Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has hinted that he will look to bring in midfield reinforcements after that area of his team was exposed in Sunday’s defeat to Wolves.
Criticism rained down on the players after the result ended their distant hopes of European qualification for next season.
Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winner, wants to see a dramatic improvement in their final three matches.
However, he also hinted that Sunday’s loss has given him a clear plan for the upcoming transfer market.
“We have to improve everywhere: in the final third, in midfield and also in defence,” the Everton boss said.
“I think in this period what we showed was sometimes in midfield we needed more power, sometimes we needed more quality. We have players with quality and power and ability but we were not always able to show this quality.
“We had a dream to reach Europe but the last results were not good but this doesn’t change the plan – the plan is the same and the target is to reach Europe.
“I think it is not a disappointment not to reach Europe because the priority when I arrived was different, to be safe as soon as possible, as the season didn’t start well and we were down the bottom of the table in December.”
Everton are unbeaten at home since the Italian arrived in December, a total of 10 league matches.
However, they have won just twice and taken only nine points from their last nine matches. In comparison, Everton gained 17 points from Ancelotti’s first nine games.
ANCELOTTI CALLS FOR EVERTON UPTURN
And the Italian believes his side can begin their upturn at home to relegation-threatened Aston Villa on Thursday.
“We want to expect a reaction from the bad game we had at Wolves. A different attitude, different mentality, different character,” he said.
“I understand during my time at Everton that a big part of this club is that everyone wants to see players fighting. This is the most important part.
“They have to fight and then try to play well, try to win games. When there is no fight I think this is not the DNA of this club.
“When the players go on the pitch they have to be comfortable, they have to know what to do. And after that the spirit is really important.
“So we have to keep the fighting spirit to ensure players have more personality and character on the pitch, are not afraid, are not worried on the pitch, and that can be the key to be competitive.”
Everton face Sheffield United and Bournemouth in their final two games of the season after Villa.