Carlo Ancelotti has said that the past week has been ‘full of good news’ for Everton and is looking forward to what the future holds for the club.
It has been a busy news week for the Merseyside club with them earning their first win at Anfield since 1999, taking another step towards the building of a new stadium and Lucas Digne signing a new contract.
Speaking ahead of Everton’s match against Southampton on Monday, Ancelotti said: “In the last few days there has been a lot of good news. We are working to keep the good news everyday. It was a good result, a good step forward for the stadium and Digne signed a new contract.”
The win against Liverpool was not only deserved but also showed that the Italian manager is removing the cloak of an inferiority complex from the club. Everton had already beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this season before the weekend’s triumph.
“The result [against Liverpool] was really good, the performance also showed we can compete in some games. Now we have to look forward because we have a home game, we have to improve our home run at Goodison.”
Everton aim to fix home form against Saints
Ancelotti was right to highlight Everton’s home form because in their past two Premier League games at Goodison Park they have lost to 18th-placed Fulham and Newcastle United who are three points above the relegation zone.
“Away [from home], we are more focused defensively,” Ancelotti said. “At home, maybe we are thinking that the games are easier and we are not able to keep the concentration that we had away.”
Southampton are the visitors on Monday evening and Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side are in dire form both at home and away having not won any of their last nine league games dating back to January 4. The 3-0 defeat at Leeds United was the Saints’s latest defeat but Ancelotti said that their performances have not warranted such a poor run of results.
“Southampton play games with high intensity and strong pressure and they played quite well [against Leeds United] - they just didn’t get the result,” the Everton manager said. “We have to be aware of what we didn’t do in our last home games against Fulham and Newcastle.
“When you are able to open the scoring it is important, not only for us. Yes, of course, it will be really important, but as I said defensively we have to be more focused when we are at home.”
Ancelotti, who is likely to start with Allan and Dominic Calvert-Lewin as both have returned to training following injury, also admitted that he will continue rotating his goalkeepers until the end of the season despite Jordan Pickford pulling off three crucial saves in the Merseyside derby.
“He did really well and it is what he’s able to do, and that’s it,” Ancelotti said. “It’s true that the fact that [Robin] Olsen is there can help us to be more motivated and focused. I am going to continue the rotation of the goalkeepers until the end of the season.”
New stadium given green light
Everton were also granted planning permission by Liverpool City Council for their new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock on Tuesday. Subject to government approval, given the size of the project, work on the 52,888-capacity ground will begin in earnest in late spring with the ambition of the club starting the 2024/25 season there.
It would be a coup for Everton to move into the impressive stadium with European football and Ancelotti still at the helm. There is still a long way to go until then but the Everton manager said that he would “like to be here when the new stadium opens”.
"It would be a good achievement for me. To finish the contract in 2024 means you did a good job – and the contract will not be stopped, it will continue. The time I spent here, I felt good and would like to stay as long as possible."
Digne signs on until 2025
To cap off the positive week, full back Digne has extended his stay at the club until June 2025. He joined Everton from Barcelona in 2018 and in 97 appearances has directly contributed to 24 goals, scoring five and assisting 19.
The France left back said Everton’s ambition to pursue European qualification spots under Ancelotti made him commit his long-term future to the Merseyside team.
“We have a big project with the club and can reach something very good at the end of this season and for the next few years,” Digne told evertontv. “I want to play in Europe and Everton is the best place to do that.”
Digne has contributed six assists in the league this season, despite missing seven matches following an ankle ligament injury sustained in November.