Carlo Ancelotti sustained the feelgood factor around Everton by declaring his ambition to stay beyond the end of a contract which lasts until 2024 and lead the Club into an exciting future.
Manager Ancelotti masterminded Everton’s victory over Liverpool at Anfield last Saturday, then received another boost when left-back Lucas Digne committed to a new four-year deal.
Those events sandwiched news of the Club’s proposed new Bramley-Moore Dock home receiving unanimous support from Liverpool City Council.
Everton could move in time for 2024/25, if the stadium project gains Government approval – a timeline which coincides with the expiry of Ancelotti’s existing terms.
The Italian – whose immediate focus is on maintaining this season’s European push when Southampton visit Goodison Park on Monday – has overseen a marked improvement in fortunes since being appointed in December 2019.
And he hopes the past 14 months come to be viewed as the platform for long-term success.
“I would like to be here when the new stadium is open [assuming the 2024 target is met],” said Ancelotti.
“It would be a good achievement for me.
“To finish the contract in 2024 means you did a good job – and the contract will not be stopped, it will continue.
“The time I spent here, I felt good and would like to stay as long as possible.
“In the past few days there was a lot of good news and we are working to keep the good news every day.
“It is really important to have the trust of the Club, without this it is difficult to do your job at your best.
“Also, the players must have trust in you and you have to trust the players.
“We have a good relationship and I hope to continue.”
Ancelotti cited his team’s accomplished Merseyside derby performance as further evidence of a capacity to match the Premier League’s leading lights.
Everton have claimed four points from six against both Leicester City and Liverpool and beaten Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, in addition to this month’s draw at Manchester United.
Conversely, they have come unstuck against opponents fighting for points towards the bottom of the division, recently losing at home to Newcastle United and Fulham.
Ancelotti insists a collective switch in mentality can fix that quirk.
In Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton, though, he acknowledges Everton will encounter a dangerous animal.
Southampton are on a poor run of results but only last month moved level on points with Tottenham in fourth following victory over Liverpool.
“In my opinion, we don’t have to look at the table, we have to play game by game and see where we are at the end of the season,” said Ancelotti.
“It is really important for us to play in Europe next season, it is a step forwards for the players and the Club.
“We have to work hard because it will not be easy, a lot of teams are involved, but I think we can compete until the end.
“If we want to fight for a European position, we have to improve at Goodison.
“The players are really focused. They know... what they have to do to be in the position to play in Europe next season.
“In away games, we were more focused defensively, we made fewer mistakes.
“At home, maybe, we were thinking the game was easier and were not able to keep the concentration we had away.
“We are going to play the teams at the bottom [five of Everton’s next six league matches are against sides currently 13th or lower], where we had more problems.
“We have to be able to solve this… the league is a high level and the teams at the bottom are doing well.
Ancelotti, who confirmed forward Joshua King is "adapting well" and closing on his first Everton start, added: “To play against Southampton is not easy.
“In the past games they didn’t get a result but they played with strong intensity and big pressure.
“What we did at home against Fulham and Newcastle was not good enough and we want to avoid the problems we had in those games.
"Every game is really complicated and we have to be ready to fight in all of them."