Carlo Ancelotti says the aim is clear at Everton now he has the summer signings he demanded – the summit of the Premier League.
The experienced Italian manager may shock many with his bold ambition, but he believes he must embrace that pressure and “fight for the first position in the table”.
Ancelotti was promised some big money transfers when he agreed to take the job, and despite a financial crisis in football caused by the Coronavirus restrictions, he got his wish.
And now the former Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and PSG boss says he has to take responsibility to aim high…and deliver the minimum requirement of a European place.
“I wanted a competitive squad and now I have it, so it is absolutely normal that I need to take more responsibility for this and to bring this team to fight for the first position of the table,” he said.
“I have to be honest, the squad is good in my opinion, we reached the target we had in the transfer window so this puts us under more pressure – but this is absolutely normal and also fair.”
The Everton boss faces a tricky opening weekend trip to Spurs to test his new look side, which has been transformed with the signings of James Rodriguez, Brazilian Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
But he believes the club’s summer spending has given him the chance to break into the conversation at the top of the table.
He said: “We did a fantastic job with these signings.
"Honestly, I am satisfied, and I think with it, the goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first position of the Premier League.
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“It is quite clear we have this ambition to fight and I think we can.
"So the target is clear we have to fight for the European position of the Premier League.”
Ancelotti’s bold confidence is inspired by the experience his new signings bring. He fought hard to ensure his Goodison bosses signed Allan, despite the price of around £25m for a 29-year-old.
He was integral to his midfield at Napoli, and he also worked with James – also 29 – at Real Madrid, while Doucoure at 27 will bring four years of Premier League experience to Goodison.
And the Italian said: “I think that we decided with the club to have more experienced players because the age of the squad is young.
“Even with the new players, the average of the squad is still 25.9 so to have more experience in games is really important.”
Ancelotti will wait on a late fitness test for Fabian Delph, but both Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes have been declared fit for the opening fixture.
But Mason Holgate has been ruled out with a toe injury, amid fears it could sideline him for up to a month, making the loan pursuit of Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori more urgent.
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