Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti takes the positives out of postponement

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti admits the postponement of Monday’s match against Manchester City could be an advantage for the Toffees when they host West Ham on New Year’s Day.

While the Hammers were in action on Sunday and then again on Tuesday, Ancelotti’s men head into the contest having not played since Boxing Day.

The Italian said at a press conference on Wednesday: “The fact that we didn’t play against City, we can have fresh legs against West Ham. It can be for that reason an advantage.

“The preparation for the game was good, and we have still two days for the next game. I hope we are ready.”

Monday’s game was postponed due to positive coronavirus cases at City – the club said “a number” had been returned to add to the four, which included Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus, already announced on Christmas Day.

Confirmation of the postponement came just four hours before the game had been scheduled to kick off. Everton said they would be “requesting full disclosure of all the information that Manchester City provided to the Premier League so the club can be clear on why this decision was taken.”

Asked on Wednesday about the postponement, Ancelotti said: “I think everyone is disappointed we didn’t play the game – I think also Manchester City were disappointed.

“Unfortunately they had (a) problem, the Premier League decided to postpone the game, we have followed the decision and we move forward to the next game.

“We didn’t receive yet the further information but I think soon we are going to have this.

Manchester City v Everton – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City v Everton – Premier League – Etihad Stadium

“The announcement was four hours (before kick-off), we were at the hotel, but I think it doesn’t matter… Also early, it doesn’t change the situation. The situation was quite clear and so we move forward.”

Ancelotti was also on Wednesday asked where he stood with regard to the suggestion that, with positive test numbers on the rise, football should take a break.

A report in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday said representatives of some Premier League clubs had discussed a two-week ‘cooling off’ period next month, and West Brom boss Sam Allardyce that evening said having a “circuit break” was the “right thing”.

Ancelotti said: “I think it is a difficult moment, not for the club, not for football – it is a difficult moment for the country. So I think we have to take care of this, we have to follow the protocols.

“I think not all the people are following the protocol. Not all the people wear the masks, not all the people take social distance. And so I think first of all we have to follow this. After that – I am not in the right position to decide if we have to play or not.

We can confirm that, following the Government’s announcement the Liverpool City Region is moving into Tier Three of the national COVID-19 restrictions from midnight tonight, we won't be able to welcome fans to Goodison until further notice, including Friday's game with West Ham.

— Everton (@Everton) December 30, 2020

“I think the fact football at this moment plays is good for the people, because a lot of supporters unfortunately have to stay home – me too – and the fact to have matches on TV, I think it is good.

“I think the protocol the Premier League put in place is really good. We feel safe in our bubble. But outside, I have to pay attention, like all the normal people have to pay attention.

“I was surprised yesterday, I was walking and not a lot of people wear the mask.”

Ancelotti was speaking shortly before the Government announced the Liverpool City Region was moving into Tier 3, meaning the West Ham game will now have to be played behind closed doors, having previously had up to 2,000 fans permitted.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti has said Richarlison will be available for the match after missing the Boxing Day win at Sheffield United due to concussion protocol, and that James Rodriguez (calf) remains sidelined.