MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 20:20:37| >> :120:7668:7668:

Carlo Ancelotti: 'Aston Villa draw has hurt us'

Carlo Ancelotti: 'Aston Villa draw has hurt us'
© Reuters
Everton missed the chance to put serious pressure on the top six.

Boss Carlo Ancelotti admits Everton face a battle to reach Europe and may need to win their final three games of the Premier League season to qualify.

The Toffees missed the chance to move level on points with fifth after a dull goalless draw at Aston Villa.

Emi Martinez thwarted Ben Godfrey and Dominic Calvert-Lewin but, aside from late pressure, Everton rarely looked like claiming victory.

Neither did Villa but they at least welcomed back Jack Grealish from his three-month absence with a shin problem.

Everton climbed to eighth in the table but Ancelotti knows they are up against it to reach Europe.

He said: "We have three games, maybe we have to have three victories to be in Europe and we will try to do it.

"We played two away games, we got four points and it would be better to have six points but four points is good to stay in the fight.

"It's a point, we moved up the table and now we have a great opportunity at home.

"The game was a good game, a good performance, we were much better in the second half where we put more pressure offensively and created chances.

"We could have won – we didn't but nothing changed our idea to fight to the end of the season.

"We could have been more efficient to finalise the shot or final pass but the strikers worked really hard defensively."

Tyrone Mings headed Villa's best chance wide after 17 minutes of a forgettable first half and, while Everton improved after the break, they struggled to find top gear.

Martinez denied a stretching Godfrey at the far post while Andre Gomes wasted several fine openings on the edge of the box.

Jordan Pickford saved Anwar El Ghazi's free-kick but the game failed to come to life until Everton finally lifted themselves in the closing minutes.

Calvert-Lewin's header was saved by Martinez with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison failing to convert the loose ball while Allan also fired over in stoppage time.

Villa remain 11th but boss Dean Smith was pleased to see skipper Grealish return for the first time since February.

He said: "I'll sit down with him and see how he feels but he brought a spark onto the pitch straight away.

"It wasn't quite happening in the final third, he had one mesmerising run when he had five or six Everton players chasing him.

"We're really happy to have him back, it's small steps at the moment but it's great to have him out there. It was a strange injury but he's come back now, he looks fresh and we need to go softly, softly with him.

"It was a game of few chances. We had good control of the ball in the first half. The game was lacking that bit of spark in the final third.

"They were chasing the game at the end as they are trying to get into the European positions. We had to defend resolutely."

ID:447339:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect6261:

Click here for more stories about Carlo Ancelotti

Click here for more stories about Aston Villa

How you voted: Aston Villa vs Everton

Aston Villa
Collect / Create New Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Manchester United's Paul Pogba in action with Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum in the Premier League on January 17, 2021
Read Next:
Thursday's Premier League predictions including Manchester United vs. Liverpool
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free match previews newsletter! Updates are sent twice a week.

rhs 2.0
Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States25312379
Great BritainGreat Britain15181548
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!