James Rodriguez guided Everton to the top of the Premier League by scoring twice in a 4-2 win over Brighton on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men will now head into the Merseyside derby against Liverpool after the international break with maximum points from their first four games.
The Toffees also have the Premier League’s form striker in their armoury as Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring by heading home his ninth goal of the season to celebrate his first ever call-up to the England squad.
Jordan Pickford remains England’s number one at the other end, but the Everton goalkeeper’s howler let Brighton back into the game as he dropped Leandro Trossard’s weak effort right at the feet of Neal Maupay, who turned home an equaliser.
The home side quickly responded to retake the lead before half-time as James’s free-kick was headed home by Colombian international teammate Yerry Mina.
The former Real Madrid midfielder then took centre-stage after the break as he swept home Alex Iwobi’s low cross before tapping into an empty net on his weaker right foot 20 minutes from time.
Yves Bissouma pulled a late goal back but it was too little, too late for Graham Potter’s men.
Everton’s victory leaves Manchester City already nine points off the top of the table, but Pep Guardiola will be hoping to bounce back from last weekend’s embarrassing 5-2 home defeat to Leicester against one of his mentors, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, later on Saturday.
Carlo Ancelotti claimed on Friday he would score goals playing up front for Everton with James Rodriguez behind him and wants forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to hit at least 20 each this season.
James has made an instant impact since joining from Real Madrid as the Toffees have won their opening two Premier League games of the season for the first time in seven years.
Ancelotti previously worked with the Colombia midfielder in the Spanish capital and at Bayern Munich and while he will not hold his front two to the standards of Cristiano Ronaldo, he believes they must improve on their goal return during his first season in charge.
“I think James Rodriguez is going to help the strikers because he is a fantastic assist man,” said Ancelotti.
“The target for Dominic is I hope he can reach 20 goals because he has the quality and ability, like Richarlison.
“With James at the time in Madrid, Ronaldo scored 56 goals: I am not honestly going to ask Dominic to score 56 goals but he has to try to do his best.”
Calvert-Lewin already has four to his name after scoring his first career hat-trick in a 5-2 win over West Brom last weekend, while Richarlison opened his account for the season with a double in another 5-2 victory over Fleetwood in the League Cup on Wednesday.
“I think if they do not score at least 20 goals each they can have a problem with me,” added Ancelotti.
“I said to them ‘You have to score at least 20 goals each’ and I hope Moise (Kean) also, he has the possibility. He has played two games and scored two goals.
“If I play as a striker and I have behind me James, (Gylfi) Sigurdsson, (Andre) Gomes I can score goals and so they have to.”
At the other end of the field, England number one Jordan Pickford is under the spotlight as he was at fault for both Fleetwood’s goals in midweek.
However, Ancelotti said he is not considering buying a new goalkeeper or dropping Pickford.
“There is a lot of focus on him but, I have to be honest, he started really well and did a fantastic match against Tottenham. I am not really focused on him, like you (the media),” he added.
“He is a great goalkeeper. He has my total confidence
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has set his players the minimum target of qualifying for Europe this season after they finished a lowly 12th in the Premier League in his first season in charge.
The Italian, a three-time Champions League winner, enjoyed a bright start to his reign after his appointment in December but their form fell away and they finished in their lowest position since 2004.
That was a disappointment for Ancelotti, who harboured hopes of sneaking into the European places despite taking over a team in a relegation battle.
“I think that the goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions of the Premier League to be able to reach Europe next season,” he said.
“The goal is quite clear. We have this desire, this ambition. I think we can.”
Ancelotti has strengthened his midfield with the signings of Napoli’s Brazil international Allan, Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure and high-profile Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez.
He still needs more cover at centre-back as Yerry Mina has been hampered by niggling injuries, while there are question marks over whether he has enough firepower with Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean.
But Ancelotti is satisfied with the club’s transfer activity so far, with all three new signings set to be given their debuts at Tottenham on Sunday.
“I think that we are happy to have these players,” he said. “The club did a fantastic job because these players — James, Doucoure and Allan — were the priority for us.
“We were able to sign them and so we’re really happy, I think the club did a fantastic job.
“Now we are working to have a good season. We would like to be competitive in all the competitions and I think with these players the squad has improved and I think we are going to compete.
“The market is going to be closed on October 5. If there is some opportunity I think we can look for this (more signings), but honestly I am satisfied with the squad in this moment.”
Veteran Italian manager Ancelotti was as unhappy as the home crowd on Merseyside, with the Toffees boss sent off after approaching referee Chris Kavanagh on the field.
The draw saw fifth-placed United miss the chance to cut the gap to Chelsea in fourth to a single point in the Premier League table as Everton stayed in 11th position.
Anthony Martial returned to the United line-up in one of five changes to the side made by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the Europa League victory over Club Brugge in midweek.
Ancelotti made five changes as well, with Andre Gomes starting in midfield for the first time since early November following a severe ankle injury.
It took Everton just three minutes to break the deadlock with a bizarre goal that delighted the Goodison Park faithful.
There seemed little danger as De Gea dwelt on a clearance.
But his eventual kick downfield was blocked by the charging Calvert-Lewin, with the rebound flying into the unguarded United net.
De Gea did make amends in part by denying Calvert-Lewin a second goal by tipping a shot wide while, at the other end of the pitch, Nemanja Matic hit the crossbar as United sought an equaliser.
Another goalkeeping error helped United draw level in the 31st minute when England number one Pickford, with national manager Gareth Southgate watching from the stands, failed to cover Bruno Fernandes’ speculative, if well-struck, effort from long range.
Everton midfielder Sigurdsson went close to making it 2-1 to the Toffees early in the second half.
United’s Victor Lindelof carelessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and Sigurdsson saw his curling strike come back off the post, with Richarlison unable to get the rebound on target as he followed up.
Pickford, as De Gea had done earlier in the game, then atoned for a costly mistake to keep his side in the match.
In the closing moments of normal time, he blocked Fernandes’ initial shot and then acrobatically dashed across his goal to keep out Odion Ighalo’s follow-up.
Manchester City will provide a test to see how genuine Everton’s revival is, Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday, despite the Premier League champions’ shaky campaign.
Everton coach Ancelotti, 60, has guided Everton to two wins in his first two matches in charge since replacing Marco Silva, who was sacked in early December after they slipped into the bottom three.
However, Ancelotti — one of only three managers to have won the Champions League three times — says City will provide a more realistic barometer on where Everton stand despite the welcome wins over Burnley and Newcastle.
“Against City this is a fantastic test to see where we are at,” Ancelotti said at his pre-match press conference.
“They are a really strong team but we can have confidence to do our best.
“I think at this moment it is good to have this kind of test.”
Ancelotti, who in his previous stint in England won the domestic double with Chelsea in the 2009/10 campaign, said City remained a formidable opponent even if their defence of the league title has gone awry and trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points.
“Maybe City aren’t at the same level as last year but they still remain a fantastic team with fantastic players and a fantastic manager,” he said.
“It will be really tough to compete with them, but we need to have the confidence to compete and to be focused on our football.
“We don’t have to look too much to the opponent because they are really strong so it’s better to be focused on our idea of football.”
Ancelotti, a two-time European Cup winner as a player with the outstanding AC Milan side of the late 1980’s and early 90’s, heaped praise on City manager Pep Guardiola, who he replaced as Bayern Munich manager when the Spaniard left to take over City in 2016.
“Pep is a fantastic manager,” said Ancelotti.
“We’ve met some times, not a lot in games, but I have a really good relationship (with him) and a lot of respect for him.
“He is a genius; he’s always tried to do something special on the pitch.”
Carlo Ancelotti has set his sights on taking Everton back into European competition after the Italian was appointed manager of “one of the greatest clubs in England”.
Saturday saw the Merseyside team announce that Ancelotti had become their new permanent manager on a four-and-a-half year contract.
The 60-year-old then watched from the stands at Goodison Park as Everton played out a goalless draw with Arsenal, who have appointed former Toffees favourite Mikel Arteta as their new manager.
“I’m excited to be here at one of the greatest clubs in England,” Ancelotti told the club’s in-house TV channel in his first interview since his appointment.
The draw with Arsenal left Everton 15th in the Premier League and just four points above the relegation zone.
Nevertheless Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winning coach who was sacked by Napoli this month, said Everton should aim high.
“The ambition is for us to try to win and be competitive,” he added.
“The goal is there to reach the Champions League or Europa League. Winning honours has to be the dream for this club and for the supporters. I am here to try to do this.”
Ancelotti guided Chelsea to a league and FA Cup double in 2010 in his first spell in England.
“Our goal is to be competitive in the Premier League, to be towards the top of the table, to be competitive in Europe,” he said.
“It’s not going to happen straight away, but we have to work for this.
“To Evertonians I would like to say, stay with the team as you always do because it’s really important for the players to have your support.
“I would like to work together with the supporters. My dream is to bring success to this club.”
Ferguson to stay at club
Meanwhile Everton chairman Bill Kenwright congratulated the club’s majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, for bringing in a manager of Ancelotti’s standing.
The Italian’s trophy-laden CV includes stints at a clutch of Europe’s top clubs, including Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“I have to take my hat off to Farhad,” said Kenwright.
“We interviewed a lot of people and Farhad was pushing for a world-class manager.
“He wants this team to be where he’s wanted it to be for three-and-a-half years. He wants this club to be winning trophies.”
Caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson will remain on Ancelotti’s staff.
The former Everton striker oversaw a win over Chelsea, draws with Manchester United and Arsenal and a League Cup loss on penalties to Leicester in his four-game spell at the helm following the sacking of Marco Silva.
Ancelotti’s first game in charge of Everton is set to be the Boxing Day clash at home to Burnley.
Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta were shown the huge jobs that lie ahead as Everton and Arsenal managers respectively as they watched their new sides play out a drab 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Ancelotti was confirmed as the Toffees new boss on the morning of the match, 24 hours after Arteta took charge of Arsenal.
Both new managers were in the stands with Duncan Ferguson and Freddie Ljungberg in temporary charge for the final time.
And the lack of confidence of two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table was obvious in a match completely devoid of quality.
A point edges Arsenal into ninth, but the Gunners have now won just once in their last 13 games in all competitions.
Everton move up to 15th, but are only four points clear of the relegation zone.
Ferguson’s role in Everton’s impressive victory over Chelsea and draw at Manchester United in their last two league games was enough to ensure the temperamental Scot a role in Ancelotti’s backroom staff.
However, there was a dramatic dip in his side’s energy levels as they looked jaded after a League Cup quarter-final defeat on penalties to Leicester in midweek.
Ljungberg named a youthful Arsenal side with 19-year-old Emile Smith Rowe starting for the first time in the Premier League alongside Reiss Nelson and teenagers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.
Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe were among those left out by the Swede, who won just one of his six matches in caretaker charge.
Martinelli had the best chance of a first half that ended without a single shot on target from either side when he sliced wide from Lucas Torreira’s fine through ball.
– Substituting a substitute –
Arsenal were the better side after the break as they finally got top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into the game.
The Gunners’ captain was denied by a fine save from Jordan Pickford as he pounced on Callum Chambers’s flick on from a corner. Then Aubameyang fired too close to the England number one with his next effort.
Ljungberg’s final decision of his caretaker spell was a brave one as he replaced Aubameyang 13 minutes from time as Lacazette was finally called on from the bench.
However, the focus was again snatched by Ferguson’s substitutions as for the second straight week he replaced a substitute.
Moise Kean was the victim of his impatience at Old Trafford last weekend as the Italian international was hooked after just 18 minutes.
This time it was Kean who was introduced for Cenk Tosun, who had come on early in the game for the injured Alex Iwobi.
But Kean could not make himself a hero by scoring his first Everton goal as Arsenal held out for a first clean sheet in 15 games.
Former Bayern Munich and Chelsea Manager, Carlo Ancelotti is set to join English Premier League outfit, Everton.
According to Sky Sports, Ancelotti is expected to be confirmed as Everton’s new permanent manager on Thursday or Friday.
If confirmed, his first game in charge will be against Arsenal who potentially will also have a new boss in Mikel Arteta.
Ancelotti, 60, was immediately linked with Everton after he was sacked as Napoli manager last week.
During a stint in England between 2009 until 2011 with Chelsea, Ancelotti won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Community Shield. He has also lifted three Champions League trophies over the course of his managerial career.
The 41-year-old replaces a friend in Ancelotti, who coached Gattuso to two Champions Leagues and one Serie A title over eight years in charge of seven-time European champions Milan.
“Ancelotti is like a father to me,” he added. “He’s always been close to me and supported me. He’s won it all and I still have a lot to prove.”
Former Rangers midfielder Gattuso joins Napoli at a difficult time despite their arrival in Monday’s draw for the knockout stages of Europe’s top competition.
Last season’s Serie A runners-up sit 17 points behind league leaders Inter Milan.
More worryingly they are eight behind fourth-placed Cagliari, who hold the final spot for next season’s Champions League, and have been engulfed in a row between the players and owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.
De Laurentiis ordered the players into a week-long training camp after defeat by big rivals Roma early last month — a decision with which Ancelotti publicly disagreed — but they rebelled and were hit with a massive fine that incurred the wrath of Players’ union FIFPRO.
Media reports in the United Kingdom suggest both Arsenal and Everton are keen to hire Ancelotti, who has won three Champions Leagues as a coach, after sacking Unai Emery and Marco Silva respectively.
Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked by Napoli despite taking the Serie A side to the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with a 4-0 win over Genk.
“Napoli has decided to relieve Carlo Ancelotti of his role as first team coach,” the Italian side said in a statement.
Tuesday’s win over Genk, which saw Napoli finish second in Group E, one point behind Liverpool, broke a nine-match winless run that came amid dressing room unrest and friction between the club, Ancelotti and the players.
Former AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso is the favourite to take over at Napoli, who finished second behind champions Juventus last season but are miles off the pace this year.
They sit seventh in the Italian top flight on 21 points, a whopping 17 points behind league leaders Inter Milan and more worryingly eight behind fourth-placed Cagliari, who hold the final spot for next season’s Champions League.
On Monday Ancelotti told reporters that “a coach’s suitcase is always ready” ahead of Tuesday’s match, and as speculation ramped up over the 60-year-old’s future at the southern club he ruled out stepping down after Tuesday’s win.
“Resignation? I have never resigned in my life and I never will,” he said. “My future? The team management will make its assessment.
The club has been in turmoil this season as club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis sank into a bitter row with his players following a series of disappointing results.
The squad refused to bow to De Laurentiis’ demand they be confined to a week-long training camp in November, reportedly receiving a collective deduction to their wages of 2.5 million euros ($2.7 million) for their disobedience.
Union FIFPro said they would back the players against “further abuse and intimidation”, calling De Laurentiis’ decision to fine his squad “unjustified”.
Ancelotti, who won three Champions League titles as a coach, twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid, replaced Maurizio Sarri in July 2018.
He guided the team to a runners-up finish in Serie A last season, when they missed out on the Champions League last 16 on goal difference to eventual winners Liverpool.
“I can’t pretend, the team doesn’t give what it could give,” Ancelotti said on Monday.
“In Europe, we have seen another Napoli, the one I would like to see in the league as well. I am looking for solutions to get out of this difficult period,” he added.
They are without a win in seven Serie A games since October 19 and next play Parma on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho is gunning for a return to top level management and a third Champions League title, the former Real Madrid and Manchester United manager revealed on Friday in an interview with AFP.
Mourinho has been out of work since being sacked by United in December and said he would like to be appointed as a boss at a club where he can add to his European triumphs with Porto in 2003 and Inter Milan seven years later, and draw level with Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti, and Bob Paisley.
“If I can win a third Champions League, great,” the 56-year-old told AFP.
“I would like to play in the best level, which is the Champions League.
“I want to be (in the race to win the Champions League next year). Sometimes, you are not in the race, but you have to win other races.”
Mourinho, who has coached in his native Portugal as well as in England, Italy and Spain left the door open to returning to those leagues or taking over at a club elsewhere.
“I can go back to a country I’ve been before and to be honest, I have enjoyed working in every country I did,” he said.
“(Or) I can try something very important, which is to work in a fifth country and try to win everything in the fifth country as I did in the previous ones.”
Powerful Premier League
Mourinho’s time with United was his third with a Premier League club after two spells with Chelsea, where he won the title three times, and he isn’t surprised that England has four teams in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top competition.
United, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Liverpool have all made it to the last eight.
“English teams are powerful; they have a very competitive league. Sometimes, it goes against them because many times, you have very difficult situations in the calendar,” he said.
“The teams are good and strong, and you look at Man City, the level of investment. Top players, experienced players, top manager, experienced manager.”
Asked about France attacker Kylian Mbappe, Mourinho praised the World Cup-winning teenager, who he says has the ability to take over from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when they eventually hang up their boots.
“He is there; he is ready for the next step. When the big monsters decide to stop, he will be there, just waiting,” Mourinho said.
“Sometimes, you can be part of the team that reaches something, and you are just lucky to be at the right moment at the right time. That’s not the case. He was very important for France being the champion.”
Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli suffered their first setback of the season on Sunday as a double strike from French forward Gregoire Defrel helped Sampdoria seal a shock 3-0 win over the Serie A runners-up.
Napoli were unable to repeat their come-from-behind exploits against Lazio and AC Milan in their first two games this season as they crashed to defeat in Genoa, handing Juventus an early boost to their title defence.
Former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Ancelotti opted for an experimental side for his third game in charge, with attacking trio Marek Hamsik, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens on the bench and Simone Verdi getting his debut.
“We had the same start as the other two games, but this time we didn’t manage to overturn it,” said Ancelotti. “We again gifted them the first half with a bad attitude, especially on the opening goal. We went 1-0 down, got nervous and started to struggle.”
Sampdoria were playing their first game at home since the Genoa bridge disaster which killed 43 people in the western port city.
And the home side got off the mark quickly when Fabio Quagliarella crossed for Riccardo Saponara who set up on-loan Roma forward Defrel to unleash a thunderous shot into the net after 11 minutes to the delight of the home crowd.
Defrel added a second on 32 minutes and veteran forward Qaugliarella compounded the visitors’ misery with a back-heel volley on 75 minutes against his former club.
The defeat means Napoli lose ground on Juventus, who despite Cristiano Ronaldo still waiting for his first goal, have three wins from three after Saturday’s 2-1 success at promoted Parma.
It also gives Ancelotti’s side reason to worry ahead of tough upcoming Champions League fixtures against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool.
“I don’t think we need to change all that much, we just have to start games with more focus. That attitude is unacceptable and we couldn’t keep getting away with it,” said Ancelotti who had no regrets about benching Hamsik and Callejon.
“I wish they were the problem today because that would mean it was my fault for making bad decisions, but the truth is it was a general attitude throughout the squad. We made very little of the full-backs too.
“We did fight back in the second half. If I had a magic wand, I’d change the way we started. Intensity is fundamental and without that, the quality doesn’t come through.”
Massimiliano Allegri’s seven-time reigning champions sit top the Serie A table with nine points after three matches and are oozing confidence going into the international break.
Other Champions League contenders, Roma — third in Serie A last season — also lost points with a 2-1 defeat to AC Milan at the San Siro on Friday.
Roma are on four points after three games, the same as Inter Milan who beat Bologna 3-0 to get their first win of the season.
Sassuolo move second behind Juventus with seven points after an eight-goal thriller gave them a 5-3 win over Genoa.
Fiorentina — with a game in hand — have a maximum six points from two games with Marco Benassi scoring the only goal in a win over Udinese after last week’s 6-1 rout of Chievo.
Torino got their first win of the season 1-0 over SPAL thanks to a Nicolas Nkoulou goal seven minutes into the second half after the game was suspended for nearly an hour because of a violent storm in Turin.
In Rome, Spanish midfielder Luis Alberto scored the only goal after 49 minutes to give Lazio their first win of the season over local rivals Frosinone.
Atalanta followed their Europa League exit by falling 1-0 at home to Cagliari.