Carlo Ancelotti insists second-placed Everton are not ‘realistically’ title challengers despite the club’s impressive start to the Premier League season.
Everton have climbed back up to second in the division following a strong run of form over the festive period, the club’s Boxing Day victory at Sheffield United making it four consecutive league wins for Ancelotti’s in-form side.
The Toffees will be seeking a fifth league win in succession when they host Manchester City at Goodison Park this evening, but ahead of the clash Ancelotti has been keen to downplay talk of a potential title challenge.
The Italian insists his side’s focus remains on securing a place in Europe for next season and not the prospect of a first league title in 34 years arriving on the blue half of Merseyside.
“No,” he told the media when asked if Everton can challenge for the title. “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.”
Everton will once again be without both Richarlison and James Rodriguez for the clash with City, with the former continuing his recovery from a clash of heads and the latter remaining sidelined with a calf problem.
Allan will also be absent with a hamstring injury, whilst Lucas Digne remains on the medium-term absentee list and is not expected to return until late next month.