Carlo Ancelotti has admitted to BBC Sport that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane ‘wasn’t so easy’ to deal with during Everton’s 2-2 draw with their rivals on Saturday at Goodison Park.
The Italian pointed out how new signing, Ben Godfrey, who replaced the injured Seamus Coleman at right-back in the first half, had ‘a little problem’ in dealing with Mane before becoming ‘really better’ as the game progressed.
Mane missed Liverpool’s previous Premier League encounter because he was self-isolating and he returned with a bang by scoring inside the first three minutes – that’s when Coleman was still on the pitch.
But given that Godfrey was on his debut and playing out of position, Ancelotti was impressed with how he finished the game despite coming up against a difficult opponent in Mane.
“We sign Ben Godfrey as a centre-back,” Ancelotti told BBC Sport. “But I think he played really well. I think he had a little problem in the first half when he came on.
“But in the second half, he was really better. He had an opponent that was not so easy to control like Mane. But he did well and he’s a good signing for us.”
A game full of controversial moments from Jordan Pickford’s high challenge, which injured Virgil van Dijk, to his namesake and England teammate, Henderson, seeing his stoppage-time goal ruled out because Mane was deemed to be offside.
The only thing the game missed was the fans jumping with joy or losing their heads in the stands because the derby clash in itself had it all.
But for the players on the pitch, Godfrey should be proud of his debut display, especially given that he was coming up against a firing and hungry Mane.