Carlo Ancelotti is promising a fast and ambitious Everton performance when Manchester City come to Goodison Park for Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final tie.
Manager Ancelotti saw first-hand the devastating power of City when Pep Guardiola’s team won the Premier League game in L4 last month.
And the Italian insists it is imperative Everton don’t try to imitate their opponents’ style this weekend.
Avoid falling into that trap, reckons Ancelotti, and in a one-off knockout, Everton have every chance of progressing.
Equally, Ancelotti, who won the FA Cup as Chelsea boss in 2010, wants his side agile and decisive in possession.
“Every team has its own characteristics and Manchester City are fantastic with the ball, really good in possession and with a lot of ability one-on-one,” said Ancelotti.
“It is really difficult to compete there – but we can compete with a good attitude and spirit, with strong concentration defensively and trying to play efficiently when we have the ball.
“Also, using set-pieces, where we are strong.
“We have to compete but not with their characteristics… with our characteristics, we can compete – above all, in a knockout.
“We competed for an hour in the last game but we have to be better with the ball.
“It won’t be a long time [Everton have possession]… we have to be efficient, play quick and vertical.
“This competition is a big motivation, we are not so far [from the final], we had a really exciting game against Tottenham [5-4 win in round five] and we are going to have an exciting and difficult game this weekend.
“The desire is really big and I hope this desire can help us have more motivation and more spirit.”
Ancelotti, who was talking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, confirmed he will be missing both frontline goalkeepers against City.
Jordan Pickford and Robin Olsen are both expected to return following the forthcoming international break.
Meantime, Joao Virginia is set for only his second senior start and Ancelotti is confident the 21-year-old Portuguese – who replaced Pickford during last week's Premier League defeat by Burnley – has the composure and ability for the occasion.
Higher in Ancelotti’s list of priorities is ensuring his team implement the gameplan drummed into them this week.
On that score, he is confident after seeing a collective desire to atone for the Burnley setback.
“I am not worried because Joao is young, a goalkeeper without experience for this kind of game… he has a lot of quality,” said Ancelotti.
“He showed his quality against Burnley.
“I am not worried about the absence of the two goalkeepers.
“Where I am worried, is the team has to play like we tried this week – we tried to put in place the right strategy for the game and I hope the team is able to do this.
“It will be difficult, we know, and we would like, also, for it to be difficult for Manchester City.
“I have confidence, as usual, in this kind of game.
“After Burnley, the reaction in training was good.
“We are focused and concentrated and above all have a great desire to go forward in this competition.”
Ancelotti was coy over the exact nature of what he has in store for Guardiola’s City, other than his public demand for Everton to take the bull by the horns when they have possession.
However he sets up, there is likely to be a place for Michael Keane.
The defender is enjoying an excellent personal campaign – picking up where he left off last term under Ancelotti – but wasn’t named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad this week.
“He is focused on the game tomorrow… the only way to change this kind of thing is to work hard and be focused on what he is doing,” said Ancelotti.
“He has to be focused on the Euros [summer European Championship finals] and has two months to convince Gareth Southgate he can play for the national team.
“Michael doesn’t have to be worried about this, it can be an opportunity to try to do better.
“He is doing really well but he can do more.
“He has to be focused there and to try to improve.”