Ancelotti: 'Evertonians Go To Support Their Team... It Will Be Special Having Them Back'

It will be a special feeling having supporters with us in the stadium tonight.

We have waited a long time for this to happen and it is an important step towards bringing normality back to our game and our lives.

Everybody in the Club wants Goodison Park completely full, creating this wonderful atmosphere I experienced in my first months and giving energy and motivation to our team.

Football does not feel like the same sport without fans and I know it is the same for you.

Evertonians go to the matches to support their team and the emotion and connection in the ground is completely different from watching on television.

The protocols will be strict – this is how it has been for the players and staff since we started again in June – and we have to observe everything exactly.

This way we can, hopefully, move closer to the matchdays we all cherish.

The game will be really tough and for us to win it needs a performance close to perfect in every aspect.

We improved a little bit in our past two games and, honestly, could have taken more than one point.

Against Leeds United, we had to be more clinical in the box. It was a game when on the touchline you sensed the first goal would be decisive.

At Burnley, we expected a hard, physical match and it became more difficult when we conceded an early goal.

But the players’ reaction was really good.

We are trying to achieve balance between defence and attack.

Offensively there have been few problems. We have been creating chances and, most of the time, scoring goals.

For our opponents, though, there have been too many opportunities.

It was different against Burnley. Apart from the goal, they had one chance in open play and Jordan made a fantastic save.

Jordan’s confidence is back to a high level and because of this he is showing his quality, which is top.

Our defenders were clever to avoid conceding too many set-pieces, where Burnley are really dangerous.

The only way to defend well is with sacrifice and spirit.

Every player showed those qualities. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina were very good and we can be pleased with that aspect of our game.

Michael deserved the honour of captaining Everton. He is a professional guy, dedicated, and really cares about this club.

He has improved, I think, in the past year and is consistently at a good level.

Dominic showed again he has outstanding focus and movement in the box.

My message to him is, don’t stop.

He is in a fantastic moment and showing the possibilities to be a top centre-forward.

For this, you need to carry on scoring. It gets harder because opponents will pay him special attention, but he has the hunger and skills to keep going.

We welcome Frank Lampard and the staff and players of Chelsea.

I had a fantastic experience with Frank when I was Chelsea manager.

He is an example of how to be the perfect professional. Frank scored 22 goals in the season we won the Premier League, which for a midfielder is really incredible.

I saw the leadership qualities to be a manager if he wanted to follow this route.

We can see now Frank is setting very high standards.

Chelsea are strong in every part of the pitch. They are second highest scorers in the Premier League.

Their defensive record is joint-second best.

We have to be aware of these things but the biggest focus is on what we are going to do.

When Everton play at Goodison Park, the opponent has to feel pressure.

Our football should be fast, positive and ambitious.

We are beginning a busy period in a strong position in the league. It could be better, this is true, but we are in the fight for European positions, which is our target for this season.

The schedule is challenging for everyone. Our thought is to accept how it is and do our best in every game.

We started the season with a lot of matches in a short period and did really well.

Today we are showing our support for the Rainbow Laces initiative.

I was proud when Everton became one of the first football clubs to sign up as a Stonewall Diversity Champion this year.

We do not accept any form of discrimination and everybody from the LGBT+ community is absolutely welcome in our Everton family.

For me, this is completely normal.

Football is a sport for everybody and we can play our part in creating equality and making the world a better place for future generations.