Carlo Ancelotti praises Everton’s flexibility as they win at Wolves to go fourth

Nick Mashiter, PA
·3-min read

Boss Carlo Ancelotti praised Everton’s flexibility after the Toffees’ win at Wolves continued their Champions League challenge.

Michael Keane’s second-half header secured a 2-1 victory at Molineux to send the visitors fourth in the Premier League.

Alex Iwobi’s first Premier League goal since September 2019 had earlier been cancelled out by Ruben Neves.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Carlo Ancelotti was impressed with how his side adapted to take victory at Molineux (Rui Vieira/PA)

It was a fifth win in six top-flight games for Everton and came without injured 14-goal top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, out with a hamstring issue, to leave Ancelotti pleased with their response.

He said: “The players adapted really well. The position of James Rodriguez and Gylfi Sigurdsson created problems for them. We adapted well to the characteristics of our players and at the back we were focused. All the back four were fantastic.

“We had a different approach without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. We played more to attack the flanks with Iwobi and (Lucas) Digne and it worked well because the first goal was a fantastic combination.

“Without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin it is more difficult to score but I think to be focussed defensively enabled us to have a good game.”

Iwobi struck first after six minutes when his cool first-time finish rounded off a fine move which ended when Digne cut back James’ pass.

The lead lasted just seven minutes though as Neves levelled when he volleyed in Rayan Ait-Nouri’s cross.

Without Raul Jimenez Wolves have struggled for a focal point and Fabio Silva battled in vain to make an impression up front.

Leander Dendoncker headed over for the hosts after the break but, in a half of few chances, Keane scored with Everton’s only effort on target with 13 minutes left.

Wolves could only half-cleared a corner and, when Andre Gomes returned the ball, Keane’s towering header won it.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton – Premier League – Molineux Stadium
Nuno Espirito Santo was disappointed with his side’s display (Tim Keeton/PA)

Neves’ free-kick with five minutes left hit the woodwork but Wolves dropped to 14th.

They have won just once in eight league games since Jimenez fractured his skull at Arsenal in November.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo said: “I’m very worried (about the form). It is something we know we need to improve but at the same time be aware of what is happening and what we have to do for the future.

“We played a good game, there were not too many chances for both teams in the second half. It was a game decided on set pieces, we are frustrated and on small details games are getting away from us.

“Everton defended well, were tight and organised and made our job difficult but in the second half we should have done better. We need all the players in the squad healthy so we can improve.

“We have a strong team spirit which, in moments which are not so good, require more unity. Soon we will be better.”