‘Nothing is impossible’: Everton’s Carlo Ancelotti targets Anfield FA Cup win

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  • Ancelotti holds first press conference since appointment
    • Everton manager rules out signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Paul Wilson  –  The Guardian

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to end Everton’s poor run of results against Liverpool and wants to be with the club when they open their new stadium at Bramley Moore dock. Photograph: Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti took his seat as the Everton manager with a promise to try to personally beat Liverpool for a second time this season when the sides meet in the FA Cup next month.

As Napoli manager Ancelotti was responsible for one of the few Liverpool defeats this season – September’s 2-0 reverse in the group stage of the Champions League – so he knows how long Everton have waited to win against their neighbours. That run stretches back to October 2010, although it is even longer – September 1999 – since they were victorious at Anfield, but he is hoping to kickstart his reign with a win on 5 January.

“I know how much the supporters of this club want to beat Liverpool and we don’t have long to wait to put the matter to the test,” Ancelotti said. “I would not describe a trip to Anfield as mission impossible, nothing is impossible in football.”

That attitude is exactly what Everton fans want to hear, though Ancelotti’s ambition of taking Everton “into the top positions in the Premier League” may be described as bordering on the unachievable, especially in the four and a half years of his contract.

“I don’t want to change a lot, we only have a couple of days before the first game, but once we have a few matches out of the way I can talk to Marcel Brands [the director of football] about how to improve the squad.

“This season we simply want to be nearer the top of the table than the bottom, though this is an ambitious club and the long term goal is to be competitive in Europe as well as the Premier League.

“We have to try to play attractive football. The fact the club is building a new stadium is a sign they have a clear idea of where they want to be and I’d like to be here when the ground is opened.”

Ancelotti played down the possibility of bringing in the free-agent Zlatan Ibrahimovic as one of his first signings. The striker was with him at Paris Saint-Germain and speculation has persisted he might turn up at Everton for a last hurrah in the Premier League, though at 38 age is against him.

“Zlatan is a good friend of mine, fortunately I have trained a lot of good players,” Ancelotti said. “He has finished his career in the USA and I don’t know what his next idea is, I’ll have to call him. If he wants to come to Liverpool to enjoy the city he can come, but not to play.”

Though Ancelotti is undoubtedly the most successful and famous manager Everton have ever recruited, he is keen to dispel the notion he has worked only with elite clubs. “I managed Parma in Italy and they are not a top team,” he said. “I am attracted to teams with ambition, that was what took me to PSG, and I get the same feeling here.

“Everton want to improve and I want to help them. I want to bring happiness to the supporters. I know there have been a lot of times when this club didn’t win but I am sure we are going to be able to improve quickly.”

He already knows about Everton’s history and passionate support. Not only did his reign at Chelsea come to an end at Goodison Park in 2011 – “I was sacked in one of these corridors, they should put a little plaque on the wall to mark the spot” – but in six games against Everton he lost three and drew the others.

“It is true, I never managed to beat Everton,” he said. “David Moyes was my nightmare. The nearest we came was in the FA Cup but Leighton Baines scored in the last minute. I’m going to remind him of that as soon as I see him.”

 

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