Carlo Ancelotti is already “loving” being at Everton, according to chairman Bill Kenwright.
The decorated Italian has agreed to take on the job of trying to turn around Everton’s fortunes, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal as manager.
Kenwright sat next to Ancelotti in the directors’ box at Goodison Park on Saturday to watch the Toffees play out a goalless draw with Arsenal that was hardly inspiring.
But Kenwright is confident Ancelotti is the man to push Everton back towards the top of the Premier League and praised majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri for aiming high.
💙 | “Duncan gave the Club and fans a reminder of what a privilege it is to be an Evertonian.”
— Everton (@Everton) December 21, 2019
Kenwright told evertontv: “I have to take my hat off to Farhad. We interviewed a lot of people and Farhad was pushing for a world-class manager.
“He wants this team to be where he’s wanted it to be for three and a half years. He wants this club to be winning trophies.
“That is what he is here for. We want a world-class manager to help us do that and to get us to this magnificent new stadium.
“Carlo’s had a little bit of an Everton experience today. He’s already loving the club. You can’t not feel the embrace of this club, can you?”
While Kenwright is hugely excited for the start of a new era he reserved special praise for Duncan Ferguson, who stepped in as caretaker boss following the sacking of Marco Silva.
Ferguson’s four-game spell resulted in victory over Chelsea, draws with Manchester United and Arsenal and a loss on penalties to Leicester in the Carabao Cup.
The Scot, a hero as a player at Goodison Park, brought a huge amount of passion and energy to the role, and Kenwright said: “It’d be hard for me to put into words the Duncan Ferguson era.
“I get emotional because I am an emotional chairman. He gave the club and fans a reminder of what a privilege it is to be an Evertonian.
“I don’t know anyone else who could have done it, who could have said, ‘We’re going to work now and show those fans (what it means to play for Everton), because he loves those fans as much as they love him.
“It’s not just a game to him, it’s Everton.”
Ferguson will stay at the club as part of Ancelotti’s backroom staff and Freddie Ljungberg has also been told he will be kept on under Mikel Arteta’s management at Arsenal.
It was a unique situation with both men on the touchline at Goodison Park being watched by their new bosses after Arteta’s appointment on Friday.
The performance was a demonstration of the size of the task facing Arteta, with Arsenal only creating a couple of good openings during the match as they slipped into the bottom half of the table.
💬 “It’s been a big honour and a big challenge, and I’m grateful to @mertesacker for being my assistant and our academy manager.
“I must say a big, big thank you to Per.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 21, 2019
Ljungberg believes the Gunners have turned a corner, though, saying: “We’re a bit low on confidence and it’s been a difficult time we’re going through, but we won away at West Ham and that was the first time we won away since the first day of the season at Newcastle.
“That changed us a little bit. Now here, we kept a clean sheet and got a draw away from home. We feel a bit stable.
“For me, the important thing is that we’re Arsenal Football Club, we need to have possession. We should be keeping the ball and dominate. I know Everton were really strong from their long balls, their throw-ins and their set-pieces. That was difficult but that’s what I’ll take with us.”