Carlo Ancelotti admits Everton's season has been "strange" because of the way the team has coped with the absence of key players.

At various points this term, the Blues have faced extended spells without James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan, while Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have had their season interrupted by fitness issues.

Everton could welcome Doucoure back to the team for Sunday's game with West Ham United but will be without Rodriguez.

Ancelotti has said that the Blues must win at the London Stadium to keep alive their European aspirations and hopes the absence of Rodriguez does not derail them.

“If I have to analyse - I don’t like to analyse five games to the end - but I can analyse and I saw a team who improved this season and was fantastic against the top six, did really well against Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool - but we failed against teams against who we could for sure do better - we lost against Newcastle, Burnley, and we could have," Ancelotti said.

“The next step next season will be a consistency and continuity in the results. I have a good memory - every year I have problems, every year, also the years where at the end of the season where we reached the target, we still had problems, and we managed during the season to solve these problems.

“This season was a little bit strange because we had problems, and we sorted out the problems and went immediately into fantastic performances, and in this sense it was a little bit strange."

Ancelotti has been at a loss to explain Everton's poor form at Goodison this season which has been in stark contrast to their performances on the road.

But the Blues boss has dismissed the idea that there is an attitude problem in the squad - like the one he pointedly talked about in the aftermath of a humbling at Wolves towards the end of last season.

“Different situation because the game against Wolves we were out from the fight for Europe and the fight for relegation, and the motivation was not so strong - that was the reason," he explained.

“Against Villa I was really surprised and everyone was really surprised because we were in the fight (for the top four)- that result we have more difficulties now (to be in the fight) but I hope there is a reaction against West Ham.

“The result we had at Wolves away was from the attitude and not from the quality - most of the games this season in some parts we played well, but the best results we had was for the attitude and spirit of the team. "