Football

Carlo Ancelotti praises team spirit as Everton rise to second

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti was not getting carried away after his side's 1-0 win at Sheffield United put them second in the English Premier League yesterday morning (Singapore time), the Italian maintaining that grabbing a place in Europe is the height of their ambition.

Everton are two points behind leaders Liverpool, ahead of the Reds' game against West Bromwich Albion this morning. It was the Toffees' ninth win in 15 league games despite missing several key players due to injury.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's goal 10 minutes from time gave Everton the win and ensured they will finish in the top four during the Christmas holiday period for the first time in 16 years.

Ancelotti paid tribute to the battling qualities of his side, saying: "We're second for the spirit of this team, the motivation and ambition the players have for this season.

"We're not the top team but we are a solid team. This, in my opinion, is a really good quality for a team."

While Everton are hot on the heels of the defending champions, Ancelotti said the goal for the season had not changed.

"The ambition and target is the same for the season: to reach a position in Europe."

There is little time for Everton to savour their lofty position in the EPL as they are straight back into action with the visit of Manchester City tomorrow morning.

"We are there (second), we are pleased to be there but we don't have a lot of time to think about it," said Ancelotti.

Defeat left Sheffield United rooted to the bottom of the table with a mere two points from 15 games.

"When we had the opportunity to open up and show a bit of quality we haven't done that,"Blades boss Chris Wilder told BT Sport.

"That has been the story of the season - not showing the quality we showed last season... There is no issue with the motivation, it is the quality." - REUTERS

Football