Key Quotes: Ancelotti says Everton ‘got what they deserved’ in defeat to Aston Villa 
Carlo Ancelotti was underwhelmed by his team in their defeat to Aston Villa (Photo by Peter Byrne - Pool/Getty Images)

Carlo Ancelotti has said Everton deserved to lose” against Aston Villa and stressed that the attitude of his players must be better from the off in the games to come.

Ancelotti’s side lost out 2-1 to the Villains having fallen behind to a 13th minute Ollie Watkins strike as the forward capitalised on a defensive error by Mason Holgate, something which left the Italian manager bitterly disappointed.

The attitude was wrong from the beginning. We didn’t start the game as well as this kind of match demands. It was an important game and would have been an important result. The way we made a lot of mistakes at the beginning – no balance, no concentration… it was not a good evening. They showed more desire.

We deserved to lose, we were not good enough and completely different from the last game when we had more spirit and attitude. The start of the game [in particular] was really bad.

Although admitting that the defeat was damaging, Ancelotti does still believe that the Toffees are in the hunt for European qualification come the end of the season.

If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League – which is likely given the final of the cup will be between Chelsea and Leicester City – then a sixth place finish would secure Europa League football in the next campaign.

As things stand, Everton are eighth and sit two points off neighbours Liverpool in sixth. Meanwhile, Chelsea currently occupy fourth position, nine points ahead of Ancelotti’s side, so any faint Champions League hopes have now likely faded for the Toffees.

 

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We lost a big opportunity to stay in the fight. The opportunity was there, it was an important game to try and win to stay in it. Now, we are still in the fight, but it will be more difficult. 

The season is not finished yet. There are five games and we have got to keep fighting. We still have important games to fight and to reach our target.”

The grass isn’t always greener at home

The loss against Villa was Everton’s eleventh of the campaign, and a staggering eight of those have come on home turf at Goodison Park. These include defeats to Newcastle UnitedFulham and Burnley – three sides who are all battling at the wrong end of the table. 

Contrastingly, 10 of Everton’s 15 wins this season have come away from home and manager Ancelotti can’t put his finger on why this is the case.

It’s difficult to say why we have this home form. Maybe we feel more comfortable away from home. We are still in the fight [for European qualification] because of what we have done away. It’s a completely different team and attitude. We need to be more focused, more concentrated and show more desire.

This is the same team that won against Arsenal eight days ago. We had good momentum and good form and then this is another bad performance at home. It’s all unbelievable. 

"The run we had away and it’s unbelievable the run we’ve had at home. We have the points that we deserve to have. The home run has affected us in the table, but I hope it doesn’t affect us in the end.

Picking the best out of a bad bunch on the night

Ancelotti’s side were below par overall but there were a few good individual performances against Villa and the manager highlighted this after the game as well as diminishing any speculation that the absence of James Rodriguez missing the match was the reason his side struggled.

The Colombian was withdrawn from the squad against the Villains shortly before kick-off with a tight calf.

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"Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] has improved a lot and I hope he’s going to improve again. Jordan [Pickford] has come back after an injury looking secure and more comfortable. I think that he can have a good Euros.

As for James, I don’t think it made a difference. His absence was important of course, but our attitude from the beginning was wrong.”

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