Everton Manager Ancelotti's FA Cup Programme Notes

To appreciate how difficult it will be to achieve our goal of reaching the next round of the FA Cup we can look at the match against Rotherham United.

That was a really tough afternoon against a team from the Championship.

We did not play well, apart from in the beginning, and for a long time the game was in the balance.

Sheffield Wednesday will compete with intensity and focus. They can forget their league season for one day and try to achieve a big result which would increase their momentum.

To stop this, we need the spirit and character that is building in our team – then our quality can make the difference.

Our match against Wolverhampton Wanderers felt really important for all of us.

We were hurt by the defeat against West Ham United, our performance was missing offensive energy and with the late goal we lost one point.

I couldn’t forget everything the players did before, though, winning four matches against strong opponents.

We worked hard for a good position in the table and wanted to stay there.

When you are missing players, the job is to find a different solution.

Dominic is having a fantastic season, scoring goals but also giving a lot more to the team with his strength and speed and technical skills.

He is really good in the box and exceptional with the head.

Without him in our team there was no value in providing a lot of crosses.

Against Wolves, we attacked from the wings and Lucas and Alex did excellent jobs, especially combining for our first goal.

If you ask Lucas, he will tell you he wants to play left-back but sometimes the requirements of the team mean you go to a different position.

He sacrificed and gave a really strong performance, after working every day for six weeks to recover from a complicated injury.

We asked James and Gylfi to play in front and with their positions, they helped us have good possession in our attacking areas.

When you look, today, for how a footballer can help your team, it is not enough to be excellent in one position.

Players must be adaptable and everyone in our squad has the capabilities to help in more than one role.

The results we had this season created a good atmosphere in the training ground and the belief to win matches.

That was important after we conceded the equaliser at Wolverhampton. When the game was tight, the players still saw the possibility of taking three points.

Michael deserved the feeling of scoring the winning goal. He is having a strong season in every aspect, I didn’t see one mistake and it is pleasing to see him developing into a really important player for our club.

I want him to keep this consistency and it is the same for all the defenders.

We stayed solid in every match for two months. When you do this and have a strong spirit and professional attitude, there is always the chance to win, even when your football is not at the top.

We welcome the staff and players of Sheffield Wednesday.

There is fantastic history between Everton and Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.

I saw some film of the 1966 final after I came to the Club and I know that for Evertonians this was the biggest match at Wembley in that year.

I have been told about the third round in 1988 when there were three replays. Those stories are part of the essence of this trophy.

This match will be settled today and having a one-off tie provides more excitement, I think.

But it adds to the danger for the team expected to win. If you have a bad performance but manage to draw there is still the possibility to be punished on penalties.

Sheffield Wednesday had a tough period earlier this season but they are unbeaten in five matches.

Also, they will feel good psychologically after recovering from their points deduction to move among other teams in their division.

We are playing for the opportunity to be at home again in the next round and our objective is to not make any headlines at this stage of the competition.

Finally, it is really wonderful to see people beginning to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

For all of us, it feels like one step closer to enjoying life without restrictions.

But we are still in a critical phase of trying to combat this virus.

Please continue to follow all the guidelines and stay safe and healthy.

Enjoy the game,