London (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti says Everton “are going to change next season”, beginning with turning round their dreadful home form having lost nine times at Goodison Park this term.
Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by bottom-placed Sheffield United summed up their home woes which all but ended their hopes of qualifying for European competition next season.
They probably need to win their remaining two matches to have a chance, one of which is away to champions Manchester City on the final day of the season.
Everton are eighth, three points behind Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham with a vastly inferior goal difference.
The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Everton’s season is reflected in 11 wins away from home — their most in a top-flight campaign since 1984-85, when they won the title.
However, the nine home defeats is the most at Goodison since 1993-94, when they were almost relegated.
“For next season, we are going to change,” Ancelotti told the BBC.
“We have to analyse the season. Certain aspects are really good — away we did fantastic results, at home really bad.
Ancelotti’s name has been mentioned in returning to coach Real Madrid should Zinedine Zidane step down.
However, the 61-year-old Italian had his eyes focused on how he would shape the Everton squad for next season.
“To be ready for Europe, you have to be in Europe,” he said.
“We have to try to win the two games and see if we are in Europe or not.
“If we are, we will build a squad to be in Europe.
“If we’re not, we’ll build a squad to be better in the Premier League.”
Ancelotti’s ambitions were rather bigger when Everton went second in late December after beating Sheffield United putting them in with a great chance of Champions League football.
He is at a loss as to why their home form has dashed those dreams — the six points they have garnered in 2021 are the second worst with only relegated Fulham having a worse record.
“We played so bad, I am really embarrassed,” said Ancelotti.
“I have to take responsibility for this but I hope the players do too.
“The next one (home to Wolves on Wednesday) we will have fans and maybe they can help us wake up.
“It’s difficult to say (why Everton are better away).
“When we tried to put quality and build from the back we have more difficulties.
“We are more comfortable when we play direct but that is not the best style of play.”