Ancelotti backs goalkeeper Virginia with Pickford, Olsen out injured

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LONDON: Everton will be without injured goalkeepers Jordan Pickford and Robin Olsen for Saturday’s FA Cup quarterfinal with Manchester City but manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday that youngster Joao Virginia is a capable replacement.

Portuguese Virginia made his Premier League debut when he replaced Pickford in the first half of last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Burnley after the England international injured himself while attempting to make a save.

Olsen, who joined Everton on loan from Roma last year, has not played since their 2-0 defeat by Fulham last month as he nurses a knock and Ancelotti was asked if the absence of his senior goalkeepers was a cause for concern.

“No I’m not worried, because Joao is young, a goalkeeper without experience, but he has a lot of quality. I’m not worried for the absence of the two goalkeepers,” Ancelotti told a news conference.

“I’m not complaining for the players that are not available. It’ll be a difficult game, but I don’t think it’s an easy game for City. They have better quality than us, but I’m sure they will have a difficult game.

“It’s a knockout, a really important game. We have a big desire to go forward in this competition. I have confidence as usual, above all in this type of game. We are focused, we are concentrated.”

Guardiola echoed Ancelotti’s words and said City will not take their opponents lightly.

“Every competition is hard… I know how important this competition is,” Guardiola said. “We know how difficult it is to beat Everton… It’s a final tomorrow.

“The quality of the players is there – no doubts about that. They’re fighting for qualification for the Champions League – that shows how good they have been.” – Reuters





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