Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his confidence in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison after their misfire against Crystal Palace.
Monday’s contest at Goodison Park saw the forward pair, and Richarlison in particular, fail to make the most of a number of chances as the Toffees were held to a 1-1 Premier League draw, with James Rodriguez’s goal being cancelled out late on by Michy Batshuayi.
Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison have scored 19 and 12 times for the club respectively this season.
And Ancelotti said, ahead of the trip to Brighton on Monday: “We talk about Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin – I can say they have really good ability in the box, usually they are really clinical, and they were really clinical this season, they scored a lot of goals.
“In that situation against Crystal Palace they were not clinical, this is the truth.
“And after that what can I say to them? Nothing, because I am really satisfied with their seasons.
“I think that was an episode and I think if the team is able to give them the same chances that they had against Crystal Palace, they are going to score.”
Playmaker Rodriguez was making his return to action after missing five games due to a calf problem.
Ancelotti said of the Colombia international, who has netted six times and produced eight assists in 22 appearances since joining last summer: “When James Rodriguez is there fit, we have more possibilities in front, we have more opportunities because he has a lot of quality – key passes, final passes, final shot.
“We signed him for this reason, to have more opportunities in front. His condition is good, he is motivated and he showed this really well in the game, not because he scored, but because he was involved in the play.”
An attacker who did not feature against Palace was Josh King, who was left as an unused substitute.
The Norway forward has made eight Everton appearances, all from the bench, and is yet to score following his arrival from Bournemouth in February on a deal until the end of the season.
Asked what he made of how things had gone so far for King at the club, Ancelotti said: “I think Josh is doing well. He didn’t play a lot, it’s true. It’s true also that he played more when we were playing in a different system.
“Now, for the fact that I have a lot of midfielders out, we changed the shape. He suffered a little bit more, the fact we changed the shape.”
King has been linked with a move, and when asked if there had been talks about the player’s future, Ancelotti said: “No, we haven’t talked about the future because we are not talking about the future in this moment. We are really involved in the fight.
“I appreciate the fact he is training well, properly all the time – absolutely no problem for this.
“And the future of the structure of the next season will be discussed not now, because we are so involved in the games, maybe later.”
Monday’s action left Everton eighth in the Premier League, outside the top four by five points with nine games to go.
They have taken 18 points from 15 home games and 29 from their 14 away fixtures – their last 10 away league matches have featured seven wins and only one loss.
Ancelotti said: “It is a big fight for the European position. We are there. We could do better, yes.
“I think at home we could do much better. But we have to say that we had a fantastic run away.”