Ancelotti enjoys ‘special day’ as he makes winning start at Everton
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton managerial debut was a “special day” after a late Dominic Calvert-Lewin header secured a 1-0 victory over Burnley to ensure he got off to a winning start.
The Italian was in the Goodison Park dugout for the first time having been appointed on Saturday.
He took over from caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, who had overseen five points from this three matches in charge, and while this game had none of that energy and fight, Ancelotti was happy enough.
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“I think the spirit of the team was good. It was a special game with a lot of long balls but I think we defended well,” he said.
“After that we tried to do some combinations in front but we were a little bit slow from the back in the first half.
“In the end the performance was good – not top but a good performance.
“For me today the reception here at Goodison Park was a special day, absolutely.”
Ancelotti had little time to work with his new players but he was able to make a couple of tactical tweaks and playing defender Djibril Sidibe in an advanced position to allow Seamus Coleman to return at right-back paid off as the Frenchman provided the cross for the goal.
“Offensively he stayed wide, defensively he was working in the line of the midfielders,” added Ancelotti.
“The shape 4-4-2 defensively didn’t change but when we started to build up it was with Coleman a little bit back and Sidibe more forward and it worked well because he put in the cross for Calvert-Lewin to score.”
Ancelotti also praised the goalscorer, who now has eight for the season after three goals in his last five games.
He said: “He is a fantastic striker in my opinion, strong with the head. Where he can improve – and where he has to improve – is when we have the ball: he has to be more focused on the goal.
“He is really generous so he moves up and down, right and left, he has to be more focused on the goal.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche bemoaned the one mistake – when Dwight McNeil lost possession out on the touchline to allow Sidibe to cross – for costing them a point at Goodison.
“I was happy overall with the game plan because we thought with a new manager and a reaction from the crowd they might come out on the front foot more,” he said.
“I thought the shape was good without getting as much shape in the game as we wanted and second half we tried to come out and affect it but we couldn’t find the margins needed, the bit that turns you the corner and allows you the chance to win the game.
“Unfortunately we made a mistake playing ‘inside’ football when we could play for position not possession. It is a detail within a game of tight margins.”