Everton Boss Ancelotti: 'Pay Attention Or Lose European Chance'

We have an opportunity in our final two matches at Goodison Park to improve a home record which made the fight for Europe more complicated.


Tonight, it is vital to have complete focus from the beginning and start the game with speed and purpose.


In the games at Goodison when we didn’t perform, we were too comfortable, I think, and missed a little bit of concentration.


When you don’t pay attention, the passing is slow and your opponent wins the duels. The team loses balance and is easier to play against.


It is a strange season and we would not have lost eight home games with our fans in the stadium, I have no doubts about this.


But it is still too many defeats and the aim is for six points at Goodison this week.


I am writing before our match at Aston Villa but I can say with certainty we did a fantastic season away.


We were going to Villa with a plan to get the win and stay in the competition for the top positions until the last day.


This is the attitude we showed away all season, even when the pressure became bigger.


We had to win at Arsenal and West Ham United to keep the possibility of Europe and both times the performances were really efficient.


Against West Ham, last week, the defending was at the top and with Dominic and Richarlison we were fast and dangerous on the counter-attack.


Dominic’s goal was different from others he scored this season.


The timing and speed of the movement were perfect and he was calm in front of the goalkeeper.


It was a clinical finish and the goal of a top striker. He has a lot of qualities and when he doesn’t score is still really important because his skills help the team.


But Dominic can do more, I am sure. We see how he works and the desire and talent and it is clear he is a big player for Everton, now and for the future.


The wins we had away were, mostly, from the same type of performance.


Our strength is how we defend and the players in our squad are more comfortable in this shape.


As a manager, the only job is to try to win matches, so it is normal to follow a style that gives us the strongest possibility.


We improved this season and the reward we want is European football.


But nothing will change the plan for next season, which is to be more competitive, again, and take another step.


For this, we will improve the quality in some positions and after play more attractive and offensive football.


The matches we won this season were mainly because of the motivation and attitude and focus.


There was some good football, of course, but we understand that without the right spirit it is difficult for us to have positive results.


We welcome Paul Heckingbottom and the staff and players of Sheffield United.


This club is a strong example of the competitiveness in our league. They were unlucky with injuries to some players who did really well when Sheffield United came back in the Premier League and it has been a difficult season.


But I saw a team that was always fighting and managed some good results, like winning at Manchester United.


Our first game, at Bramall Lane, was close and we needed character and personality for the victory.


In some other countries you can face the bottom team and they will only defend. We expect Sheffield United to play with freedom and the ambition to win.


We hope this is the last time we play without fans in the stadium.


Football has been unrecognisable since COVID came and I am really impressed with the way Evertonians kept their passion for the Club.


We saw the support and how you were still feeling the games and this was the biggest part of our motivation.


The signings from last year haven’t played in front of our fans – apart from the small crowds before Christmas – but they learned how strongly Evertonians feel about the shirt and the Club and the players.


We are already thinking how it will be inside a full Goodison and with thousands of our fans in away grounds.


It will be a happy day tomorrow when we can start to enjoy life with fewer restrictions.


The most valuable aspect is we can be with more family and friends and the past year has shown this is something to treasure.


I send my best wishes to every Evertonian and all your loved ones and our thoughts remain with everybody affected by the pandemic.


There is still some work to do before we have complete normality but if we follow all the guidelines, the Everton family will be reunited soon.