Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti believes his side were “much better” in the second-half as they picked up a point at home to Southampton

The Saints controlled the first-half and could’ve been out of sight as chances went begging, while Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse were both denied by the crossbar. 

Ings scored his 19th Premier League goal of the season just after the half-hour mark, but the hosts struck back against the run of play when Richarlison found the back of the net right before half-time.

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Southampton played better than us, says Ancelotti

On Monday evening, just three days prior, Everton lost 1-0 away at Tottenham Hotspur and the Blues were looking for a positive result to keep their European hopes alive going into the final four games. 

Southampton, who picked up a stunning win against Manchester City at the weekend, were dominant in the first-half and Everton boss Ancelotti admitted that although the Saints “played better” the result was “quite fair”. 

“The performance was not good in the first-half, much better second-half and we were more in control,” he said in his press conference. 

“The key point of the first-half was that we left too much space between lines and they had good control in possession. 

“We were not able to catch the ball to defend well. The second-half was much better, we started to win more second balls, more fighting and we had more control. 

“It was a difficult game, Southampton played better than us, but at the end I think the result was quite fair.”

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Everton were “lucky” to be level at half-time

Everton made a tactical change to play both Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson in front of the back line for the final half-hour, which limited space and Southampton’s chances thereafter. 

A point doesn’t really suit either side as they look to both push for a top-half finish and Ancelotti said his team were “lucky” to have been level at half-time after Richarlison’s strike. 

“Second-half we changed a little bit of shape and we were more in control in the middle of the pitch, where we left a lot of space in the first-half,” the Everton manager said. 

“We were more in control, we left them to play more on the side of the pitch. We were better. It was a fantastic goal and a fantastic finish, but we were lucky in the first-half. We didn’t deserve to draw.” 

Talking about Richarlison and the impact he has on the Everton team, Ancelotti added: “He is a fantastic striker. I also said this before this performance. He’s really smart in front of the goal, he’s really cold in front of the goal. I’m happy to have him.” 

Ancelotti said the team have to “still believe” there’s a chance of qualifying for the Europa League, but they must get “important results” in their final four games. 

The Blues travel to face a Wolves side, who are in the hunt for Champions League football themselves, on Sunday at midday.