Carlo Ancelotti Says Everton Now Ready to 'Fight for the Europa League'

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2020

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Carlo Ancelotti, Manager of Everton during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on February 08, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti has eradicated Everton's relegation worries, and now the Italian has set the Toffees a target of qualifying for next season's UEFA Europa League.

Ancelotti was in bullish mood after overseeing Everton's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Saturday, per Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo: "The work everyone has done was really good, players, club, staff everyone and now our table is good and we can dream to fight for the Europa League in the next games."

Participating in Europe is suddenly a realistic target thanks to the scale of the turnaround under Ancelotti.

Beating Palace was the Toffees' fifth win in eight league games since Ancelotti took charge, good enough to move the Merseyside club up to seventh. Everton were 15th and just four points above the relegation zone after a 0-0 draw with Arsenal on December 21, the last game with interim boss Duncan Ferguson in charge.

Since then, the Toffees have lost once in the league, with only leaders Liverpool outperforming Ancelotti's men during the same time.

The reversal in Everton's fortunes owes everything to how Ancelotti has revived the form of key players in attack. Specifically, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have both been finding the net for fun.

Richarlison's spectacular 70-yard run and finish cancelled out Christian Benteke's equaliser and put Everton in front to stay against Palace. The Brazilian has recovered from a midseason slump to become the Toffees most consistent contributor in the final third.

Richarlison is leading Everton's charge toward Europe.
Richarlison is leading Everton's charge toward Europe.Michael Regan/Getty Images

Calvert-Lewin has followed Richarlison's lead by playing himself into consideration for an England cap with a prolific run he continued by netting the clincher against the Eagles.

Getting Everton's frontmen on song speaks to the keen man-management skills Ancelotti has displayed throughout his career. The 60-year-old is a players coach whose experience and pedigree is widely respected thanks to his illustrious trophy haul, which includes winning the UEFA Champions League three times and capturing league titles in four different countries.

Calvert-Lewin is in the best form of his career.
Calvert-Lewin is in the best form of his career.Michael Regan/Getty Images

In other words, Ancelotti is a proven winner who has seen it all at the top level. He's the ideal choice to lend greater credibility to a club struggling to make the step up from mediocrity in recent seasons.  

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