Former Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar says it is Carlo Ancelotti’s faith that has helped James Rodríguez to shine at Goodison Park.
Rodríguez has been an instant hit on Merseyside since arriving on a free transfer from Real Madrid in the summer transfer window.
It is the third time he has worked under Ancelotti in his career, with the Italian also having signed him for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich during his time in charge of those clubs.
Indeed, Rodríguez has enjoyed the best periods of his career under Ancelotti’s leadership and seems to be repeating that for a third time at Goodison.
So far he’s managed three goals, and three assists in five games in all competitions and Pienaar believes it is his relationship with the Everton boss that is fuelling the resurgence.
“Carlo Ancelotti believes in James Rodríguez, trusts him as a player and as a person,” he told Marca Colombia.
“I think that if you have a coach who believes in you, that makes it easier. Having Yerry Mina as a teammate is also important.
“That is the reason why the one that James is shining so bright. Also, all the people on the team make you feel at home, and that’s why I think he’s doing so well.
“James has been magnificent since joining the team; he has shown very good football. The most important thing is having the confidence of the coach, that takes a lot of pressure off the player, and that’s why James has been fantastic.”
Everton will be hoping that Rodriguez’s flying start to the season continues on Saturday when they take on rivals Liverpool in the first Merseyside derby of the season.
The Blues have not beaten their closest neighbours for the last decade, with their last win a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park in 2010.
It is the first time they have headed into such a game in top form though, with a winning start to the season under their belt and breeding confidence as a result.
Indeed, plenty of Everton fans are optimistic that this weekend could be the one to end their derby drought and Pienaar is very much of that mindset.
“Everton arrives with very high confidence,” he added.
“Now we have to see how the South American players arrive after the international break; we hope they do not have muscle fatigue.
“It is a good time to face Liverpool; they have been beaten 7-2 by the Aston Villa. Ancelotti will have to focus on his players and not underestimate the opponent.
“It’s a derby, so you don’t need any more motivation than that. I think it’s a good time to break the 10-year streak without a win.”