Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

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Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

Ancelotti plays down title

Everton have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season which sees them sit second in the Premier League table. Despite a small dip where they only won one game in seven, Carlo Ancelotti and his team have managed to recover and have now won four league games in a row.

Being second in the table, naturally there has been questions as to the possibility of a title challenge from the Toffees. However, Ancelotti has been quick to play down these claims saying that the club are very focused to achieve their target of qualifying for European football next season.

“No, I think realistically, we have to say no. We are really pleased to be where we are, but I think that our target hasn’t changed. There’s a lot of competition in the Premier League and a lot of fantastic teams. We’re happy to be second, but our target is to play in Europe next season. That hasn’t changed,” he said.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates with teammate Richarlison after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on December 05, 2020 in Burnley, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates with teammate Richarlison after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on December 05, 2020 in Burnley, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We have to be honest with ourselves; we’re not of the same level as some of the teams. We would like to be as soon as possible, and we’re working towards this, but if you ask me today I would say we have to be honest about it. After one year, we have progressed really well and we would like to improve further next season.”

The success of the side has been much down to both their signings and the performances of the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton brought in James Rodriguez, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey during the summer window and the signings have been a big success ever since their arrival.

If Everton do hope of achieving European football next season, these signings and their star striker will need to continue this rich vein of form.

Digne expected back in January

What has been one of the more miraculous achievements considering where Everton sit in the table is the structure of their defence. Ancelotti has been forced to play four centre backs across the back line with Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate playing as unorthodox left and right backs.

Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne have faced fitness issues throughout the season but the Frenchman is reportedly closer to a return than earlier expected. Thinking ahead of Everton’s match with Manchester City, the Italian coach confirmed he has been surprised about the speed of the Frenchman’s recovery.

“Lucas Digne [should be back] at the end of January. Ge’s progressing really well and he’s starting individual sessions and we’re really surprised about his recovery,” said Ancelotti.

Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Lucas Digne of Everton receives medical treatment during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton FC at Old Trafford on December 15, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

With the January window approaching, it would be likely that Everton look to pursue a possible full back signing who could even play on either flank. Everton fans should be be encouraged by the positive signs of the previous window in their hope of further additions in the coming weeks.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Liverpool FC 14 17 31
2 Everton FC 15 7 29
3 Leicester City FC 15 9 28
4 Manchester United FC 14 7 27
5 Manchester City FC 14 9 26
6 Aston Villa FC 13 14 25
7 Chelsea FC 15 13 25
8 Tottenham Hotspur FC 14 11 25
9 Southampton FC 15 6 25
10 West Ham United FC 15 2 22
11 Leeds United 15 -5 20
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 14 -5 20
13 Newcastle United FC 14 -7 18
14 Crystal Palace FC 15 -9 18
15 Arsenal FC 15 -4 17
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 15 -6 13
17 Burnley FC 14 -12 13
18 Fulham FC 15 -10 11
19 West Bromwich Albion 14 -19 7
20 Sheffield United FC 15 -18 2
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 10
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 9
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 7
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 6
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 5
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 5
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 4
Adams, Che Southampton FC 4

Source: 101greatgoals.com