Paul Robinson has claimed Everton can seal a European spot after rocketing up the Premier League table under Carlo Ancelotti.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England goalkeeper suggested that the Italian has turned things around at Goodison Park so much that a top-six spot could be a “realistic target” for the Toffees this term.
The Blues saw off Crystal Palace in a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon to extend their unbeaten run to five Premier League matches and move them within five points of the top four.
And Robinson has been quick to sing the manager’s praises.
“I think Europa League places are a realistic target for Everton,” he told Football Insider. “You can’t underestimate the job Ancelotti has done since he’s gone in there.
“They’ve got an abundance of talent, they’ve spent a lot of money, but the stewardship at the top was clearly not there, which it clearly is now.
“The impact that he’s had – and the way that he’s given Duncan Ferguson a more hands on coaching role as well. He’s not done anything hugely groundbreaking – they’re pretty much playing a 4-4-2 system every week – but he’s getting the best out of players and players are responding to him.
“He’s got a free hit for half a season to have a look at the players he’s got and he’s got a window in the summer to have a look at what he wants to do, and I think you can really start judging Ancelotti and Everton after the first quarter of next season – but the impact that he’s had is there for all to see.”
Ancelotti took over from Marco Silva just prior to Christmas last year, and has since taken the Toffees from the brink of a relegation battle to the cusp of the upper reaches of the table.
The 60-year-old has averaged 1.75 points per game since arriving on Merseyside, and has lost just one of his eight matches in charge in the Premier League so far.
In other Everton news, ‘Offers absolutely nothing’ – Darren Bent savages Toffees ace v Crystal Palace.