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'It is an exciting time' - Seamus Coleman backs Ancelotti to deliver at Everton

Irish skipper praises Ancelotti for turning Toffees’ fortunes around since Italian’s December takeover

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Seamus Coleman, in action for Everton against Leicester City last week, has praised the influence of Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park. Photo: Reuters

Seamus Coleman, in action for Everton against Leicester City last week, has praised the influence of Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Seamus Coleman, in action for Everton against Leicester City last week, has praised the influence of Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park. Photo: Reuters

Seamus Coleman is sick of Everton's false dawns. That explains why, amid his obvious enthusiasm for the early promise of Carlo Ancelotti's reign, there is as much caution as excitement.

"I don't want to be having these conversations year after year when you have a decent run of form," Coleman says. "You don't want to be just speaking after a good few games saying, 'Ah, we are doing well'.

"I want us to be consistent. I want the club to be back challenging for Champions League places."

Coleman speaks with the experience of a captain similarly enthused at the start of Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Marco Silva's tenures.

He made a point of stressing his respect for all those coaches - suggesting Silva "worked as hard as any manager I have played for" - while acknowledging that the Ancelotti era feels different.

"Carlo Ancelotti has not put pen to paper on a contract at this club to be with a mid-table team," Coleman says. "He wants to be successful. I really hope and believe that can be the case.

"The man speaks for himself - what he has done in the game. As a club, as a fan base, as players, we really need to embrace this time. We have Carlo Ancelotti as manager of Everton and he is a proven success.

"That is what this club is desperate for. I think, over the years, ever since I came, finance is probably something we lacked. We have the financial backing and a world-class manager. It is an exciting time."

Ancelotti has accumulated 25 points since taking charge in December, a run that over those 14 games would have put Everton in the top four.

They were in the bottom three when Silva was sacked. A win over Spurs tonight would make European qualification more likely. So what has Ancelotti changed? It helped there was already some momentum when he took over from caretaker Duncan Ferguson.

"Fergie put us into the 4-4-2 formation and galvanised the club again.

"He really showed to certain players what it means to play for Everton. You could see the passion in his face, and he got those results against Chelsea and Man United. I don't know how long Dunc could've kept that up, with the emotion he was putting into every single game.

"Even for myself, who has been there so long and understands the club, I was in awe. And then a world-class manager comes in."

Naturally, some of it is tactical. "He has definitely made little adjustments here and there. I am sure you have seen different games where we are building up from the back and I am getting into a (back) three and Lucas (Digne) is higher up and Alex (Iwobi) is wide," Coleman says.

"Every game he has some different little thing that he will change, depending on who we play, and the second half against Leicester showed that.

"Leicester came out, changed their shape and caused us all sorts of problems and it was very difficult for us. But he (Ancelotti) changed it, he brought Yerry (Mina) and Tom (Davies) on and played with wing-backs. That is just the experience of the man."

A lot of it is to do with confidence. Ancelotti says, once the threat of a relegation battle subsided, the players were "less worried".

"Towards the end, when a manager is under pressure, like Marco was, you definitely feel the pressure of results. Every player will be different, but you always want to win for the manager and when you're seeing in the media about them losing their jobs, then you're thinking every game is a 'must-win'. So it definitely was a pressurised time for the players when the manager was leaving."

Generally players like the Ancelotti aura, and his man-management has made training a pleasure.

"He's very approachable. He's a players' manager, I suppose," Coleman says. "He is the boss, make no mistake about that, and there are times you know he is the boss. But he's accommodating and takes his players' views on board and isn't afraid to ask what you think.

"Not tactically wise or anything like that, but in terms of around the place, 'What do you think is good to do? What do you think?' There have been no crazy changes."

After the exit of Martinez, Koeman, Sam Allardyce and Silva, the finger was pointed at the coach. The real difference this time? Coleman says the responsibility lies in the dressing-room.

"With the fans and media it will always be the manager. For me, it is always about players. When managers go, you definitely feel a responsibility. With this manager, it will come back on the players. We need to show up and start getting results that maybe have passed us by before.

"It's up to the players to keep driving it on. If we are not good enough, then I'm sure this manager will see it and bring his own players in. It's up to us to make sure we are part of the plans for the future."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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