Ancelotti Insists Pickford Tackle On Van Dijk Was Unintentional

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti says it was not Jordan Pickford’s intention to hurt Virgil Van Dijk and the England goalkeeper is ‘sad’ at the damage his tackle has caused the Dutchman.

Pickford’s tackle on Van Dijk in last weekend’s Merseyside derby is set to rule the Liverpool defender out for majority of the season, drawing a lot of ire from the away side.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum described Pickford’s tackle as ‘completely stupid’, in a game that also saw Richarlison also sent off for a dangerous lunge on Thiago Alcantara.

Speaking ahead of Everton’s trip to Southampton in the Premier League this weekend, Ancelotti offered a heartfelt apology to Van Dijk and insists Pickford did not intend to hurt him.

"To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk," Ancelotti told EvertonTV. "Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well.

"There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact. 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.

"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."