James Rodríguez joined up with Carlo Ancelotti for the third time in his career after Everton completed his signing from Real Madrid in the summer.

The Colombia international became an instant hit in the Premier League after scoring three goals and registering two assists in his first four matches. Since then, he has added only one assist and that came in his side’s 2-2 draw against Liverpool in October.

It was the same fixture in which he picked up an injury and he’s struggled since then.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has given an interview to DIRECTV SportCo and his comments have been relayed by the Colombian edition of Marca.

On the attacking midfielder’s dip in form, Ancelotti said: “James Rodríguez started very well. It is true that after playing against Liverpool he had problems because he had a blow and difficulty in recovering.”

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“He played a game where he had not trained well [against Southampton] and performance has dropped for this reason.”

The former Chelsea manager also gave his take on why the South American struggled at Real Madrid.

“The quality of the player is not discussed; it has never been discussed either at Real Madrid or at Bayern Munich. I think that [with] these two teams, [he] had more difficulty because there is more competition in the team and, sometimes, it can happen that you don’t play,” the Italian explained.

“I think it’s more important for him to play than to train. In my opinion, he can have a good physical level if he plays. The physical level he gets by playing and this is why he hasn’t played much at Real Madrid. Changing a team that has been successful is much more complicated.”

Ancelotti signed James Rodríguez for Real Madrid in 2014 and a year before that, he had a role in Isco’s arrival at the Santiago Bernabéu. The Spanish midfielder has recently been linked with a move to Goodison Park in January.

Responding to those rumours, Ancelotti said: “It is not true that I am behind Isco. We haven’t started thinking about the team for the January market. So those comments are, as they say here, bull**** (laughs).”