Everyone at Everton Football Club is smiling again. Grey skies shrouded Goodison Park for much of the 2010s as hope and optimism was extinguished season after season as manager after manager was shown the exit door. Now though, there is cause for real positivity thanks to Carlo Ancelotti.
A man of extreme pedigree, his knowledge, sereneness and calm has proved just the tonic. Everton are one of the form sides in the table with 14 points from Ancelotti’s first seven games in charge. With huge work to be done, performances have been far from perfect but he has got a tune out of the team to get results.
Last Saturday, at Watford, the Toffees came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time in 776 days. The Italian has given his players belief and confidence. Merely playing for the former Milan, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich coach will make many of these Everton players feel a foot taller when they go out onto the pitch.
Ancelotti is the real deal when it comes to tactics and nous but it is his personality which is really shining through and aiding the Blues recovery. “We are getting better every day and working with this manager is brilliant,” defender Yerry Mina, who stole the show with two goals and some stunningly choreographed celebrations at Vicarage Road, told evertonfc.com.
“Carlo Ancelotti is a top manager and coach and a good friend. He is with the players all the time and always smiling. This is special because if you have any issues, you can tell Carlo. It is important that you can express yourself.
“Carlo is approachable and you can speak with him in his office to find solutions for anything. We are a good team and a family. We have to stay together to continue improving and achieving good results.”
It is that togetherness which has seen an upturn in results and a serious chance of European qualification come May.
Playmaker Bernard, who has put in some stunning displays this year, recently spoke in equally glowing terms about the coach.
"I am really happy with my performances and that I have been able to help the team. Part of that [reason for his influence] is the freedom Carlo Ancelotti has given me to play,” the Brazilian told the Liverpool Echo. “Now it is a process of development and understanding what the coach wants from you, evolving and developing day-to-day.
"What the manager has asked from me is to look to find spaces between the defensive lines. I have been able to find this space, receive the ball and turn around and play it quickly. The freedom Carlo has given me is enabling me to find these spaces. And the process of learning under Carlo has been very quick because I played in that role previously.”
It seems even Ancelotti’s sense of humour has had a positive impact. Theo Walcott had not found the net all season but managed to get the winner at Watford. It was thanks to his new boss.
“Before the game, Carlo said to me, ‘Theo, you are allowed to score goals’,” the forward told the official Everton website. “It made me laugh and relaxed me. I told him I was waiting for his permission to score.”
Ancelotti will allow Everton to thrive.
Brotherhood of Blues. 💯