Blues' Mental Strength No Longer in Doubt with Carlo; Ancelotti Appointment Brings about Psychological Shift in Squad

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), October 20, 2020 | Go to article overview

Blues' Mental Strength No Longer in Doubt with Carlo; Ancelotti Appointment Brings about Psychological Shift in Squad


Byline: DAVID ALEXANDER HUGHES

THERE have been questions lingering over the psychological strength of Everton sides for a long time now.

Prior to this season's 1-0 opening day victory away at Tottenham Hotspur, the Blues hadn't won in 40 away matches against a traditional top-six side, and they only ended a run of 35 matches without a win after conceding first last February in a 3-2 victory vs Watford.

Those are just two of the unwanted records that captured Everton's clear psychological struggles across these past few seasons. Perhaps those records could have continued for a side satisfied with midtable mediocrity. However, the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti last season signalled that the club wanted more.

Beyond all of the experience and tactical knowledge that the Italian brought with him to Goodison Park, it was a mentality shift that was perhaps most crucial.

A manager heading into their first full season at a new club who finished 12th in the campaign before could have been forgiven for mooting fairly modest aspirations for the season ahead, focusing on laying foundations whilst securing a top-half finish perhaps.

However, Ancelotti was clear on the eve of the new season that he and his team would be striving for much more.

In the build-up to their opening day fixture away at Spurs, he said: "I want to take more responsibility. The target is clear, we have to fight for the European positions of the Premier League."

Fast-forward five weeks and Everton are sitting top of the Premier League table, undefeated and having won seven of their eight competitive fixtures so far.

A lot of their success to date has been down to commanding displays and starring individual performances. Thanks in no small part to the introduction of summer recruits like Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez, there's a great balance throughout the Everton side, with an equal measure of solidity, guile, flair and firepower all on offer.

Yet despite how strong Everton have been, there have still been testing moments that they have been forced to overcome, such as going behind to opponents. …

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