Carlo Ancelotti told his beleaguered players to forget about the Champions League following Everton’s humiliation at Chelsea.
The Toffees were demolished by the rampant Blues, who provided Ancelotti’s side with a harsh reality check following tangible signs of improvement.
Ancelotti stopped short of questioning his team’s commitment after the defeat at his former club – but made it clear he was unhappy with some players’ application during an embarrassing afternoon.
The former Real Madrid boss believes he can eventually lead Everton to Champions League football – but Sunday’s poor performance should act as a reminder of how far Everton still have to travel before they can think about gatecrashing the Premier league’s top four.
When asked directly whether he was disappointed with his players’ commitment, Ancelotti replied: ‘There are things that I can analyse with you, and things I analyse with my players.
‘Champions League is the future, that’s the target of the club. We have to improve, of course.
Mason Mount celebrates with Marcos Alonso after scoring Chelsea’s opening goal
‘But the future is set: this club wants to be competitive in the Premier League and Europe. But, of course, with this kind of performance, we have to forget it.’
Ancelotti, despite Sunday’s defeat, still believes his team can make a late run to qualify for next season’s Europa League.
‘We think we can compete, fight for Europe, next season. We are still there,’ said the Italian.
‘Today we were not at the same level as Chelsea. But a week ago we were at the same level as Manchester United.
Mount took his goal superbly, spinning inside the box before firing into the bottom corner
‘You cannot judge a team on one week. At the end of the season we will see where we are.
‘Everything went wrong today. It’s not difficult to judge this game, analyse this game. We were not good enough defensively. We were too open, not compact, lost a lot of duels, and with the ball we did a lot of mistakes on passes.
‘So it wasn’t a good game. Not a good day, but we can learn from our mistakes. Honestly, it’s the first time, the first game where we didn’t compete.
‘In the other games we didn’t win but we competed until the end of the game. Today was wrong from the beginning.
Pedro raced clear and fired past Pickford to double Chelsea’s advantage after 21 minutes
‘So we learn from the mistakes and prepare well the next game. I think we can come back and we usually do, show fighting spirit and a good attitude on the pitch, and good football.’
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard remained cautious in his side’s bid to secure Champions League football next season despite strengthening their hold on fourth place.
Having endured a difficult spell, Chelsea appear to be in the ascendancy following Monday’s win FA Cup win over Liverpool and yesterday’s comprehensive victory.
But Lampard said: ‘There’s still a long way in the the top four race. United are in great form.
Willian celebrates scoring Chelsea’s third goal early in the second half at Stamford Bridge
‘It may look a small cushion from fifth now, but we have to fight to the end. It’s in our hands. I’m not going to say we’re favourites now. It doesn’t feel to me like we’re favourites.
‘I’m a bit wary to say that (we have got a second wind). The last two performances would look like that, but I’m experienced enough to know we go to Aston Villa away, a team who are fighting for their lives, so we have to replicate what we showed today there.
We’ve had inconsistencies recently. Who hasn’t, other than Liverpool, in this league? I don’t accept those inconsistencies, obviously, but it’s understandable in this transitional period. But we have to work to show we can finish the season with strength.’
Olivier Giroud turned home Chelsea’s fourth goal from a corner in the second-half