Nigeria international, Alex Iwobi, was on duty for his clubside, Everton, as they inched closer to top four by beating Southampton by a lone goal.
Richarlison rounded Fraser Forster to score the only goal of the game against the struggling Saints as Ancelotti’s side moved level on points with Liverpool and two points behind fourth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.
If they beat West Bromwich Albion on Thursday they will move into fourth ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea, who play each other later the same evening.
“We have a great opportunity,” said Ancelotti after a first league win at home since 19 December. “I don’t know for how long it will be, maybe for one day, or two or three, but we would like to touch the position, so we have to put all our fight into the game on Thursday.
“We have to try to see how we feel if we are there.”
Richarlison’s goal, which came from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s pass, was one of two shots on target in a game where both sides failed to find any consistent rhythm.
Michael Keane’s effort was ruled out for offside while Dominic Calvert-Lewin did well to head James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick clear.
The best chances for the visitors came at the end when Moussa Djenepo fired just wide of the far post after a promising move before Jordan Pickford saved from Jannik Vestergaard, leaving Danny Ings kicking a post in frustration.
Defeat for the injury-hit Saints was an eighth in nine games as they remain seven points clear of the relegation zone.