Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his hope that Everton can soon fight for the Premier League title.

Ancelotti inherited a team that had slipped to within four points of the relegation zone when he replaced Marco Silva in the Goodison Park hotseat back in December.

The Toffees have gradually played their way out of danger under the Italian head coach, and are now sitting just four points adrift of the European places.

A 0-0 draw against newly-crowned champions Liverpool in their first game back following the coronavirus hiatus on June 21 served as solid proof of Everton’s recent improvement, and they followed up that result with a 1-0 victory at Norwich.

Ancelotti led Chelsea to Premier League glory in his only previous stint in English football, and is now targeting repeat success on Merseyside.

The former Milan and Paris Saint-Germain boss acknowledges the fact that Everton are a long way behind the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea at the moment, but he can see that gap being closed as he brings through the next generation of stars at Goodison.

“Everton has to be competitive and fight for the first position of the Premier League with Liverpool, with Chelsea, with Tottenham, with Manchester United, with all the big teams,” Ancelotti told Sky Sports.

“I don’t know how long it takes but I hope that soon we are able to compete.

“We have a young squad with young players with a lot of skills, a lot of ability. I think just the fact that we can improve this skill and this ability can give us more opportunity to stay at the top.”

After watching Liverpool pick up a first domestic crown in 30 years, Ancelotti admits Everton can learn from Jurgen Klopp’s blueprint for growth at Anfield.

“I think that Liverpool did a fantastic job in the last five years,” the Toffees boss added: “When Jurgen came, and year-by-year they improved their squad.

“I think this is the way that we have to follow – to improve the squad year-by-year.”

Ancelotti has been tipped to make several changes to his squad when the transfer window reopens, with Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes being mooted as a potential first-choice target.

Asked if Everton have a good chance of securing Gabriel’s services later in the year, the 61-year-old tactician added: “You have to ask him.

“Honestly, we are looking around – this is absolutely normal as all the teams do at the moment – but the squad, the manager, the staff are focused on finishing the season.”