Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti will hope Monday’s 1-0 win over Southampton will serve as a springboard in their attempt to bring Champions League football to Goodison Park next season.
Richarlison scored for the third game in a row in the first 10 minutes to move Carlo Ancelotti’s side two points behind fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.
But, as Everton’s worst home run since 1958 came to an end, the Saints’ pain continued with a single draw and eight losses in their last nine league games, leaving them seven points above the three. last and wondering where their next victory would come from. of.
Then speaking to Sky Sports, Ancelotti said: “To fight for European places we have to improve the circuit, this performance and this victory can help us have a better course at home.
“It will be a dream to be in the top four at the end of the season. We’re pretty close, if we win on Thursday, but it’s a long season – we have to stay within our goal of playing against Europa next season. . “
Everton can advance to Champions League spots if they beat West Brom on Thursday, live Sky Sports.
“We have a great opportunity to be in the top four and I think we would like to touch the position,” Ancelotti added later at his press conference.
“We have to put all our efforts into Thursday’s game to try to be there. There is a real possibility of being in the top four in the next game, to see what it feels like if we are there.
“It’s an opportunity to be there. If we win [against West Brom] we will be in the top four and there will be a big fight until the end of the season.
“We are happy to be able to fight for this position, but that does not change our goal, which is to be in Europe next season.”
Ancelotti believes consistency is the ultimate key to Champions League qualification, but what he could really do is have Richarlison catch fire in the final three months of the season.
His inclined arrival in the ninth minute was only his fifth league goal this season but, since the start of last season, Joao Pedro (30) and Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain (19) are the only Brazilians to score more goals in the top. five European leagues than him.
Playing two-handed with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has 13 league goals this season, Richarlison seized his chance with flying colors.
“Richarlison isn’t doing anything fancy now,” Ancelotti added. “He does his job and he’s a player with that kind of quality. I hope and am sure he will continue.
“Richarlison is a fantastic talent, we have two fantastic forwards with different characteristics.
“When you’re 1-0 the last minutes are always the same, the opposing team put in a lot of power and we had to control. They practically had a chance. Pickford was good in goal, really sure. I’m really. Happy. , honestly. “
“Finishing in the top four?” Everything is possible with Ancelotti ‘
Jamie Carragher from Sky Sports:
“I think Everton might be just short of the top four, maybe the squad is just a little short. But if they want to get into the top four, a lot of it will depend on the record of the manager Carlo Ancelotti.
“Everton’s last two wins have taken his winning percentage to over 50 percent, and no manager has come close to that since Howard Kendall’s first spell.
“He’s Everton’s best manager, which shows the work Ancelotti has done since joining the club. With Ancelotti in charge, anything is possible in terms of the top four.”
Hasenhuttl streets lack of rush
Southampton’s only real opportunity went to Moussa Djenepo in the final 10 minutes – and he soared wide when well placed – but it was a loophole for Everton, who faded away after ruling out a second goal for offside in the middle of the first half.
The Saints also moved closer to a late leveler when Jordan Pickford dived at the feet of Jannik Vestergaard, but the visitors fell to an eighth league loss in their last nine games.
Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “It wasn’t a good start with them scoring on their first chance. It was a long ball and we didn’t defend it well. It was a Richarlison goal with them running from the bottom the same way, he did it against Liverpool and we couldn’t defend him in the same way.
“Since Everton they have had a few set piece chances but not many more. At the moment we just can’t score and that’s our problem.
“We didn’t have that many chances today, and in the final third the last pass to score isn’t here yet. We’re not strong enough. The last two goals we scored were from Minamino but he was outside today.
“In the second half, we tried a lot. I brought three young guys and they did what they could for the time being given the injuries we have right now. The good thing for me is that Stuart [Armstrong] showed me he could play in the six.
“In this position, Oriol (Romeu) is absent for the rest of the season so it gives me a little hope and it helps us.
“We have to work to be lucky and at the moment it’s not there. It was by far one of the best second halves we’ve played in quite some time. Things have to be perfect for that to happen. we can win games. There’s not much. missing I think and that’s what we have to tell the guys. “
Everton travel to face West Brom on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick off is at 6 p.m.
Southampton visit Sheffield United on Saturday, also live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick off is at 3 p.m.