Speaking ahead of Thursday’s match, Ancelotti said, “We expect a reaction from the bad game against Wolves; different attitude, different mentality, different character."
“A big part of the DNA of this club is that everyone wants to see players fighting. This is the most important part. We have to fight and to try to play well and win games, but when there is no fight, this is not the DNA of this club.”
After two wins and a draw in the first three games after the restart of the Premier League, Everton fans would have been forgiven for thinking their fortunes had turned. But since then, the Toffees have only picked up one point in their last three games, and were thoroughly picked apart by Wolves last time out, losing 3-0 at the Molineux Stadium on Sunday.
The kids are alright
Ancelotti also spoke about his prominent use of Everton’s young players, saying, “I think this is the best environment, they are training with us and learning a lot from more experienced players. As I said, they are training with us not because we like to have young players, because they have the quality to be with us.”
“It is important for everyone not to expect too much from these players. They need time to be comfortable with the team, we have to be patient with them.”
Everton have a well-developed reputation for bringing through players from among the youth ranks and Ancelotti has shown a clear agreement with that philosophy, with Anthony Gordon being a key part of Everton’s plans since the restart and Jarrad Branthwaite making his debut against Wolves on Sunday.
Ancelotti also provided an injury boost, announcing that Mason Holgate and Andre Gomes will both be available for Thursday’s match with each making quick returns from knocks picked up in recent games.
Everton have been struggling with the physical rigour of their playing schedule as Thursday’s match becomes their fifth match in 16 days. Holgate picked up a knock against Tottenham Hotspur and missed two games and Gomes was forced off in the first half of Everton’s game against Southampton and missed Sunday’s game at Wolves.
They were joined on the injury table by Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph and Ancelotti confirmed both are unavailable for the Villa match as they continue their recovery.