The five key quotes from Carlo Ancelotti's pre-Crystal Palace press conference
Carlo Ancelotti / Photo by Tony McArdle

Everton face Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Monday evening at Goodison Park, looking to end a run of three games without a win.

They face a Palace side who have only won once themselves in that time, but with a respectable draw with Manchester United.

The Toffees sit four places above The Eagles, nine points ahead and well in contention for European football next season.

Ahead of the game, Carlo Ancelotti faced the media:

  • On squad news and injuries

Davies and Godfrey had a little problem but I think they will be available on Monday. Davies trained with the team today without a problem, Godfrey did an individual session but he will be available for the game. Jordan Pickford is not available for the game, and Olsen will be available, Olsen is ok.

Both England U21 internationals Tom Davies and Ben Godfrey played in the defeat to Portugal, but neither played in the win over Croatia, however neither are doubts for Monday’s fixture.

Robin Olsen will be back and available in goal, but Joao Virginia has impressed with appearances against Burnley and Manchester City and will be looking to start a second game in a row.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin has also trained for the last two weeks, and although Ancelotti says he is fit and available, he will remain cautious about his involvement after not playing for almost 12 months.

  • On European chances

It will be an exciting race because a lot of teams are involved there, we are convinced that we can do well, we can reach a European position. Of course we have to fight in every game, every game will be like a final. There are 10 games in our end, we have to improve the home run that was not good, and we have to start against Crystal Palace.

Everton sit three points below fifth placed West Ham and five behind fourth placed Chelsea, with a game in hand over both sides.

 

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Out of their 10 remaining games, five of those are against sides in the top half and provide a good chance to improve their chances of European football next season whilst denting the hopes of those around them.

  • On James Rodriguez

I think it’s important for us to have James back at his best, because at the start of the seasons he did really well, he helped a lot in the attacking play. We hope he will do the same and I have confidence because I see him in training working well, showing a good condition and a good attitude.

James hasn’t played the last five games, in which Everton have only scored three goals. With a return of five goals and four assists in his first season in the Premier League, he will be vital to Everton’s chances of playing at least Europa League football next season.

Against a Palace side who are capable of shutting out opponents under Roy Hodgson, James can provide that killer ball that can unlock any defence.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin should also benefit form the return of the Columbian. The English international has only scored one goal since James has been out, so will be looking for more chances to improve on his 14 goals in the Premier League.

  • On new stadium announcement

Everyone at the club was really happy for the fact that finally we are able to start to build the new stadium. Of course, it’s an important step for the future of this club, and for this reason I think the fact that we will be able to reach Europe next season will be a good step forward.

This was the first time the Everton boss was able to speak about the new stadium after the government decided last week that they would not intervene with the plans for the £500 million, 52,000 capacity stadium to be built at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Fans could be able to enjoy their new home by 2024 if everything goes smoothly.

  • On the challenges Crystal Palace pose

Like all the teams in the Premier League they are difficult to beat. They are all quality, really well organised, really clear identity, really dangerous players up front. Like usual, we have to be focused, we have to be concentrated and we have to be brave because I think we need to win.

Palace have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, and with Wilfried Zaha returning to fitness after completing his first 90 minutes since January against West Brom, he will be hungry to add to his nine-goal tally in the Premier League.

If on form, Everton’s Monday night opponents can provide a tough game, and the focus and braveness Ancelotti highlighted will be needed to overcome them.

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