Pickford missed Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Leeds due to a minor rib injury suffered in the previous game against Newcastle, and though Ancelotti had hoped he would recover by Saturday, he is still unavailable.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the Everton manager also ruled injured midfield duo Allan and Jean-Philippe Gbamin out of tomorrow’s game at Old Trafford:
“We have Pickford out for this game; he has not recovered yet.
“We have Allan out; he has started training with the team today.
“We have Gbamin out; [he is] following his individual programme. It’s too early to say when he will be back.”
In Pickford’s absence, Ancelotti said Robin Olsen will again start for Everton tomorrow, having excelled in Wednesday’s victory at Elland Road.
And while he said Pickford would still play again once fully fit, Ancelotti believes the on-loan Olsen will still have a role to play in Everton’s season:
“He [Olsen] had a great game [against Leeds]. He played really well and he’s going to play tomorrow because Pickford is out.
“When Pickford will be back, he is going to play like he played usually, but I think Olsen can also play some games.”
Everton face a United side who have already won twice at Goodison Park this season, and who equalled the Premier League record for a margin of victory on Tuesday by thrashing Southampton 9-0 at home.
But while Ancelotti was full of praise for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, he also pointed out that they lost their previous home match to bottom club Sheffield United, and believes that, with a different game plan to their previous meetings, Everton can hurt them tomorrow:
“We played two games against them this season; we lost both at home. We have to change something for sure, because if we follow the same way we played, I think we are going to lose. We will try to plan a different strategy, and we’ll see how it works.
“This [9-0 win] is bad news! They scored nine goals, but at the same time, the [home] game before, they lost against Sheffield United. I have to choose what to say to the players, but the players know it will be a really difficult game.
“United is a fantastic team; a team with a good mix between experience and talented young players. But I hope it will also be difficult for them to play against us.
“The mental aspect is really important. We have to try do something different, to create more problems than in the past games we played against them.”
Ancelotti shuffled his pack slightly in the Leeds victory, resting key players like Michael Keane and James Rodriguez in particular.
And he was keen stress that, at such a hectic time of the season, with Everton set to play five games in the next fortnight, rotation is necessary to keep players motivated and injury-free:
“I think all the players have difficulty understanding why they don’t play. It’s difficult, but I usually say to them that there are two reasons they don’t play.
“The first reason can be that they didn’t play well in the game before, and the second reason is to give them a rest. Usually, when you don’t play well, I’m going to tell you, but when I say nothing to you, and you don’t play, it means I want to give you a rest.
“I hope they understand, but if they don’t, they can come to me and explain this. It’s absolutely normal when there are lots of games that I decide for these two reasons to give a rest to players.
“I’m going to rotate other players tomorrow. This is a normal way to manage my squad for two reasons: to avoid injury, and to keep all the players motivated.”