Carlo Ancelotti Says the Tackle was Mistimed rather than Malicious
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has apologised for the injury suffered by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk during Saturday’s Merseyside derby. Liverpool assistant captain Van Dijk sustained cruciate ligament damage after a challenge by Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Everton coach Ancelotti said Pickford is “really sad” the Dutchman is injured, but denied claims that the tackle was intentional, the manager said: “To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk.” “Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well.” Pickford will face no further action for the challenge as the Football Association determined the incident was seen at the time having consulted with the match officials, including the video assistant referee.
Van Dijk’s Liverpool and Netherlands team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum described the tackle a completely stupid one but Ancelotti said it was mistimed rather than malicious. “There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact,” added the Italian. “But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later.”Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk.” the former Chelsea and Napoli coach said.
“To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this.” “Jordan is really sad, really disappointed [that Van Dijk is injured]. It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football it can happen,” he concluded.
Ancelotti also said that Everton’s Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez will miss Sunday’s trip to Southampton with an injury sustained in a challenge with Van Dijk in the opening stages of Saturday’s game at Goodison Park. Also, Everton captain Seamus Coleman will miss out after being forced off with a hamstring injury during the first half, while forward Richarlison is suspended following his red card for a late tackle on Reds midfielder Thiago Alcantara.