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Ancelotti proves to be the Liverpool slayer again

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – While his assistant Duncan Ferguson ran onto the field, punching the air with delight, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti took Saturday’s 2-0 derby triumph over Liverpool in his usual unflappable manner.

“I am very pleased for the club and the supporters. I hope for sure that they are going to celebrate tonight. It was a good performance. A lot of fight and spirit. I am really happy,” Ancelotti said, with an uncharacteristic post-match smile the only indication of his delight.

But perhaps Ancelotti’s calm was understandable — while Everton fans have waited 20 matches to win against their rivals and nearly 21 years to enjoy success at Anfield, the Italian has made a habit of beating the Reds.

In 16 games against Liverpool, Ancelotti’s various teams have enjoyed eight victories and only five defeats.

Before Saturday’s derby win, Ancelotti had already beaten Liverpool with AC Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Napoli.

It is a record that clearly provided some additional confidence to his players.

“When you have a world class manager in the dugout, you fully believe in these games, he spoke about how he did for Napoli,” said veteran captain Seamus Coleman.

Everton deserved their victory on Saturday and the relief at ending their long barren run against their neighbours was palpable but Ancelotti knows his team have to deliver much more consistently if they are to truly challenge the Premier League’s elite.

After all, this is a team that have lost their last four home games — falling to defeats by West Ham United, lowly Newcastle United and Fulham and leaders Manchester City.

Even amid the euphoria of derby glory, Coleman struck the kind of tone that Ancelotti will surely take with his team once they come down off their high.

“The mindset has to change and it is, not to just be beating Liverpool but being successful in our own right. I keep saying it, on a day to day basis we have to be professional and believe in the process, We cannot turn it on and off like in the last few weeks,” he said.

Ancelotti laughed at a television interviewer who asked if his team, seventh in the table and now level with Liverpool on 40 points, were challenging for the top four and Champions League football.

“Top four? No, no, wait,” he said, keen to keep the focus on the pre-season goal of making it into the Europa League and the need to avoid more of those costly losses at Goodison Park.

“We have to find more consistency at home and we are working on this. We are fighting for Europe and now we are in a good position. This kind of performance helps to improve the belief of the team,” he added.

It will also boost the belief of the Everton fans, who have not seen their team win a trophy for 26 years but who, for now, will be celebrating simply getting one over on their local rivals — something Ancelotti noted with typical understatement.

“It is a good gift for our supporters,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans)

Reference