A draw at Crystal Palace this weekend would ensure the Blues hold top spot for at least a day. Remarkably, before this campaign began, it had been 13 years since Everton had felt this feeling.
In August 2007, they also beat Spurs to climb to the top of the division for eight days, with a squad of eight Englishmen and a robust stoicism underpinning much of the early years of the David Moyes era.
This time around, things are decidedly different. There’s a Latin flair in the form of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez and his less flamboyant but equally well-regarded South American Brazilian international Allan.
Add to the mix Allan Seleção’s teammates Richarlison and Bernard, and another Colombian in Yerry Mina, as well as the Portuguese thoroughbred Andre Gomes, and the mercurial Latin influence in the Blues team is just as unpredictable. that exciting.
According to Ancelotti, this was one of the factors behind the turnaround he saw in a team that was in a desperate state upon arrival. An important factor – but not the only one.
“There is a feeling of well-being in the team, yes,” he explained. “We started the season with more motivation and more ambition.
“Signings make a difference, of course. This may be one of the reasons. But I don’t think that’s the only reason – we started so well because of (several) reasons.
“But I see a different motivation, a different attitude, a different atmosphere on the training ground and on the pitch. A different atmosphere on the pitch when we train.
Ancelotti did not specify it explicitly, but the transformation was as much in the mentality as in the quality.
Upon arrival, Everton were swaying dangerously close to the relegation zone, with a team not only visibly lacking in confidence but also a clear understanding of what previous manager Marco Silva wanted.
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There was no obvious philosophy in his team, no obvious technical or tactical plan. Ancelotti recognized it and responded to it immediately.
He knew he couldn’t restore confidence immediately, so instead he imposed structure and organization on the roster, adopting his favorite 4-4-2 to allow players to quickly grasp his demands.
It wasn’t always pretty, but apart from a dip at the end of the campaign when there was nothing to play, there was a real improvement in the results… and with his attitude.
“Last season was really difficult for us, really very difficult at the start when I arrived; the end: so hard to do, ”he suggested.
“And maybe the motivation is because we don’t want to have the same difficulties and the same bad times this season. We want a different feel – and right now the feel is good, the confidence is good, the momentum is good.
The challenge, of course, is to maintain it. In 2007 Moyes did this with a great end-of-season run that took Everton to fifth place, and thus came close to delivering their second shot in the Champions League.
Ancelotti has been clear this season: they must aim for the top, offer the minimum of a European place. But in order to do that, the Italian demands one thing from a team that doesn’t have the greatest depth.
“Consistency,” he said emphatically. “We need consistency to win games like tomorrow’s, which is a tough away game. The first two tests, against Tottenham and West Bromwich, were very good, and we always have to take them with us.
It’s early, but if a manager can deliver that, then it’s Ancelotti.