Sport

Carlo Ancelotti ‘actually happy’ with Everton’s sizzling begin to the brand new season

Carlo Ancelotti has declared himself really pleased with Everton’s perfect start to the season but urged his new-look team to keep improving.

The Toffees made it five wins out of five in all competitions on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

After an opening-day success away to Tottenham, the Merseyside club have also progressed into the last 16 of the Carabao Cup and now sit top of the Premier League following a third straight top-flight success this weekend.

Given the likes of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure were only signed at the beginning of the month, the trio have settled in quickly at Goodison Park.

James Rodriguez, right, was involved in both of Everton’s goals at Crystal Palace (Justin Setterfield/PA)

“If I have to judge the period, I think we’ve done really well. We have a new squad, with new players and they adapted really well,” Ancelotti said.

“The start of this season was fantastic but I think we have to keep going to think to the next game, to try to improve and be focused there.

“I’m really pleased for what we did in this first period of the season.”

Saturday’s triumph was not without its controversy, with Palace’s Joel Ward adjudged to have put his hand in an unnatural position when he blocked Lucas Digne’s header.

It led to video assistant referee reviewing the incident, but they handed the final decision back to Kevin Friend and he pointed to the spot after he used the pitchside monitor.

Richarlison made no mistake from 12-yards and with Eagles boss Roy Hodgson fuming, the Italian expressed his sympathy for his rival manager.

Ancelotti added: “We can agree or not with the rules (on handball). I know I cannot be agreed with this kind of rule but at the end, it is a really difficult decision. There is a new rule and you have to accept that first of all.”

Before the penalty dispute, Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin had continued his great start to the campaign with the opener in south London.

It was his fifth league goal of the term and Ancelotti believes England boss Gareth Southgate will be closely monitoring the 23-year-old.

“The only way to reach the dream to play for the national team is to behave like he is behaving in this moment,” Everton’s manager said of his striker.

“For sure, the staff of the national team are going to have a look at him – without doubt.”

While the Toffees remain perfect, Palace lost their 100 per cent start to the top-flight season after going down to Richarlison’s penalty.

On his 250th appearance for the club, Joel Ward was involved in the key moment of the game for the wrong reasons, but refused to be drawn into the debate.

“Unfortunately, we were hard done by,” the Palace right-back insisted.

“My thoughts are going to stay with myself. I think everyone else can talk about them and we’ll just kind of get on with it. We’re going to realise that some will go for us and some will go against us.

“There’s certainly some teething issues and I think they need to be ironed out. They may need to look at how people move and the functionality of how people move with momentum.”

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