Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti is refusing to entertain any thoughts that his side might challenge for the Premier League title this season.
The Merseysiders, who face Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, sit sixth in the table. However, they have games in hand on all of the top three and appear right in the mix.
Some Everton fans have used social media to question why their club have not been spoken of as genuine contenders.
“Honestly, we don’t have in our mind a title race,” he said. “We have in our mind, and I said at the start of the season, to fight for the European positions.
“Now we are in a good position and we want to stay there. It depends on us to stay in a good position. I think to talk about a title race in this moment is too much for us.”
Ancelotti did acknowledge that the Premier League was more competitive and exciting than ever this season. Manchester United are the current pacesetters and have a two-point advantage over rivals Manchester City.
Leicester and a faltering Liverpool complete the top four, with Tottenham in fifth. Victory in both their games in hand would see the Toffees just two points adrift of United.
The Italian expects other clubs to enter what he feels is a high-quality title race.
“You see the table, at the top there are a lot of teams who are not used to staying there, like West Ham, Aston Villa, Everton also,” he added. “In this moment Chelsea and Arsenal are not there, but they will be.
“The level, physically, tactically, technically, it’s really high in my personal opinion. It is exciting to watch the games.
“I watch all the time games on TV, as all people do in this moment because you cannot go to the theatre or the restaurant, you have to stay at home and watch games on TV.”
Different challenge on horizon
The Merseysiders have a weekend away from the pressures of the Premier League. They face Championship club Wednesday in the FA Cup.
Everton have not reached round five for five years and struggled past Rotherham last time out in the competition. The Owls sit 23rd of the 24 second-tier teams but Ancelotti is taking nothing for granted.
“We hope to have less difficulty in this game, but we have to know it will be difficult because in the FA Cup there will always be surprises,” he added. “We don’t want to be the negative surprise. We have to approach the game well because we didn’t do against Rotherham.
“Sheffield Wednesday are coming with all the strength that they have.”
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