Everton Boss Ancelotti On Reason For Dropped Palace Points

Carlo Ancelotti insists Everton remain firmly in the hunt for European football – but cannot afford a repeat of the mistakes that cost two points against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Monday.

Everton appeared destined for victory when the influential James Rodriguez broke the visitors’ resistance with a well-taken goal 11 minutes after half-time.

But Palace, who were indebted to goalkeeper Vicente Guaita for a string of first-class saves, equalised when substitute Michy Bastshuayi struck with four minutes to play.

Guaita twice denied Dominic Calvert-Lewin one-on-one but reserved his best for deep into the second half, when the Spaniard’s astonishing, sprawling save prevented Richarlison from doubling Everton’s lead.

Ancelotti welcomed back Jean-Philippe Gbamin following 597 days on the sidelines, the Ivorian replacing James with 12 minutes remaining.

Fellow midfielder Andre Gomes hurt a hamstring in the first half and will undergo a scan to assess the extent of the injury.

The point keeps Everton in eighth position, knocking on the door of the top four, but urgently needing to rediscover the winning touch.

“The reason [for not winning] was we were not able to kill the game when we had the opportunity,” said Ancelotti.

“We had a lot of chances, which, in the last games, we didn’t have. We were not ready [to take those opportunities].

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02:29 Mon 05 Apr 2021

ANCELOTTI ON PALACE DRAW AND JAMES RETURN

Boss disappointed but identifies areas where Blues improved.


“Usually, our strikers in that situation were, in the past, really clinical. Tonight, they could have done better.

“After we opened the scoring, we had opportunities and could have closed the game. In the end, sometimes this can happen.

“In the last 10 minutes, you have to defend, you maybe don’t have the energy and maybe a little mistake can affect the result.

“That’s what happened in the last situation [Palace's goal]. A little mistake [at the back] undid us and we have two points fewer.

“The position in Europe is still there.

“We are in the fight and have one game in hand.

“But when you deserve to win, you have to win. We have to be more focused to avoid these kinds of situations.”

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01:58

HIGHLIGHTS: EVERTON 1-1 CRYSTAL PALACE

James on target at Goodison but late Batshuayi goal denies Blues.


Calvert-Lewin’s first opportunity came in the 21st minute following a glorious through ball from Mason Holgate.

Guaita raced to the edge of his box to fling out a hand and thwart the Everton striker.

And the keeper repeated the trick when Richarlison slipped through Calvert-Lewin for another opportunity after half-time.

Guaita then took off to his left to fingertip over after Richarlison drove a shot into the turf following Lucas Digne’s precise set-up.

That would have put Everton 2-0 up after James’ 56th-minute strike.

The Colombian strode onto Seamus Coleman’s cut back to sweep his finish inside Guaita’s left post and cap a terrific comeback following six weeks out with a calf injury.

James was replaced by Gbamin with 12 minutes remaining but it was two Palace substitutes, Jeffrey Schlupp and Batshuayi who had the final say.

Batshuayi ran onto Schlupp’s through ball and angled a drive across Robin Olsen to steal a draw for the away team – although it needed one more save from Guaita, reacting sharply to keep out a low strike from Richarlison, for Palace to claim their point.

“In the end, we deserved to win,” continued Ancelotti, who takes his team to Brighton & Hove Albion next Monday.

“We have lost two points because of our mistakes.

“We were not unlucky, I have to say. We have to make up these points in the other games.

“We will be more focused in the next game to try to get the two points we lost tonight.

“I think James gave a fantastic effort.

“It was a long time he was not playing. He played a fantastic match, he scored a goal and helped the team.

“At the end, he didn’t have a lot of energy and to avoid a problem I took him out.”

Portuguese midfielder Gomes lasted only 30 minutes before a muscle problem ended his involvement.

“Andre Gomes has a hamstring injury and we will have to check in the next few days,” added Ancelotti.

“I don't know how long he will be out. It doesn't seem like a serious problem, it seems a little problem, but we have to check with a scan.”