Everton’s humiliating FA Cup defeat against a youthful Liverpool side has left new manager Carlo Ancelotti with plenty of questions to answer.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the problems the three-time Champions League-winning coach has to solve.
Change the mentality
Despite playing under-strength opponents and creating the best chances of the first half, Ancelotti acknowledged his players lost confidence having not taken the lead and that contributed to them failing to register their first win at Anfield since 1999. Resignation turned to surrender and the Toffees boss will have been alarmed by just how little his players influenced a game against such inexperienced opponents. While the wily Italian may be able to improve the football, it is difficult to see how he will be able to change the mindset of many of the players, with only Djibril Sidibe of the starting XI a relative newcomer.
Ancelotti has to have a significant input into transfer targets, despite that being the realm of director of football Marcel Brands. Everton’s starting line-up at Anfield cost £222million but a number of those players do not appear to be up to the task. Yerry Mina is not the commanding centre-back they so desperately need, Morgan Schneiderlin is pedestrian in central midfield and Theo Walcott has had more disappointments than successes in two years at the club. The whole spine needs reinforcing from front to back, particularly up front where the Toffees have scored 24 goals in 21 Premier League matches. And Ancelotti needs not only quality but leaders too.
Improve the players he has inherited
If the Toffees boss is looking for inspiration he does not have to cast his gaze very far. Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp has spent money on his squad but he was also prepared to work with existing players to make them better and many have flourished or been rejuvenated under his leadership. Ancelotti needs Mina to take control at the back, find a way how to get academy graduate Tom Davies back to his best driving from midfield, make Richarlison and Bernard operate at a consistently higher level and get more goals into Dominic Calvert-Lewin and any goal into summer signing Moise Kean, the highly rated former Juventus forward who has not even looked like scoring in his 20 appearances so far. That will reduce some of the major surgery required, although there is undoubtedly still the need for fresh blood.
Rediscover an identity and settle on a style
The players are playing under their third manager in a month so it is no wonder there is a lack of cohesion. They have gone from Marco Silva’s patient-but-not-penetrative possession in a 4-2-3-1 to the blood and thunder of caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson’s 4-4-2 and are now on Ancelotti’s measured, organised but more tactically challenging changing formations. The Italian is, as his pedigree warrants, asking more of the players and they are undergoing a recalibration process. How many Ancelotti can get on board – and how quickly – will be pivotal to the foundations he can lay down in half a season which has now been reduced to effectively chasing eighth place.
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