Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti’s patience at his side’s woeful home form snapped after a 1-0 Premier League home defeat by bottom club Sheffield United left their European hopes hanging by a thread on Sunday. It was Everton’s ninth home league defeat this season — equalling a club record — and left them in eighth place with two games of the season remaining. While their away form has been impressive, Everton have picked up only six points at home in 2021 — a tally better only than relegated Fulham’s four.
“We played so bad. The only result that could be possible is a defeat. As we usually did at home most of the time, we lost,” Ancelotti said. “I have to take responsibly for this but I hope the players do too. “We have two games to the end. We lost a great opportunity to have the chance to fight for Europe.”
Even an average home record would have meant Everton challenging for Champions League football. But, for whatever reason, Ancelotti has failed to find a solution to their home discomfort.
“It’s difficult to say (why Everton are better away),” Ancelotti said. “When we tried to put quality and build from the back we have more difficulties.
“We are more comfortable when we play direct but that is not the best style of play. For next season, we are going to change. We have to analyse the season. Certain aspects are really good — away we did fantastic results, at home really bad.”
Everton are three points behind West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for Europa League spots.
They face Wolverhampton Wanderers at home in midweek before finishing next Sunday at champions Manchester City.
“To be ready for Europe, you have to be in Europe. We have to try to win the two games and see if we are in Europe,” Ancelotti said. “If we are, we will build a squad to be in Europe. If not, we’ll build a squad to be better in the Premier League.”
For Sheffield United it was a rare bright day in a season of gloom, made even sweeter by 17-year-old Daniel Jebbison scoring the winner on his first Premier League start.
“I thought we were excellent from start to finish. It makes a difference when you get the first goal,” interim manager Paul Heckingbottom said. “We didn’t give them a sniff.”
On Jebbison he added: “He’s nowhere near finished. He deserves his chance. He’s been put in on merit. “You can see the hard work and natural athleticism. He listens and learns. He performed his role excellently without the ball. He’s scored the goal.”