Carlo Ancelotti says Everton’s rousing victory over Chelsea owed an enormous amount to his side’s spirit – and the supporters who created a “totally different atmosphere” inside Goodison Park on Saturday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson struck the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Edouard Mendy fouled Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Chelsea had waves of possession but fewer shots on target than the home team, as an Everton side missing the influential trio of James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman defended resolutely and maintained a persistent threat on the break.
The away team twice hit the woodwork – through Reece James in the opening half and 10 minutes from the end when Mason Mount was close with a free-kick – but found openings in short supply against the disciplined home team.
Everton, roared on by the fans inside Goodison for the first time since 1 March, climb three places to seventh and are four points off the Premier League summit.
They go to Leicester City on Wednesday.
“We needed this performance and we needed these points,” said manager Ancelotti.
“Tonight the performance was really, really good.
“You cannot win against Chelsea if you don’t have a good performance.
“Defensively, we were really good, we didn’t concede opportunities, just two from outside the box.
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“We were really well organised with the defenders and midfielders, the effort of the team was top.
“Our supporters made a lot of difference – we had only 2,000 but it was a totally different atmosphere.
“We are really happy for this [having supporters back].
“I hope the ground will be full as soon as possible.”
Everton began the match in the ascendancy and Mendy saved from Richarlison after six minutes.
The Brazilian would be denied by the keeper twice more.
But Mendy was culpable when Calvert-Lewin reached the ball ahead of him, colliding with the Everton striker for an obvious penalty.
Sigurdsson stroked it home to put Everton in front on 22 minutes.
He briefly thought he would have another opportunity from 12 yards after half-time but Calvert-Lewin was offside before being brought down by Ben Chilwell.
Jordan Pickford made a very good save to turn round a Reece James free-kick but the away side came closest with two efforts from outside the box.
A low drive from James crashed into the post and Mount’s late dead-ball strike met the same fate.
Everton began the season with seven straight wins in all competitions but had their momentum checked by three defeats.
They have returned with seven points from four matches and are nicely poised entering a congested period.
“We have to see if this result will help in the future," said Ancelotti.
"We started the season really well but after that we lost a little bit of our confidence and attitude.
“We have a really tough game on Wednesday, when I hope to see the same attitude and spirit.
“Tonight, we won because of our spirit, not the quality of our play.
“We didn’t have the ball as much as we wanted but defensively we were really good.
“After a difficult period, we were able to move on.
“Now we are showing more consistency.”