Everton put in an atypical flat performance that ensured the League Cup drought would go on for at least one more season.
Playing in a quarter final in Carlo Ancelotti’s first full season should have been adequate motivation for the Toffees, but after three big wins against some big sides, the clash against Manchester United proved to be a bridge too far.
“We are disappointed, of course, it was an important competition for us. But there are no regrets with the performance.
“It was a good performance, we defended well, properly. We had a difficult start but after 20 minutes the game was under control.
“We didn’t play attacking football but we needed to defend and until the last three minutes we defended well. We were good defensively until the end and were close to penalties.
“They had more control and quality, we know this. The plan was to defend well and we did, we had some opportunities with set-pieces and counter-attacks.
“That was the game we planned.”
The Italian veteran tried to put on a positive spin on the showing as a whole, which saw Edinson Cavani cut in and fire home with just three minutes left of regular time.
“We cannot say that goal was a counter-attack, it is true we left the position in midfield for Martial to receive the ball and after that there was the quality of Cavani, the control, and he scored a fantastic goal.
“The team performed, they sacrificed and worked hard, with a good spirit, we lost and we look for the next game.
“We planned the game to defend and to try to use our qualities on the counter attack. We missed some passes but we were close.”
Everton fans were irate that Cavani was even on the pitch to score, after referee Andy Madley had decided to precious little when clearly the Uruguayan striker had put his hands on the throat of Yerry Mina during a coming-together earlier in the game.
“We [Everton] didn’t talk about this at the end of the game.
“The rules are that VAR does not happen in the game and so if the referee decides that Cavani did not do anything wrong then we need to accept this. Full stop.”
Speaking of no VAR, United also got away with leveling Richarlison with the Brazilian looking like he was only semi-conscious after the collision. Bruno Fernandes appeared to push Richarlison just as Eric Bailly came steaming in and looked to have hip-checked the Everton forward right in the head.
“Richarlison is fine now. It is no problem. We are going to check in the next few days what is going on.
“Fortunately, he was ok afterwards. I think it was an unfortunate challenge. Dangerous, yes, but all of the players were at risk I think.
“Our doctor had total control of the situation and wanted to take him off. I totally agreed because it was right for the welfare of the player.”