In recent times, one of European football’s best and most successful managers has been Carlo Ancelotti. Since retiring as a player and going into management, he has won the title in four different countries – Italy, England, France, and Germany – won the Champions League on three occasions, and has won countless managerial awards. Put simply, Ancelotti is managerial royalty.

Therefore more than a few eyebrows were raised on 21st December 2019 when Carlo Ancelotti was unveiled as Everton’s new manager, replacing Marco Silva who was sacked after a 5-2 hiding in the Merseyside Derby left the Toffees in 18th place in the Premier League. Ancelotti subsequently stabilised things, and he led Everton to a 12th place finish despite the Covid-19 disruption.

Although Ancelotti’s appointment at Goodison Park came as a surprise to many, should it have been? Everton are English football’s fourth most successful club, winning the title nine times, and the FA Cup on five occasions, while they have also enjoyed European success, winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1985. Add to this a loyal and passionate fanbase, wealthy new owners, and a new 52,888 capacity stadium in the pipeline, the Everton gig is one of the best around.

However, since David Moyes left for Manchester United in 2013, the manager’s office at Goodison Park may as well have had a revolving door. After more than a decade of stability under Moyes, Everton are now onto their fifth manager in eight years. But given Carlo Ancelotti’s CV and the financial might of the club’s new owners, expectations are a tad higher this time – even in the eyes of the online bookmakers who are tipping Everton to finish in the top four.

Despite the club’s long and illustrious history and ever-presence in the Premier League, Everton haven’t won a trophy since 1995 when they beat Manchester United to lift the FA Cup. And it is this silverware drought that really gnaws away at the Goodison faithful. Following a good summer transfer window, there was hope that this season might be the one where things changed.

And the club began the season in spectacular fashion, winning their first three Premier League games which saw Ancelotti named Manager of the Month. However, even the most optimistic Evertonian must have felt that the club’s best chances of success this season would lie in cup competitions and European qualification. And although they’re still alive on two fronts, it’s probably not quite gone how they may have hoped.

The Toffees made decent progress in the Carabao Cup, reaching the quarter-finals, drawing Manchester United at home where they slumped to a 2-0 defeat.

And despite being early front-runners in the Premier League, they’ve managed to slip-up in seemingly key games, recent home defeats to Newcastle United and Fulham being prime examples.

But they are still in the FA Cup, albeit they face Manchester City in the next round. And they are still within a win of the European places.

However, they need to rediscover the big game mentality that used to be part of the club’s DNA if they are to get there.