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Eureka Europa! Toffees set sights on a Europa spot.

Byline: Steve Bates

Everton 3 Crystal Palace 1

CARLO ANCELOTTI sounded a Europa League battle-cry for his Everton stars after they defeated Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.

Leag afte GooG Rich Calv Hod frog Goals from Brazilian duo Bernard and Richarlison and a third from Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw Everton ease past Roy Hodgson's struggling Eagles and leapfrog Manchester United into seventh place. Ancelotti's fifth Premier League win in eight games has put the Toffees on the march - and he's confident they have the quality to close out a Europa League spot.

"This is the target," he said. "Since I arrived the team have done a fantastic job and now we can dream to fight for the Europa League in the next games. "It's not enough just to fight for the Europa League but we have the quality to fight. The best thing today is the result, the performance was not so good but before the winter break, getting three points is important.

"I enjoy coaching groups and if there are top players it is better because you can win easily. We have top players. "Richarlison is a top player.

With Calvert-Lewin, I don't know if he is a top player now but he can be one." The only problem for Ancelotti was a hamstring injury to Theo Walcott who set up Bernard's opening goal, with the Italian boss admitting he didn't know the extent of the damage. Jordan Pickford held his hand up for th error that gifted Palace striker Christian Benteke a brief leveller.

The England keeper said: "Disgusting. I was disappointed with myself. My studs got caught but I hold my hands up. I reset and never let anything affect me. It shows my character." Benteke, who ended a Premier League goal drought stretching back 35 games, said: "This has been the hardest moment of my career so far in England."

The problems, however, pile up for Hodgson who admitted his stars need the winter break after one win in 11 games. He said: "The idea of this winter break is that the players should be given a mental and physical break.

We are not going away as a group but are allowing them to go away individually. "We are giving them a programme and hoping the break will allow us to come back fresher." A lack of goals is a major worry but Hodgson added: "We played well for large parts of the game but of course goals are a worry. Still, our goal difference is a lot better than many of the teams around us. I'm sure the goals will come."

A horror own goal from WATfoRD defender Adrian Mariappa gifted fellow strugglers BRIgHTon a point in their 1-1 draw. Abdoulaye Doucoure's fine opener was chalked out late on by Mariappa's gaffe, who was under little pressure when he fired the ball into his own net.

The draw keeps Watford in the relegation zone and Hornets goalkeeper Ben foster said: "Mapps is trying his best and not trying to score an own goal. That's football sometimes."

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LEW THE MAN: Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates scoring Everton's third goal

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Steve Bates
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2020
Words:522
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