Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

Ancelotti plays down title

Everton have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season which sees them sit second in the Premier League table. Despite a small dip where they only won one game in seven, Carlo Ancelotti and his team have managed to recover and have now won four league games in a row.

Being second in the table, naturally, there have been questions as to the possibility of a title challenge from the Toffees. However, Ancelotti has been quick to play down these claims saying that the club are very focused to achieve their target of qualifying for European football next season.

“No, I think realistically, we have to say no. We are really pleased to be where we are, but I think that our target hasn’t changed. There’s a lot of competition in the Premier League and a lot of fantastic teams. We’re happy to be second, but our target is to play in Europe next season. That hasn’t changed,” he said.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates with teammate Richarlison after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on December 05, 2020 in Burnley, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates with teammate Richarlison after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on December 05, 2020 in Burnley, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We have to be honest with ourselves; we’re not of the same level as some of the teams. We would like to be as soon as possible, and we’re working towards this, but if you ask me today I would say we have to be honest about it. After one year, we have progressed really well and we would like to improve further next season.”

The success of the side has been much down to both their signings and the performances of the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton brought in James Rodriguez, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey during the summer window and the signings have been a big success ever since their arrival.

If Everton do hope of achieving European football next season, these signings and their star striker will need to continue this rich vein of form.

Digne expected back in January

What has been one of the more miraculous achievements considering where Everton sit in the table is the structure of their defence. Ancelotti has been forced to play four centre-backs across the backline with Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate playing as unorthodox left and right backs.

Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne have faced fitness issues throughout the season but the Frenchman is reportedly closing in on a return than earlier expected. Thinking ahead of Everton’s match with Manchester City, the Italian coach confirmed he has been surprised about the speed of the Frenchman’s recovery.

“Lucas Digne [should be back] at the end of January. Ge’s progressing really well and he’s starting individual sessions and we’re really surprised about his recovery,” said Ancelotti.

Carlo Ancelotti plays down Everton’s title bid ahead of Manchester City clash / Digne expected back in January

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Lucas Digne of Everton receives medical treatment during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton FC at Old Trafford on December 15, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

With the January window approaching, it may be likely that Everton look to pursue a possible full-back signing who could even play on either flank. Everton fans should be encouraged by the positive signs of the previous window in their hope of further additions in the coming weeks.

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Manchester United FC 17 10 36
2 Leicester City FC 18 12 35
3 Liverpool FC 17 16 33
4 Tottenham Hotspur FC 18 16 33
5 Manchester City FC 16 12 32
6 Everton FC 17 7 32
7 Chelsea FC 18 12 29
8 Southampton FC 18 5 29
9 West Ham United FC 18 4 29
10 Aston Villa FC 15 13 26
11 Arsenal FC 18 1 24
12 Leeds United 18 -4 23
13 Crystal Palace FC 18 -7 23
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 19 -8 22
15 Newcastle United FC 17 -9 19
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 19 -7 17
17 Burnley FC 17 -13 16
18 Fulham FC 17 -11 12
19 West Bromwich Albion 18 -27 11
20 Sheffield United FC 19 -22 5
Premier League 20/21
Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 13
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 12
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 11
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 11
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 10
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 8
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 8
Rashford, Marcus Manchester United FC 7
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 7
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 7
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Abraham, Tammy Chelsea FC 6
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Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 5
Maddison, James Leicester City FC 5