As Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Goodison Park after agreeing to be Everton’s new manager and walked through the tunnel in December, he was back at the scene of his Chelsea sacking nine years previously.
On Sunday, he returns to Stamford Bridge where he won the Premier League title in 2010 as part of the double that season. Playing some of the best football seen at the west London club, he won in style and returns with the respect of fans despite his premature dismissal.
Now, he leads the Royal Blues with the intention of doing the same. Chelsea were certainly more established having won the title and yes, the division has changed over the last decade but Ancelotti’s experience in England will aid the Toffees as they look to follow in the capital club’s footsteps. They, too, want to win in style.
With big financial backing from owner Farhad Moshiri, they have made mistakes but with Ancelotti’s experience fans are confident they can start to get things right. The Italian, as proved with Chelsea, delivers. Reaching the top took just one season when he was at Stamford Bridge while he also delivered an FA Cup. While it will take longer for Everton to get back among the top clubs in the country, Ancelotti believes it will happen sooner rather than later and, boy, if he could deliver a trophy after a 25-year drought it would be huge.
“I am sure this club has that ambition,” he told Jamie Carragher for The Telegraph. “The owner wants to be at the top. That is for sure.
“The idea is clear. I do not know how long it will take, but it will not take long. The spine of the squad is competitive. I do not know what the target will be this season, but next season we have to fight for the top four.”
Ancelotti could depend on Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard to carry out his instructions on the way to winning the title in 2010. Though he has fewer quality, ‘ready-made’ winners at Everton, he has the magic touch to develop every member of the squad.
Florent Malouda, speaking to Chelsea’s official website this week, revealed of his time under Ancelotti: “Year after year I improved, but that season I got to a whole different level. It was like I was restricted to a role and then Carlo opened up the doors for me, so I took more responsibility and people were like: ‘wow, he is able to do it’.
“Carlo is someone who will find a way to improve a team however good they are. It was the same for individuals. He managed to get the best out of us. He gave me a lot.”
Personable and approachable, players love to work for him and thrive under his tutelage and for many at Everton, they have never played under such a giant figure in the game. Already names like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are kicking on. Their games have gone up another level in the few short months he has been at Everton, the mentality is changing.
Ancelotti’s impact may not deliver a Premier League title in one season, but if he can already claim a rare Toffees win at Chelsea, it would be a massive step forward.