- ‘It is an exciting challenge and I am involved 100%’
- Manager defends Alex Iwobi after two substitutions
Carlo Ancelotti has said transforming Everton into a Champions League contender would rank as another “fantastic success” in his illustrious managerial career.
The three-times Champions League-winning coach received another reminder of the size of the task he has inherited on Thursday when Everton were outplayed by Southampton. A fortunate draw effectively ended Ancelotti’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League but competing for Champions League qualification remains the long-term target.
“I feel it is a challenge,” the Everton manager said. “But it was a challenge in all the places I have worked. It is an exciting challenge because the project here is really interesting and I am involved in this project 100%. I say it is an exciting challenge because if I am able to bring Everton to fight to compete in the top positions in the Premier League it will be a fantastic success for me.”
Asked whether Everton represented his most difficult managerial assignment, given the gulf in quality between his squad and those he worked with at Milan, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, Ancelotti replied: “Every single year is the most difficult because every single year I had difficulties and I try to work and move on. An important part of your job is to solve problems, and problems are always behind the door.”
Ancelotti’s problems include overhauling a mediocre squad signed at vast expense, and on lucrative long-term contracts, under the majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri. Alex Iwobi is the latest in a long line of costly signings to struggle, scoring twice in 27 appearances since his £35m arrival from Arsenal, but the Italian has given his backing to a winger substituted at half-time in the past two matches.
“I changed him against Tottenham because he had a little problem with his hamstring. Against Southampton I changed him to put more energy on that side and above all to change the system to a line of five. It is true he didn’t score, it’s true that he can do better sometimes but it’s also true that I have a lot of confidence in him.”