Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti refused to blame goalkeeper Jordan Pickford for the two goals conceded which made their 5-2 Carabao Cup win at League One Fleetwood more difficult than it should have been.
Pickford’s judgement was at fault for both of the hosts’ goals, first dithering over a clearance which was eventually charged down for Mark Duffy to make it 2-1 and then changing his mind over a cross and failing to keep out Callum Camps’ overhead kick straight at him for 3-2.
Everton were grateful for the 2-0 lead given to them by goals from Richarlison, with Bernard and Moise Kean eventually securing a fourth-round home tie with West Ham.
“I think the first goal it was not any individual mistakes, we passed the ball back to Jordan and it was a really difficult ball,” said the Italian.
“We could have behaved differently, so we didn’t do that well. Of course you have to improve there.
“You want to build up from the back but when there is not risk. If it is risky it is not good, we can concede a goal like we did tonight and it is a good lesson for the future.
“I didn’t speak to him (Pickford). I have to speak with the players that were involved when we were building up. He was not the only one, Jordan.”
Boyhood Evertonian and Fleetwood boss Joey Barton had mixed emotions as he was pleased his side made a game of it but accepted there was a huge gulf in class that they were always struggling to bridge.
“We had a 18-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old at centre-back. We never had any ball but we knew that would be the case,” he said.
“We then gave them a goal and they got the second goal. We adjusted at half-time, brought Duffy on and then we got a gift by closing the keeper down.
“Then we shoot ourselves in the foot by conceding in a few minutes and then we got back into it again – but they have the quality to pick you off on the counter.
“I am pleased we made it into a cup tie because at half-time it looked like being a long 45 minutes.”
On having to face a strong team which included five who started in the Premier League on Saturday, Barton added: “I am delighted with that because it shows Everton are taking the competition seriously.
“It pays us enormous respect that they turned up and played in the correct manner, especially when you look at the gulf in class at both clubs. 5-2 probably flatters them at the end but they were way above us tonight.”