On a rainy evening on the northwestern seacoast, Everton overcame a couple of hiccups in the second half to prevail 5-2 against Fleetwood Town, their second consecutive similar scoreline after dispatching West Bromwich Albion by the same margin on Saturday in the Premier League.
Carlo Ancelotti decided to play it safer and not send out a completely different lineup from that which took to the pitch over the weekend, making six changes instead of the ten last week against Salford City.
Leading comfortably at 2-0 at the break, a couple of errors, mostly attributable to Jordan Pickford twice allowed the hosts to pull back within a goal, before the Blues extended their lead with well-taken late goals.
“I think the first goal was not an individual mistake because we passed the ball back to Jordan, it was a really difficult ball and we could behave differently.
“Of course you have to improve there. We want to build up from the back, but when there’s no risk. If it’s risky it’s no good because we can concede a goal like we did. It can be a good lesson for the future.
“I didn’t speak to him and, as I said, I have to speak with players that were involved when we build-up. Jordan was not the only one.”
After lambasting Yerry Mina for his error last weekend, the Italian manager appears to have let Pickford off the hook for the first goal at least while not acknowledging that he could have done better with the second, with the shot coming right at him.
Ancelotti also added that he went with a stronger lineup having understood that the Fishermen would pose more of a challenge than Salford last week.
“I chose this line-up because it could be a dangerous game, so I didn’t want to make all the changes as I did last week.
“I think the performance was good. The first half we had a good start, we scored two goals with good attacking football and the second half we didn’t start so well, we were a little bit lazy and we conceded two goals.”
The Blues’ newly-formed habit of dropping off the intensity when in the lead came back to bite them again.
“It was a good performance, in general, and a very good first half, with good spirit, good football and good concentration.
“The second half was more difficult, we didn’t start well and conceded the goal. After that we were a little bit worried. But at the end the performance was quite good.
“The squad is doing well, there is a good atmosphere on the training ground. They are working with intensity and focus.
“The quality of football up front is good and we have fantastic strikers. The moment is good and we have to make all the effort we can to keep this momentum.”
MIdfielder Fabian Delph returned to action for the first time in nearly six months, and had an encouraging day in the Allan role, and even had a couple of excellent raking diagonals behind the backline, one of which led to a Richarlison goal.
“Fabian adds experience and knowledge. He is a really important player, with experience of playing at the top level.
“It was a comfortable performance for him and he did well. He was comfortable on the pitch and helped his teammates.”
The Blues move into the Fourth Round of the competition, and will host West Ham United at Goodison Park next week.
“We want to be there until the end of this competition. It is a short competition, important, we are happy to be there and want to continue to be there.
“It will not be easy. But now we will focus on the Premier League. We started well and have an important game on Saturday.”