Carlo Ancelotti insists there is no need to rush into contract talks with Seamus Coleman because the Irishman’s ties to Everton are written in stone.
Coleman made his 345th Everton appearance in Friday’s win at Arsenal, delivering a typically spiky and energetic performance from right-back.
Manager Ancelotti, whose squad in north London was bolstered by the inclusion of five fit-again senior players, employed the rapid and mobile duo of Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate as his centre-back pairing.
That partnership enabled a “more dynamic” defensive performance, reckoned Ancelotti, who believes his side are trending in the right direction ahead of the season’s final stretch.
Coleman, whose leadership credentials Ancelotti rates on par with those of his former Champions League-winning captains Paolo Maldini and Sergio Ramos, started against Arsenal following a stirring effort from the bench in a draw with Tottenham Hotspur one week earlier.
The 32-year-old, who celebrated pointedly at the final whistle of a game that grew increasingly testy in the closing stages, joined Everton in January 2009.
Director of Football Marcel Brands last week told the Club's USA Live event he hopes to persuade Coleman to continue beyond the end of his current terms, which expire at the end of 2021/22.
“I don’t think we have to talk about the [Coleman’s] contract,” Ancelotti told evertontv.
“The contract that Seamus has with the Club and this team is forever.
“It doesn’t mean one-year long or two years long.
“Seamus’ contract with Everton is forever.”
Ancelotti continued: “We were more dynamic at the back [against Arsenal], we needed to be dynamic, they have wingers and [striker, Eddie] Nketiah, who are really fast.
“Defensively, we were solid.
“The back four, tactically, played a really good game.
“It was an important win… we arrived after a difficult period where we were not able to win and had a lot of problems.
“For two or three games, we have been playing better.
“We are more solid and have more options in the squad.”
Everton host Aston Villa on Saturday targeting back-to-back victories for the first time since claiming three successive wins – against Liverpool, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion – in February and March.
The success at Arsenal followed a run of three straight draws, results Ancelotti felt maintained his side’s European hopes, without qualifying as notable steps forward.
Everton led in the second half of two of those games – the Goodison meetings with Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur – and considered themselves unlucky to finish all-square in both.
Ancelotti, then, was more than happy to catch a break against Arsenal, when keeper Bernd Leno fumbled into his own net for the only goal.
Additionally, Arsenal had a penalty decision in their favour overturned by the VAR.
“Every game is really difficult… it was a game in balance, maybe they had more control, but defensively we were really good,” continued Ancelotti.
“We were a little bit lucky, to be honest, there were two different decisions with VAR and both decision were for us and, sometimes, it happens.
“These two points [extra, gained from scoring a winner] are the points we lost against Crystal Palace.
“Against Crystal Palace and Tottenham and Brighton we were not able to win but I said to the players to keep fighting because we still had possibilities [to qualify for Europe] and we still have possibilities.”
Everton have recorded twice as many wins away from home as they have managed at Goodison.
Ancelotti admits achieving home victory number six when they tackle Villa is imperative – but, looking further ahead, the Italian is counting the days until Evertonians are back in the ground.
“We have to improve the run at Goodison, we don’t need to sign new players, we need to have supporters back at the stadium,” added Ancelotti, who last week saw Director of Football Marcel Brands sign new terms and looked askance at clubs cooking up a breakaway European Super League.
“It was a good win at Arsenal, a strange week, because the Super League was a surprise, but a good week.”