is to behave like he [Calvert-Lewin] is doing at this moment,” added Ancelotti. “The staff of the national team will look at him, without doubt.
“He is doing well because he is more focused in the box, doesn’t spend a lot of energy outside the area. This is what a striker has to do when you play one up front. He needs to be ready in the box and, at this moment, he is.
“Seamus is doing really well. He is an example for all the others of how you need to be: the attitude, the spirit - every day. I've had a lot of captains in my career but how Seamus expresses his love for the shirt is really top. He is a great captain, honestly. I don’t want to forget anyone [I have worked with] but he is up there as a captain with Maldini, John Terry and Sergio Ramos.”