Carlo Ancelotti declared "the moment is good" for Everton after Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a hat-trick and James Rodriguez dazzled again in a 5-2 win over West Brom. 

The former Milan and Real Madrid boss suggested his team were slightly flattered by their winning margin, after a red card for West Brom's Kieran Gibbs helped the hosts' cause. 

But Everton have six points from six so far this season - they launched their campaign with victory at Tottenham - and the signs point to them improving significantly on last season's 12th-place finish. 

Ancelotti told BT Sport he was delighted by the partnership of Calvert-Lewin and Brazil forward Richarlison, adding that James, tucked in behind that pair, is "doing really well in this period" after his arrival from Real Madrid. 

"I have seen more ambition, more motivation, more focus, so at the moment the moment is good, but we have to pay attention because every game can be difficult," the Italian said. 

James is impressing in the early stages of his Everton career, scoring the second goal against West Brom, and Ancelotti said: "He makes football easy. He's started really well. I'm really happy for this. 

"He still has a fantastic desire to play and he loves to play with us." 

Ancelotti suggested it was prudent to "look inside the performance", saying that Everton's defensive levels did not match their attacking threat. 

Calvert-Lewin was key to the front players clicking, with the forward celebrating his first hat-trick as a professional. 

"You look at the quality we've got on the ball now," Calvert-Lewin said. "It was important we utilised it with the extra man and I think we did. 

"We created space and we penetrated when we needed to and created chances, and I was obviously happy to be in the box to tap it in." 

He revealed Ancelotti has been pushing hard on the training ground to find small improvements, and the marginal gains are paying off. 

"He's on me every day for one-touch finishes and being in the box, being in the right areas to put the ball in the back of the net," said the 23-year-old. 

"Thankfully today I was, and it's nice to know what I'm working on in training is coming off on the pitch. That's the biggest reward really." 

Carlo Ancelotti is not concerned by new signing James Rodriguez's lack of pace and physicality, joking he would have signed sprinter Usain Bolt instead if that was a priority.

The Colombia playmaker impressed for Everton in Sunday's 1-0 win over Tottenham alongside fellow debutants Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

James played five key passes, more than any other player on the field at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and also topped the charts with four interceptions.

Asked after the game if he was worried James needs time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, Ancelotti quipped eight-time Olympic gold medallist who dabbled with football in retirement would have been on his radar if that was the case.

"I am not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about that I would sign Usain Bolt, not James," he told Sky Sports.

"James is not the fastest player in the world but he has a lot of quality. We have to use him to show his quality. 

"He is not a winger, but he can come inside and receive the ball, he is very dangerous.

James Rodriguez says he was attracted to Everton by their ambition to win trophies and is aiming to help end the club's long wait for silverware.

The 29-year-old completed a surprise switch to Goodison Park on Monday for a reported fee of  £20million (€22.4m) after falling out of favour at Real Madrid.

He has won an array of team and individual honours, including two Champions Leagues, and was one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup as Colombia reached the quarter-finals.

That is in stark contrast to Everton's recent exploits, the Merseyside club having gone 25 years since beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final for their last major trophy.

However, with midfield pair Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan also being brought in for a reported £42m, James insists Everton can achieve something special under Carlo Ancelotti.

"I've come here to this top club to achieve big things," he said ahead of Sunday's trip to Tottenham.  "I think the club means business.

"A club that's serious about wanting good things to happen. It's got a lot of history and is a big name. I'm here to do well and I think we're able to do that together.

"There's a lot of serious-minded people in the club at all levels who are determined to achieve, and that will mean winning trophies. 

"It won't happen overnight – it's a long-term project. But I've seen signs we can make progress. Trophies are definitely more than a possibility."

Ancelotti played a key part in James' decision to join Everton, with the pair having worked together at Madrid and Bayern Munich.

"He has influenced me a lot. It's great to be back having a chance to work with the manager once again," James said. 

"We enjoyed a great season together in 2014 and got on well as a manager and player. It's been such a good choice to reunite with the manager."

Everton endured another underwhelming campaign last time out, finishing down in 12th place despite a mini revival when Ancelotti replaced Marco Silva in December.

But the veteran Italian coach, who like James boasts a number of major honours, believes he now has a strong enough squad to compete for a place in the top six.

"The goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions in the Premier League, to be able to reach Europe for the next season," he said. 

"The goal is quite clear, we have this desire, this ambition, and I think we can achieve it.

"Our fans want a club and a team that is competitive in the Premier League and so I think that we can satisfy this desire this season and we're going to do our best for this.

"The players that arrived understood that we have a project with ambition for the future. 

"This is also the reason they decided and are happy to come here and be here now. They are going to work to give their best for the club."

Asked if supporters can expect any more arrivals before the window closes next month, Ancelotti said: "With these three signings we did a fantastic job. 

"The market will be closed on October 5. There are going to be some opportunities and we can look for this. But honestly, I'm satisfied with the squad in this moment."

Everton have confirmed the signing of midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti has been busy in the transfer market over the past week, with James Rodriguez and Allan also joining the Merseyside club.

Doucoure has become the latest addition to Ancelotti's squad, as the Italian boss looks to improve on last season's 12th-placed finish.

The 27-year-old French player has signed a three-year contract at Goodison Park, with the club holding an option for a fourth season, joining for a reported fee of £20million plus add-ons.

Doucoure made 37 league appearances for Watford in 2019-20, scoring four goals, though he could not help the Hornets avoid relegation to the Championship.

"I have been waiting a long time to come here and now it has happened so I am very happy," Doucoure told his new club's website.

"I had some interest from other clubs but from the beginning when Everton showed an interest in me I told my agent to focus on Everton.

"It was the only club I wanted to join.

"Everton has a big history in English football and it is a good club for me to have a step up in my career. I am very happy now to be an Everton player and very excited for the future.

"It is an ambitious project here and it was a big part of my decision, having [director of football] Marcel [Brands] and the coach Carlo Ancelotti wanting me."

Doucoure featured 129 times in the Premier League for Watford across four seasons with the club, scoring 17 times.

Everton face Tottenham in north London in their opening match of the new Premier League season on Sunday.

On June 28, 2014, James Rodriguez produced a moment of brilliance to score one of the most iconic goals in World Cup history.

Having taken control of Abel Aguilar's header with his chest, James struck a magnificent left-footed volley on the turn that arrowed beyond the helpless Fernando Muslera to put Colombia 1-0 up against Uruguay.

James helped himself to a second shortly after half-time as Colombia moved into the quarter-finals, only to head out to hosts Brazil in the last eight – the then-Monaco man scoring in that 2-1 defeat was enough to win the tournament's Golden Boot with six goals.

His stellar performances for Colombia aged 22 made up the mind of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who had seen enough to be convinced James was another Galactico in the making.

Sure enough, Madrid signed James less than a month after the round-of-16 tie with Uruguay at the Maracana, with a 45,000-strong crowd in attendance at Santiago Bernabeu during his presentation.

But despite a promising start, he never truly lived up to the billing and, six years later – with two seasons spent on loan at Bayern Munich – he has left the Spanish capital.

Everton is his destination, with Carlo Ancelotti, who coached James during his first seasons at Madrid and Bayern, eager to be reunited with a player who could provide the magic the Toffees need to push for Europe, and possibly trophies, once more. 

Using Opta data for league games, we look at James' path from Galactico to Goodison Park.


From Colombia's poster boy to the Bernabeu bench

James hit the ground running at Madrid under Ancelotti, despite the fact he was rarely utilised in the central role in which he thrived for Colombia. He scored 13 LaLiga goals from 29 appearances – all of them starts – and provided the same number of assists, averaging a goal involvement every 88 minutes.

Following Ancelotti's departure and the appointment of Rafael Benitez ahead of the 2015-16 season, James struggled to make the same impact in his second season, starting just 17 times and making 26 total appearances. He did still score seven times and add eight assists, crafting 61 goalscoring opportunities.

Zinedine Zidane used James sparingly in 2016-17 – his first full season at the helm – with injuries not aiding the Colombian's cause. However, he achieved his best goal-per-game ratio (0.6), scoring eight times and setting up a further six goals.

James finished the season with 11 goals and 12 assists in all competitions.

A stint in the Bundesliga 

Ancelotti signed James for a second time in 2017, with the playmaker moving to Bundesliga giants Bayern on a two-year loan deal with a purchase option included.

James swiftly settled into life in Germany's top flight, making 23 Bundesliga appearances, setting up 11 goals and scoring seven himself, creating 64 chances at a league-leading average of 3.5 per 90 minutes.

Having enjoyed his time under Ancelotti and Jupp Heynckes in his first season at Bayern, James fell down the pecking order when Niko Kovac took charge, only starting 13 times in the league. He still managed seven goals and created an average of four chances per 90 minutes, but only three of those ended in assists and at the end of the campaign Bayern did not take up the purchase option.

Another bite at the apple?

James returned to Madrid, though there was interest from Napoli – then coached by Ancelotti – and Atletico Madrid. A move to either side failed to materialise, however, and he spent much of last season either on the treatment table or the bench, scoring one goal and producing one assist from eight LaLiga appearances.

Ostracised by Zidane, James had one year left on his Madrid contract so the club have cut their losses and agreed a reported £20million (€22.4m) deal with Everton for the 29-year-old.

With a manager he has performed well under in the past in charge at Goodison Park, the Premier League could just be the perfect place for James to rediscover his best form.

Everton, with Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moise Kean, have a promising strike force, yet creating clear-cut chances has been a major issue for the Toffees over the past few seasons. 

In James, they have a player who ranked top in his league for chances created per 90 minutes in every season from 2014 until 2019. If he can stay fit, Colombia's golden boy could well deliver on his 2014 promise.

James Rodriguez has left Real Madrid to join Premier League club Everton on a two-year deal with the option of a third.

Having been deemed surplus to requirements by Zinedine Zidane, James has been reunited with Carlo Ancelotti – who coached him at both Madrid and Bayern Munich – for a reported fee of £20million (€22.4m).

The 29-year-old Colombia attacking midfielder was restricted to just 14 appearances for the LaLiga champions last season, scoring one goal.

James arrives as Everton's second major signing of the transfer window, following the arrival of Allan from Napoli, which was confirmed on Saturday.

Ancelotti will hope the former Porto and Monaco playmaker rediscovers the form he showed in his first season at Madrid, as Everton aim for a drastic improvement on last season's 12th-placed finish.

"I am really, really happy to be at this great club, a club with so much history, and here with a manager who knows me really well," James told 

"I'm looking forward to achieving great things here – and winning things, which is what everyone's aim is.

"I've come here to try to improve, to get better. I've also come here to help the team to win, to play good football – entertaining football. 

"I'm convinced, with Carlo and his technical staff, we can achieve big things and one of the big reasons [I signed] was the presence of Carlo Ancelotti. 

"I have enjoyed some great times with him previously at two different clubs. That was a massive reason to come here."

After a number of stellar performances for Colombia in the 2014 World Cup – in which he won the Golden Boot with six goals, including an extraordinary strike against Uruguay – James joined Madrid in deal reportedly worth €90million.

James, who had joined Monaco from Porto the previous year, signed a six-year deal at Santiago Bernabeu and was given the number 10 shirt.

He enjoyed an impressive debut season with Los Blancos, scoring 13 goals in 29 LaLiga appearances, though he fell out of favour when Zidane took charge and signed for Bayern – then coached by Ancelotti – on a two-year loan in 2017.

James scored seven goals in his first season in the Bundesliga and matched that tally in 2018-19, though Bayern did not take up the option to sign him.

Ancelotti attempted to bring James to Napoli in 2019, but a move ultimately failed to materialise before the Italian was sacked in December.

New Everton signing Allan is one of the best defensive midfielders in world football, according to Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Everton confirmed the signing of Allan from Napoli on Saturday, with the 29-year-old having penned a three-year contract at Goodison Park.

Allan was one of the most consistent performers for the Serie A side under both Maurizio Sarri and Ancelotti, but fell out of favour under Gennaro Gattuso.

Ancelotti was keen to be reunited with the Brazil international – who has made nine appearances for his country – at Everton, and a deal reportedly worth £22.2million (€25m) plus add-ons was struck.

While deals for Real Madrid's James Rodriguez and Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure are thought to be close, Ancelotti has hailed Allan, who watched his new side beat Preston North End 2-0 in a friendly on Saturday, as one of the best players in his position.

"[I am] happy for this," Ancelotti told reporters. "I think that it was not easy to find a deal but, in the end, we were able to do it and I think he will prove to be a fantastic player for us with quality and ability.

"For sure, I have no doubt. He is a player who will show a lot of energy on the pitch. He is very good tactically, good with the ball and good without the ball. He is a fantastic signing for us.

"He is going to put strength in midfield. This is his best quality. For this reason, all the players we have with quality are going to improve for being with him. He is not just a player for himself. He is a player whose energy can make the others better.

"He's very aggressive. Defensively, he is really good. My personal opinion is that he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He is intelligent tactically and he has got a lot of energy. One against one, he is really strong."

Paris Saint-Germain attempted to sign Allan in 2019, when Napoli – then coached by Ancelotti – rejected a reported €60m offer, with the Ligue 1 champions instead signing Idrissa Gueye, a move which left a void in Everton's midfield last season.

"Yes, [PSG] tried to sign him but I didn't want him to leave so he stayed with me," Ancelotti, who was pictured with Colombia star James in a Liverpool hotel on Friday, added. 

"I don't know whether it was [€60m], I'm not focused about the money. There was a deal and I think that Everton are happy to have this deal! Napoli were not happy that they had to let him leave."

Carlo Ancelotti continues to overhaul his Everton squad after the club confirmed the signing of Allan from Napoli on Saturday.

Allan – who struggled for game time under Genarro Gattuso at Napoli – was thought to be a priority signing for Ancelotti in this window, with the Italian keen to be reunited with his former player.

Ancelotti has now got his wish, with Allan, a combative midfielder capped nine times by Brazil, joining Everton on a three-year contract for a reported fee of £22.2million (€25m) plus add-ons.

"It is a real pleasure to sign for Everton. I am immensely happy to be here," Allan told evertontv. "I hope, like I have done in my entire career, I contribute with my performances together with my team-mates and that I put in some great games, great performances and win important things. 

"It is a club with a rich history in the Premier League, has real ambition and then there is Professor Ancelotti. 

"He has done everything possible to bring me here. 

"It is the size of the club and the name of the coach which means you don't think twice about coming to Everton."

The 29-year-old, who made 23 Serie A appearances last season, scoring one goal, is also reportedly set to be joined by Real Madrid's James Rodriguez and Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Allan's arrival, along with the expected additions of James and Doucoure, has cast further doubt over the futures of some of Everton's squad, with the Toffees said to be open to offers for Theo Walcott, Bernard, Fabian Delph and Gylfi Sigurdsson – the club's record signing.

Muhamed Besic, Yannick Bolasie and Sandro Ramirez – who spent last season out on loan – are also for sale.

Everton begin their 2020-21 Premier League campaign at Tottenham on September 13.

Allan will join Everton, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has confirmed.

Brazil international Allan is set to finally depart Napoli in a reported £25million (€27.9m) deal after repeated talk of a move away from the Serie A club in recent years.

A €100m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain was mooted in 2019 when Carlo Ancelotti was in charge of the Partenopei.

But Allan is instead now heading to Merseyside to link up with Ancelotti again at Goodison Park, De Laurentiis says.

He told Radio Kiss Kiss: "We are at the final greetings. Allan will go to Everton."

Allan, 29, joined Napoli from Udinese in 2015 and has since made over 150 Serie A appearances for the club, also winning the Coppa Italia last season.

Everton have also been widely linked with a move for James Rodriguez, another of Ancelotti's former players, from Real Madrid.

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho said he is prepared to break social-distancing rules just so he can hug Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti.

Mourinho's struggling Tottenham will welcome Ancelotti and Everton to London for Monday's Premier League clash.

Spurs boss Mourinho heaped praise on counterpart Ancelotti ahead of the showdown – pitting ninth against 11th in the table – with the Portuguese willing to break coronavirus protocol for his love of the Everton coach.

"I think everyone in football admires Carlo [Ancelotti] as a coach and as a person," Mourinho told reporters.

"If you don't know him as a person at least you know him as a coach. I like him so much as a person that I'm going to say the obvious, which is that he is one of the top managers in the world in the last two decades and of course now.

"I think it's a privilege for the Premier League to have Carlo back. It's a privilege for Everton to have him as their manager or head coach, whatever you want to call him.

"As a person, I've had the privilege of knowing him for a few years, to stay and be with him a few times, at UEFA meetings or other different occasions and I just love Carlo.

"I think he is a fantastic guy so I think I am going to break the rule of one-metre distancing and I'm going to hug him because I like Carlo very much."

Tottenham have only won one of their past nine games across all competitions following Thursday's 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United.

Spurs – Champions League runners-up under former manager Mauricio Pochettino last season – are 12 points adrift of the top four with six matches remaining.

"I believe, but it is also possible that does not happen. And if that does not happen it is not the end of the world. If that does not happen, it is probably the beginning of a new world because things change," Mourinho added.

"Change for you, change for other clubs. The squads they change. The motivations they change, the group dynamic changes. The group that possibly was strong 10 years is ago is not strong anymore. A player that was in the maximum of his motivation is not anymore and vice-versa.

"It is also possible that we don't get into a top-six position. And if that happens of course we have to look at it not smiling, but we have to look at it with optimism and look at it with a professional profile of next season has to be different.

"Because if you analyse Tottenham for example last year, how many matches did Tottenham win away from home? When I arrived I think it was almost a year without an away victory. If it happens [finishing outside of the top six], it happens but we don't want it to happen and we are going to fight for it not to happen."

Jurgen Klopp has built a mighty red machine at Liverpool, and Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he is a fan of the German's achievement.

Liverpool's 30-year wait for an English league title came to an end this week when closest rivals Manchester City ran out of games with which to catch them.

A dominant season by the men from Anfield has seen them secure Premier League glory with a record seven games to spare.

There might be considerable envy from supporters on the blue side of the city, but Ancelotti has only praise for Liverpool and Klopp.

He told Sky Sport Italia: "I have a great relationship with him. We met last week when everything was virtually decided and I congratulated him.

"Klopp is the architect of this success. Not only for this victory in the Premier League, but for everything he's managed to achieve since arriving five years ago.

"With patience, he's succeeded in building a perfect machine."

Ancelotti lives in Crosby, away from the bustle of Liverpool, but reported hearing "a few bangs" after the Reds' long-awaited triumph was confirmed on Thursday.

Although he has Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum as a neighbour, Ancelotti said the Dutchman was out celebrating so not at home.

Everton face a stiff task to close the gap on their local rivals, but the appointment of Ancelotti in December looked a possible watershed moment for them.

He has not yet been able to nudge the Toffees into a European place, but despite sitting 12th in the Premier League they remain in that race, given seventh-placed Tottenham are just four points better off.

"Will Everton be the last team in my career? I don't know," said the former Milan and Real Madrid boss. "But honestly I'd like to make a long-term plan with this club."

It's getting closer, and that's about the best Liverpool can say about the 236th Merseyside derby. 

Yes, they dropped points in the Premier League for just the third time this season, but Liverpool always draw at Everton. It's seven times in the last eight meetings in the competition now that the Goodison game has ended in stalemate. 

That elusive Premier League trophy is nevertheless edging its way towards Anfield, and that means this latest visit across Stanley Park can be chalked up as a successful mission. 

Had Dominic Calvert-Lewin converted the chances that came his way in the second half, or Tom Davies buried a glorious match-winning opportunity, then the elbow bump followed by an attempted bear hug from Carlo Ancelotti for Jurgen Klopp at the final whistle might not have been so gladly received. 

For Everton were Liverpool's equals in this first match back for both sides since the league was suspended in March, and that should provide cheer for those on the blue side of the city fence. 

Klopp's Reds, whose lead over Manchester City has been clipped slightly to 23 points and could drop to 20 when Pep Guardiola's men face Burnley on Monday, ought to have nothing to worry about. 

They, as much as Everton, could have won this game, which was not a classic by any means. They rarely are: with tempers raging and tackles flying in, football can come second to animosity and score-settling in the derby. 

But unusually this was tepid, akin to pre-season fodder, one to chalk off probably as a settler for the rest of the games that will rush by over the next five weeks. 

The coronavirus effect on football has inevitably cast a dampener on Liverpool's special campaign, and empty seats at the home of their rivals were a sorry sight. 

Everton and Liverpool have not traditionally done social distancing particularly well, with Goodison Park and Anfield being uncomfortably close. 

The boys in blue have been in their neighbours' shadow for the past 35 years too, and seeing Liverpool carry off the title this season will sting. 

Yet in the league table, these teams have unmistakably been keeping their distance from one another this season. 

Everton began the game with just 37 points, a full 45 fewer than Liverpool, the greatest gulf between the sides for a Merseyside league derby in their histories. 

For a while, the contest was a great advert for a points-per-game resolution and an abandonment of the campaign - the resolution many of those without an eye on football's finances have thought wise all along. 

But then came the flashes of excitement you remember from when football stadiums were packed, and supporters would chide one breath, cheer the next, and when players would respond and the energy would grow, sending the temperature of these occasions soaring. 

Roberto Firmino burst forward and drove his shot wide, Trent Alexander-Arnold went for goal with a free-kick from 35 yards that could have embarrassed Jordan Pickford, and then Liverpool lost James Milner to an apparent hamstring problem, a dose of first-day-back-at-school glumness for the midfielder and Klopp. 

Naby Keita shot just off target after a neat one-two with Firmino before Everton began to hog the chances, Richarlison squandering a big opening when he blazed high and wide of Alisson's goal, his composure still in lockdown. 

Calvert-Lewin almost made the breakthrough when he produced a delicate backheeled flick to divert Richarlison's cross from the left towards goal. 

Alisson made the save but the ball still reached Davies at the far post, the 21-year-old seeing derby glory before him but sending his shot against the foot of the left post. 

Calvert-Lewin headed wide for Ancelotti's men moments later, with the visitors clinging on. 

Liverpool might be about to anti-climax their way through the final leg to glory, but glory all the same is surely still coming. 

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has suffered a blow to his plans for the return of the Premier League after former Barcelona defender Yerry Mina suffered a quad muscle injury.

Mina has been a regular at centre-back this season, appearing in 25 of Everton's 29 top-flight games and scoring twice.

However, there appears little prospect of him being available when the league resumes later this month.

His club stated on their website: "Everton Football Club can confirm Yerry Mina is set to be sidelined for several weeks after sustaining a muscle injury.

"A scan confirmed the Colombia international suffered a partial tear in his left quad muscle during training last week.

"The 25-year-old is now in the early stages of his rehabilitation under the care of the club's medical staff and making good progress."

Mina was an eye-catching €30million signing from Barcelona in August 2018, just weeks after scoring three goals for his country in the World Cup.

The 2019-20 Premier League season is due to return from a three-month coronavirus suspension when two games are played on Wednesday, June 17, followed by a full programme of weekend fixtures.

Everton sat 12th in the Premier League when the season was halted, six points behind sixth-placed Wolves.

News of Mina's injury comes after last week's setback to Everton, that saw midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin suffer a severe Achilles injury in training that will keep him out for the rest of the season.

Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes John Terry will impress as a manager in the same way Frank Lampard has done at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard, who like Terry played under Ancelotti when he was in charge of the Blues between 2009 and 2011, has won praise for his stewardship of a young Chelsea squad this season.

Fellow club legend Terry, presently assistant manager Aston Villa, has also been backed to deliver in a top job by the Italian.

Asked about the success of Lampard, Ancelotti told Sky Sports: "I'm not surprised because as a player, Frank had fantastic tactical qualities. 

"Of course, Frank is doing really well at Chelsea. I'm waiting now for Terry as a manager.

"Now he is an assistant, but I think they both have the qualities to be a good manager."

Ancelotti feels it is easy to forget the quality of the team he had at Chelsea, with his side earning the club's maiden Premier League and FA Cup double in his first year at the helm.

"The second year was more difficult, but the first year was really fantastic," said Ancelotti, now in charge of Everton.

"The club had the goal for the Champions League, but the fact that in the first year we won the Premier League and the FA Cup was really important and really exciting.

"The second year we had some problems. We had [Didier] Drogba with malaria and these kinds of problems. We started really well and we finished really well but the middle of the season was not so good.

"Drogba was fantastic. In the first year, he scored 36 goals but to mention Drogba means to forget [Nicolas] Anelka, for example.

"[We had Florent] Malouda, Joe Cole, [Salomon] Kalou, Michael Ballack in the middle, [Michael] Essien, Deco and at the back, Alex, [Branislav] Ivanovic, Ashley Cole.

"So the team really, really was a fantastic team. When I arrived, the team was there, I didn't build the team, so I was really excited to train these kinds of players with this kind of power. 

"Imagine when you needed to prepare set-pieces, you had John Terry, Alex, Drogba, Ballack to jump so it was not so difficult to score on set-pieces."

Carlo Ancelotti says he prefers managing in the Premier League to Serie A and feels Everton could be competitive at the top of the table soon.

Nine years after his Milan exit, Ancelotti had a spell back in his native Italy with Napoli between May 2018 and December 2019.

But he then returned to England with Everton, a move that reminded the former Chelsea boss why he prefers the Premier League.

"It is more enjoyable [managing in the Premier League], definitely," Ancelotti said to Sky Sports. "There is less pressure here from the supporters and the atmosphere is better in England.

"I came back to Italy after nine years and it didn't change a lot, the pressure is the same and with the supporters, there is a lot of violence. 

"Italian football is trying to change but it is not easy to change the culture of a country where unfortunately there is still violence and assault.

"Here in England, the people in the stadium, and I'm talking about only in the stadium, are more respectful.

"[After leaving Bayern Munich] first of all I wanted to come back to Italy. I had an experience at Napoli and it was a good experience there.

"But if I had to choose a league, I wanted to come back to the Premier League for the atmosphere you feel here and the atmosphere the Premier League has."

Everton were sitting 12th in the table when the coronavirus crisis halted Premier League action.

But Ancelotti, who signed a four-and-a-half-year deal upon his appointment, has ambitions of seeing his side compete with the likes of city rivals Liverpool and his old club Chelsea in the near future.

"The fact I had the opportunity to come to Everton was really important," he said.

"Everton is a club with a fantastic history, fantastic tradition and they have a goal to be at the top. We are trying to, if we are able after the COVID [shutdown], we will try to do our best.

"I think everyone in the club is working to try to be at the top soon. Of course, there is a lot of competition here in the Premier League but I think we have a possibility. 

"We have a good goal, we are building a new stadium so we know that behind us is fantastic supporters and fans that help us to be motivated. I think soon, we can be competitive."

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