Carlo Ancelotti has said he is lucky to manage two young strikers in Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who “have it all in their hands”.
The Everton forwards have been integral to their club’s pursuit of Champions League qualification, which faces a significant test away at top four rivals Chelsea on Monday. Richarlison has scored six goals in his last six appearances, including the winner in consecutive 1-0 wins over Southampton and West Brom, while Calvert-Lewin ha 20 goals for club and country this season.
Ancelotti has described the Brazil international as “the complete striker” and potentially one of the best in Europe. And he believes both 23-year-olds will continue to improve with Everton.
“We have two fantastic strikers,” said the Everton manager. “They are really young, they can improve. They combine well together. They have different characteristics. It’s not easy to find these kinds of strikers so I am really pleased to be their manager. They have it all in their hands, because they are modern strikers in my opinion who have everything. They are strong, they are fast, they are good without the ball. We couldn’t ask for more. I am a lucky man.”
Ancelotti endured the joint-heaviest defeat of his managerial career with last season’s 4-0 reverse at Stamford Bridge but, exactly one year on, Everton return having won nine of 13 Premier League away games this term.
The former Chelsea manager said: “We are better now. We have more knowledge and more belief in what we are doing. We can compete against Chelsea. It will be difficult, we know, because they are a fantastic team, but we can compete.
“What is important is the desire we have all together to fight for that [top four] position. The ambition that we are able to keep together at a high level, that can be the key point. Of course you also need sacrifice and good performances â€” and results.”
Ancelotti confirmed he included Allan and Gylfi Sigurdsson on the bench against Albion in order to keep the pair fresh for Chelsea, although James Rodriguez remains an injury doubt.