Ancelotti urges ‘fantastic’ Calvert-Lewin to keep eyes on the prize

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was indebted to Dominic Calvert-Lewin for getting his reign off to a winning start – but the Italian has nevertheless outlined the areas where the striker must improve.

The 22-year-old’s diving header 10 minutes from time settled a fairly dull game at home to Burnley, a 1-0 win which highlighted the Toffees’ lack of a cutting edge despite them dominating possession.

It was his eighth goal of the season, with only two arriving across his previous eight matches.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored Everton's winner on Boxing Day
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored Everton’s winner on Boxing Day (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“He is a fantastic striker in my opinion, strong with the head,” said Ancelotti after three points lifted them to 13th in the table, seven points behind sixth-placed Sheffield United.

“Where he can improve, and where he has to improve, is when we have the ball – he has to be more focused on the goal.

“He is really generous so he moves up and down, right and left, he has to be more focused.”

Nevertheless the former Chelsea boss was able to reflect on a “special day” after making his Premier League return.

He took over from caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, who had claimed five points from his three matches in charge, and while this game had none of that energy and fight the Italian was happy enough.

“I think the spirit of the team was good. It was a special game with a lot of long balls but I think we defended well,” he added.

“After that we tried to do some combinations in front but we were a little bit slow from the back in the first half.

“In the end the performance was good – not top but a good performance.

“For me the reception here at Goodison Park was a special day, absolutely.”

Burnley boss Sean Dyche bemoaned the one mistake – when Dwight McNeil lost possession out on the touchline to allow Djibril Sidibe to cross for the goal – for costing them a point at Goodison.

Ancelotti shakes hands with Burnley manager Sean Dyche at full-time
Ancelotti shakes hands with Burnley manager Sean Dyche at full-time (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“I was happy overall with the game plan because we thought with a new manager and a reaction from the crowd they might come out on the front foot more,” he said.

“But we couldn’t find the margins needed, the bit that turns you the corner and allows you the chance to win the game.

“Unfortunately we made a mistake playing ‘inside’ football when we could play for position not possession. It is a detail within a game of tight margins.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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