Everton News

Abdoulaye Doucoure opens up on Carlo Ancelotti Everton exit and early Rafa Benitez talks


Abdoulaye Doucoure has admitted that Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton exit was ‘strange’ – but revealed he was buoyed by an early conversation he had with new boss Rafa Benitez.

Ancelotti departed Merseyside at the beginning of June 2021 to return to his former club Real Madrid in a move that shocked many Blues supporters.

The Italian was replaced by Benitez by the end of that same month with the fellow former manager of the La Liga giants getting straight to work at USM Finch Farm.

The exit of Ancelotti happened shortly after the end of the 2020/21 season with many players enjoying time off while others prepared for summer tournaments.

And Doucoure, speaking exclusively to the ECHO, said: “It felt a little bit strange of course.

“I think when we see Carlo was wanted by Real Madrid, his choice was very easy I think.

“I worked only one year with Carlo, but that’s life. Some managers went, some players went, but the club stays.

“The most important thing for me is to stay focused on my game to try to improve, and that’s what I’ve tried to do this year.”

Benitez wasted no time in doing exactly that for Doucoure.

The midfielder has revealed that his new manager had an early chat with him to discuss his style of play and how he can fit into the team effectively.

That has given Doucoure more lessons to learn from, which is something he has tried to do with every boss he has worked under in recent years.

“Since the beginning he [Benitez] knows what he wants from me,” the 29-year-old added.

“We’ve had a chat at the beginning, he spoke to me about how he wanted me to play, how he wanted me to go forward and how he wanted me to help the team.

“So far he’s been great. I’ve worked with so many different managers over the last couple of years.

“To work now with Rafa is a new thing to learn, and I take his lessons from each manager. I try to each at least.”

Doucoure said before the start of the season that he wanted to improve his attacking output – and he got off to the perfect start by scoring a fantastic goal in Everton’s 3-1 home win over Southampton on the opening day.

The former Watford man has gone on to bag a further goal, in the 2-0 home victory over Norwich City, and provide four assists for his team-mates, with one being his favourite.

But Doucoure said: “I want to put this number a little bit higher, especially in terms of goals. I want to score more goals.

“Yeah, I’m very happy with the assists so far, I’ve already broken my record from last season so I’m happy with that.

“It means I’ve improved on something already, but of course I want to improve that further for the second half of the season.

“My favourite assist was the one against Burnley, that pass to Demarai. It was one of my favourite in my career!”

Doucoure quickly managed to become a fan favourite shortly after arriving at Goodison Park.

His string of excellent performances and his clear passion for the club have kept that relationship with supporters going throughout his time on Merseyside.

And the Frenchman is grateful for the support fans give him, knowing that he and his team-mates are determined to repay them for their faith.

Doucoure said: “When you give everything, when you start scoring goals and giving assists, the fans show their support.

“I’m very happy to be one of the favourites, I can always feel the support and I always want to give 100% for that shirt!

“When you play at a high intensity at Goodison, when the fans are behind us, nothing can happen to us really.

“It’s very important to have the fans behind us, to start games well.”

You may also like