Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has come out in defence of his goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after his challenge on Virgil van Dijk in the Merseyside derby last weekend.

Ancelotti says that Pickford is very upset about the situation and that any talk about it being intentional is far from the truth, with the Italian saying that Van Dijk – himself – knows Pickford was trying to get the ball.

Van Dijk is set to be out for the foreseeable future after the collision with Pickford damaged his ACL. Liverpool have confirmed that he is due to undergo surgery before a lengthy recovery time.

As relayed by The Times journalist Paul Joyce, Ancelotti made his thoughts on the situation clear.

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ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT 

The FA opted against giving Pickford any retrospective ban as they decided that the officials on the day had seen the incident, meaning that The FA had no power to take it further. Van Dijk was offside during the phase of play leading to Pickford’s challenge, which is why no penalty – and a possible red card for Pickford – was given on the day.

Pickford’s eyes did appear to be on the ball, which came in the air, when he came towards Van Dijk to make the save/block but he just completely missed his target and went in on the Dutchman at knee level. It was a careless “tackle” and likely more due to poor decision making in terms of the way he went in rather than anything premeditated.

So, Ancelotti’s defence of Pickford is fair and the goalkeeper may well be upset that he has caused such serious damage to Van Dijk. It will be interesting to see if Van Dijk has anything to say about the matter in the coming months, because if he accepts Pickford’s apology then it really is case closed.

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