News – AU – Everton “dreams” of the Champions League

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Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted he “dreams” of qualifying for the Champions League but said his team’s performances need to be improved to make that happen

The Toffees scored a hard-fought 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion thanks to Richarlison’s header when he turned a cross from substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, who had only been on the field for 43 seconds

The win brought Everton to 46 points out of 26 games and briefly to fourth place in the Premier League – the last qualifying place for the Champions League – before Chelsea’s 1-0 win at Liverpool Ancelotti’s side in fifth place brought

“At the start of the season, nobody could say Everton would be there after 26 games,” said the Italian, who has won the Champions League as coach of AC Milan and Real Madrid

“The dream is the Champions League – it would be fantastic to follow that dream It’s a step in everyone’s career

“We are in the fight but you have to sacrifice to the end There is more pressure because we are in the fight for Europe, we want to be there and we worked really hard to be there

“This is our step and our goal. We have to move up a bit, there is more to sacrifice

“When I look at the table I’m really happy because the position is good, but it’s not the end of the season and we have to fight”

West Brom had been the better side at The Hawthorns in the first half, but England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was an excellent save to prevent Mbaye Diagne’s header in the second minute

Diagne believed in 93 Having equalized in the minute when he controlled a pass and shot into the net However, he was rejected because he was just marginally offside The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) confirmed the decision on the field

West Brom is 19 in the relegation zone and nine points behind 17th Newcastle United’s place, which they host on Sunday

Everton have been English champions nine times, but have only made it into the top 4 once since the start of the Premier League for the 1992/93 season – 2004-05

In fact, they have never played in the Champions League group stage and missed the third qualifying round in 2005/06 after a 4-2 loss to Spanish club Villarreal in the third qualifying round

However, with 12 league games remaining, Ancelotti’s team has a great chance of playing alongside the continent’s elite next season

Thursday’s win continues a notable turnaround for the Toffees, who were in the Premier League relegation zone under Marco Silva in December 2019 before being sacked and caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson lifted them out of the bottom three Ancelotti then continued this progress

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was instrumental in Everton’s revival and the English striker, who scored a hat trick in the Toffees 5-2 win over West Brom at Goodison Park in September, had the best chance in the first half

A lucky diversion got the ball in its way, but it shot into the legs of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from 12 yards, only the goalkeeper could be hit

Richarlison also had a chance in the first half but a great challenge from Darnell Furlong faced the Brazilian when the distraction shot the shot just over the top

But the striker was undeniable later when he stood in front of Johnstone to hit Sigurdsson’s cross from the left and drive home powerfully from close range

The result also continues Everton’s good away record – they have won nine of 13 league games on the road this season

West Brom came into this game unbeaten in three games, with zeros in their last two games, and they will surely feel like they deserved something from this game

They thought they had a point in stoppage time when Diagne had superb control of the ball and shot past Pickford – but the assistant referee raised his flag and the VAR footage showed he was offside under one foot

Manager Sam Allardyce has run seven other clubs in the Premier League – including Everton – but has never been banned from the top division, although this will certainly be one of the best achievements of his career if he can hold the Baggies

He replaced the sacked Slaven Bilic after West Brom accumulated seven points in the first 13 games, but they only accumulated 10 points in Allardyce’s 14 responsible games

Diagne was their main threat, but he was denied by Pickford in the second minute, then shot past the turn and headed just wide after Furlong’s long throw

Those missed opportunities proved costly as Richarlison’s goal proved the difference and Everton earned the three points

Allardyce was unhappy that Mason Holgate’s challenge against Diagne was not punished, a decision referee Darren England shouldn’t check on the pitchside monitor

“I’ve seen 50 or 60 penalties for less than that and I don’t know why it wasn’t,” Allardyce told the BBC Match of the Day

“Holgate went right over his standing leg and if you slow it down it looks worse

“Why Michael Oliver didn’t ask him to watch it and just turned it down, I don’t know”

West Brom manager Allardyce told Match of the Day: “If you start off well and play as well as we do, it’s our own fault”

“I thought we had better chances and I’m very happy with the performance, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t get the points

“You have to defend crosses and Richarlison has adopted it. I would have been happy with one point – but that’s the best 90 minutes since I’ve been here”

Everton boss Ancelotti told Match of the Day: “It was really hard, really difficult, but the Premier League is so West Brom has a lot of strength, struggle, long balls and a lot of spirit. We had to be ready and we were ready

“We’re fine and now we’re fighting at the top of the table. The season is still long, but we’re here and we’re happy to be there

“I want to say that at the end of the season the season was fantastic”

West Brom is next for a big game as they play on Sunday (12:00 GMT) ahead of an away game at Crystal Palace on Saturday the 13th March 17 (3 p.m.) Entertain place in Newcastle

Offside West Bromwich Albion Ainsley Maitland-Niles attempts a pass, but Mbaye Diagne is offside

Attempt blocked Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Okay Yokuslu

Attempt blocked Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hal Robson-Kanu

Attempt blocked Robert Snodgrass (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked

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News – AU – Everton “dreams” of the Champions League
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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56191317