Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has defended under-fire Jose Mourinho as the Tottenham boss prepares to bring his team to Merseyside.

The Blues take on Spurs tomorrow night at Goodison Park and will be aiming to leapfrog their opponents in the table with a victory.

Ancelotti's men are currently eighth, just one point behind the Londoners with a game in hand.

The Italian was asked for his verdict on Mourinho's current performance in charge down south during his pre-match press conference and pointed to a successful track record.

Ancelotti said: "I think every manager tries to do his best. This was a special season - I'm not able to judge Mourinho's job.

"In my opinion, [he] always [did] a fantastic job wherever he was.

"But the pressure on managers is absolutely normal. Every manager has to manage the pressure."

Despite the injury count stacking up, Ancelotti is confident his side can "compete" against Tottenham and expects an "open" encounter.

He explained: "It is really difficult to say how the game will be. The last game we played in the FA Cup, the result was 5-4.

"I think it will be an open game because they need points and we need points.

"They have fantastic quality [up front]. Maybe they could score but we could score also. It is unpredictable what is going to happen."

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Reflecting on the race for the European places, Ancelotti said it is "open for everyone but difficult for everyone".

He was also asked how significant the Spurs clash is in shaping the final standings of the Premier League table.

Ancelotti replied: "It is vital. But all of the eight games we have to play are vital.

"We have to play against teams that are fighting with us for that position.

"It will be important against Tottenham, but the other games don't have less importance."

Ancelotti added: "To judge our season we have to wait until the end of this season. It could be a fantastic season if we are able to reach Europe.

"I think it will be decided at the last game because there are a lot of teams involved with unpredictable results."