Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur-Everton Preview

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has defended Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho and says anything could happen in Friday's Premier League clash at Goodison Park.

The pressure is growing on Mourinho following a run of one win in five matches, which has seen Spurs lose ground in the race for a top-four finish and exit the Europa League.

Tottenham have an EFL Cup final with Manchester City on the horizon, however, and Ancelotti believes the Portuguese is a victim of "special" circumstances during the pandemic.

"The pressure on managers is absolutely normal. Every manager has to manage the pressure," he said.

"I think every manager tries to do his best. This has been a special season, so I'm not able to judge Mourinho's job.

"But in my opinion, he has always done a fantastic job wherever he has been."

Everton beat Spurs 1-0 in the reverse fixture to end a 15-game league run without a win against them, while February's FA Cup last-16 tie ended 5-4 in the Toffees' favour.

On the back of that incredible nine-goal thriller, Ancelotti is unsure what to expect in this latest meeting on Merseyside in a battle between two sides chasing European football.

"It is really difficult to say how the game will be," he said. "I think it will be an open game because they need points and we need points.

"They have fantastic quality up front. Maybe they could score but we could score also. It is unpredictable what is going to happen."

Spurs are one point and one place better off than Everton, but they have played a game more than their opponents and Mourinho acknowledged the importance of this contest.

"The distance between the teams is short. They have similar objectives," the Portuguese said.

"They are going to fight with us and other clubs to try and get the best possible position. We need to focus totally on a very difficult match."

Everton - Richarlison

The Brazilian forward scored twice in February's FA Cup tie to help his side through, but he has gone five matches since last finding the net for Everton.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin still carrying an injury, there will be extra importance on Richarlison as the focal point of the home side's attack.

Tottenham - Son Heung-min

Son was on target for Tottenham in last week's defeat to Manchester United, making it 14 Premier League goals in 30 appearances for the South Korea international this term.

That is his joint-best tally in a single campaign in the competition, with eight of Son's 14 goals coming away from home - twice as many as he has netted at home.

•Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven away league games against Everton (W3 D4), since losing three in a row at Goodison Park between January 2011 and December 2012.

•The last four meetings between Everton and Tottenham at Goodison Park in all competitions have produced 22 goals (eight for Everton, 14 for Spurs).

•Everton have won just one of their last eight Premier League home games (D2 L5), with the Toffees failing to score more than once in any of these eight games (five goals in total).

•Ancelotti's side have failed to win any of their last four Premier League matches (D2 L2), last going five in a row without winning in the competition back in December 2018 under Marco Silva - the fifth game in that run coming against Spurs at Goodison Park.

•Tottenham have dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (20) losing more. Indeed, Spurs have let the lead slip in three of their last four Premier League matches (D1 L2).

Updated April 15, 2021

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