Carlo Ancelotti is hoping Everton’s passionate support can help plot the downfall of the club Sir Alex Ferguson tapped him up to manage.
The Italian knows that resurgent Manchester United present a formidable barrier in his quest to deliver the Blues’ first senior trophy since 1995, to end the longest period without honours in the club’s history.
The Blues boss made clear that the Carabao Cup is glorious opportunity for his club to end their drought. But he also revealed that things could have been very different, had he accepted an offer to manage United when Ferguson retired.
He admitted it was an honour to have been approached to succeed the Old Trafford legend, but had already accepted the job at Real Madrid by that stage.
“You want to know from me?!” he said of United’s approach. “I can say that I still keep a fantastic relationship with Sir Alex, and we met when he decided to stop (retire).
“But I was close to Real Madrid, and so I appreciate the fact that at that time he talked to me. And that’s it, no other opportunity (to manage United).”
Things could have been very different for United had serial winner Ancelotti taken charge. Instead, Ferguson identified David Moyes as his successor, which led to an unsettled period of five managers in seven years.
In that time the Italian won seven major honours with Madrid and Bayern Munich, but he insists he has massive respect for United, and sees them as one of the world’s great clubs.
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“Yes of course Manchester United is a fantastic club, a fantastic team I battled against them a lot of times when Sir Alex was there, when I was at Chelsea.
“I have a lot of respect for this team, for this club, it is a historical club in the world of football like Milan, like Real Madrid, a lot of respect.”
United are on a roll after their shock exit from the Champions League, with their seven game unbeaten Premier League run making them genuine title contenders.
What is your scoreline prediction for Everton versus Manchester United? Have your say here.
Ancelotti though, is hoping having 2000 fans allowed back into Goodison will inspire his side, and put pressure on opponents he believes present a tough challenge for his side as they attempt to deliver a trophy to their supporters.
“It is really important – we are not able to have noise for six months in every stadium, so the fact that you can listen to 2000 supporters to help you is really good,” he explained.
“The fact in these two games (with fans) we won against strong teams is also for this (reason), because the players are more focused and more concentrate and are more motivated – the supporters have helped us a lot.
“Listen to them, it seems they are more that 2000, it is a totally different environment without them.”
Ancelotti is unfazed by the fact Everton haven’t won a major trophy in 25 years, the longest spell without silverware in the club’s history, and he said: “We have the ambition, it is a great, great motivation for this competition.
“There is not a lot of pressure from the fact that this club dd not win for a long time. It is not an obsession, it is only a motivation. We are close, not so far from the final.”
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