It would be understandable if Everton and Manchester United brush aside Wednesday’s quarter final meeting in a competition that Manchester City seem to have recently gained a god-given right to win - this would be their fourth successive triumph.
However, even if City have practically stopped celebrating their annual League Cup victory, it would mean a lot to Everton and United to claim a trophy - even the Carabao Cup.
Everton are in good form
Everton have not won a trophy since their 1995 FA Cup triumph; that will be 26 years ago when April - the new allocated month for this season’s final - comes round. They have never won this competition in its various guises and even if this league season is proving quite intriguing for those of an Everton persuasion - they are currently fourth after a week of phenomenal results - a trophy is certainly in need.
“Tomorrow is an important game, it’s a quarter final of an important competition that Everton have never won,” Carlo Ancelotti, who confirmed that James Rodriguez is ‘still unavailable’ for this game, said. “We are in a good moment and we’re going to play against a really tough opponent who beat us a few weeks ago here. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to show the momentum [we have].
“We give a lot of importance to this competition. We are two games away from a final, and it would be fantastic for us to play a final. We are going to put out the strongest team.”
Solskjaer could do with a trophy
Level on points in the league with Everton, but ahead on goal difference, is United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that his team are desperate to win this competition, or any, in fact, as he believes that those victorious moments make a team. United are without a trophy since their Europa League success in 2017 under Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer took over from Mourinho two years ago last weekend and last season led his team to semi finals in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League - all of which they lost. It is therefore a priority for the United manager to ensure his side take the next step and become a ‘winning team’.
“It’s something we’re aiming for,” he said. “We want to improve every season and to improve on last year is to get to the final. When you get to a final there is only one thing that matters: to lift the trophy.
“I remember myself winning my first trophy [and] even towards the end of my career Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic’s first [Manchester United] trophy in the Carling Cup in 2006. That was their first trophy and it does give something to a team. We are desperate to get our hands on a trophy; these players are desperate to learn how to win.”