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‘We didn’t think we’d be second!’ – Ancelotti determined to keep Everton near the top of the table as Man City clash looms



The Italian admits that his first full season at Goodison Park has exceeded his expectations, vowing to remain firmly in the top four hunt this term

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted that he did not expect his side to be second at this point in the season but, now that the Toffees are, he expects them to push on for a strong finish.

With Saturday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, the Merseyside outfit moved up to second in the table for the time being, behind only local rivals Liverpool in the Premier League.

Everton have earned points from each of their last five matches, having only dropped points in a 1-1 draw with Burnley on December 5.

That run has seen them make a push up the table, although they have played one more match than Manchester United and Manchester City, the latter of whom they will face on Monday.

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Since 2010-11, only half-a-dozen sides have managed to break the monopoly of the big six, including Everton’s 2012-13 and 2013-14 under David Moyes and Roberto Martinez respectively.

And Ancelotti, in his first full season as Toffees manager, is hoping to make that breakthrough himself even if it may come sooner than he previously anticipated.

“We were patient,” the Italian told his post-match press conference after taking down Sheffield United. “We were in the game and stayed in the game most times, we defended pretty well and we found the right opportunity to score a goal.

“Every game is really difficult, complicated. Sheffield United are a good team, we are really pleased to be second. We didn’t expect that at the start of the season but we are there and we want to stay there.

“The squad we have is good. We have a lot of important players out. With these players back we can still have a really good season, we don’t have to think about the transfer window in January.

“We are there, we are pleased to be there but we don’t have a lot of time to think about it. We have another game in two days, we push.”

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Everton were lifted by a late goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson, who fired an 80th-minute winner to seal all three points for the visitors.

Deployed in a more defensive role, Sigurdsson admitted that he was surprised to get the goal, although he was thrilled with his contribution.

“The gaffer moved me to defensive midfielder so I’m not sure what I was doing in the box for the goal,” Sigurdsson said.

“We needed to get three points, we knew it would be tough coming here. I think they have been quite unlucky this season, they have been in a lot of games where they have lost by the one goal so they are not a bad team.

“It is still early on, things change very quickly in this league. We had a fantastic start and then had a few games where we dropped off but we’ve picked back up now. Hopefully, we can continue through January now.”

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