Sigurdsson On Everton Belief And One Year Of Ancelotti

Gylfi Sigurdsson has revealed the “positivity and confidence” in the Everton dressing room as the Blues target a fifth straight Premier League victory when West Ham United visit Goodison Park on New Year’s Day (5.30pm GMT).

The in-form playmaker also paid tribute to manager Carlo Ancelotti’s influence since his appointment as manager one year ago – highlighting the Italian’s man-management skills and tactical acumen as key reasons for the Blues’ upturn in results.

Sigurdsson has been a central figure as Everton have taken maximum points from successive fixtures against Chelsea, Leicester City, Arsenal and Sheffield United.

The 31-year-old scored the only goal as the Toffees kicked off their winning streak against Chelsea and struck the decisive blow in the Boxing Day triumph over the Blades.

Those results have lifted Everton into the Champions League positions and Sigurdsson outlined the collective hunger within the squad to sustain their momentum in the new year.

Friday’s clash with West Ham is followed by a home game against Rotherham United in the FA Cup third round, before the Blues face consecutive Premier League away trips at Wolves and Aston Villa.

“The results we’ve had back-to-back have been very important for us,” Sigurdsson said.

“Those points have given us a big lift in the table, as well as off the pitch with our confidence and the mood in the squad.

“You can feel the difference, the positivity around the dressing room. 

“It looks good at the moment for us but we need to keep going. 

“Going into January, it is going to be very busy and it will be another very important period. 

“It’s a very open league and there are not many points between the team in first place to the teams in sixth or seventh. 

“You need to be at it every game. It is very demanding.”

Sigurdsson’s skilfully-taken goal in the Boxing Day success at Sheffield United came exactly one year after manager Ancelotti took charge of Everton in a Premier League match for the first time, when Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed the winner in a 1-0 victory over Burnley.

That 2019 win lifted Everton up to 13th in the table, while the Blues are now within striking distance of the Premier League summit.

The Icelander explained why he believes the Toffees have made such impressive progress under Ancelotti’s tutelage.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the manager a lot,” Sigurdsson said.

“Man-to-man, he’s fantastic, dealing with different kinds of situations. He is very calm, probably because he has seen it all before and knows exactly what to do. 

“He’s just a great person to be around.

“He didn’t make 10, 20 changes around the training ground when he came in. He just added certain things that he’s been doing in the past. 

“The work we do on shape before every game is very important for us. 

“I think everyone agrees he is a fantastic manager.

“All the players feel very comfortable with him on and off the pitch.”