Carlo Ancelotti has told his table-toppers the time has come to stand up and be counted…and end a hoodoo which has dogged them.
Everton have NEVER won a game when their talisman striker Richarlison has been absent, from the first day the Brazilian arrived at the club.
That depressing sequence was continued at Southampton last weekend, and with the forward banned for two more matches, after a Mersey derby red card, the jinx could knock the Blues off the top of the Premier League pile heading into November.
And now Ancelotti has demanded a response. “I know this statistic on Richarlison, and I can say to two things: That yes, he is a really important player for us, and the club, and second it is time to win to break this statistic.
“It is the time, it really is the time. We have to think like this. Of course Richarlison is an important player.
“But the other possibility is we have to think like this – we have a possibility to replace him well.
“Maybe with a different characteristic, but with good players, so we don’t have to be focussed too much on the fact that Richarlison is not here.
“Digne is not here (James is not here) we still have a good squad.
“And we do our best. We have a possibility to win.”
Ancelotti revealed James Rodriguez will also miss the trip to Newcastle with a problem he first picked up in that bruising Merseyside derby clash.
“James played all the game at Southampton, but he had a little problem going into the game, and so he needs to rest for this game, and will be available for the next game,” the Italian coach explained.
That puts Everton down to the bare bones in their forward line, with striker Moise Kean surprisingly sent out on loan to PSG, despite a lack of numbers up front.
Many Everton fans have assumed that is the last they will see of the Italian international, but Ancelotti is adamant he will come back to Goodison – and return a stronger, better player.
“Yes he will be back with us – this is what the contract says, I think that we decided to allow him to go on loan to play more, but he has an opportunity to play more and show his quality, and he will be back next season for us,” he said.
Ancelotti believes that Everton have a period now where they can strengthen their position in the top four, with most of their rivals playing three times a week with their European commitments, while the Blues missed out on the Europa League.
“It can be an advantage. The top teams have a big, really difficult schedule. I agree we can take advantage on the physical aspect of the work.
“But I think that we did better when we had games every three days!”
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