Everton Women boss Willie Kirk says Carlo Ancelotti congratulatory message after FA Cup win shows 'family feel'

Ancelotti and Everton director of football Marcel Brands sent their congratulations to Kirk after the women's side beat Chelsea in the FA Cup

Players of Everton celebrate at full time after victory in the Women's FA Cup Quarter Final match between Everton FC and Chelsea FC at Goodison Park on September 27, 2020 0:24
Everton Women manager Willie Kirk reflects on his side's win over Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final and says the result proves they can compete with the top teams

Everton Women manager Willie Kirk says Carlo Ancelotti's congratulatory message after his side reached the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday was a "nice touch" and epitomises the "family feel" at the club.

Kirk guided his team to a 2-1 victory over Chelsea - unbeaten since January 2019 in the Women's Super League - at Goodison Park at the weekend following goals from Lucy Graham and summer-signing Valerie Gauvin.

Ancelotti posted on Twitter that the club were "proud" of their achievements following the win, and Kirk revealed Everton director of football Marcel Brands also sent his congratulations.

"Obviously [the message from Ancelotti] made it public," Kirk said.

"I had nice messages from David Unsworth and Marcel Brands, but from within a week of being in the club there was a real family feel.

"I think everyone has recognised Everton as that type of club for decades. It's no surprise that we congratulate each other but for Carlo to take the time to do that was a nice touch."

The thrilling success over Chelsea sustained Everton's perfect start to the season, with the Toffees having also won their opening two Women's Super League matches.

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They face Birmingham in the last four on Wednesday after they hit back from successive league defeats to see off Brighton on penalties in their quarter-final clash.

Everton Chelsea FA Cup
Image: Valerie Gauvin (centre) of Everton celebrates with team-mates after scoring her side's second goal against Chelsea

Kirk admits Everton will approach the game as favourites but believes his team have the mental strength to handle the growing expectations surrounding the club.

"Everyone feels confident and focused," he said. "There's an exciting prospect of going to a Wembley final, but we all understand there's a job in hand first.

"The preparation is the same as it was for Chelsea. There's a different type of pressure but the players have to be ready to deal with that expectation.

"In the quarter-final, internally, we felt we could win. Externally, people probably thought Chelsea would win.

Manchester City are the current Women's FA Cup holders 0:46
Former England forward Sue Smith believes Everton and Manchester City will contest this year's Women's FA Cup final

"The players have to take responsibility on their shoulders. I'm very confident against Birmingham there will not be any [complacency].

"That would be such a waste of good work that we did on Sunday. We don't have that type of player. We have got a motivated squad who are desperate to get to that final.

"That's what we're focused on and we know if we don't show up, it'll be Birmingham that progress and not us."

Everton are aiming to get to their first FA Cup final since 2014, and last won the competition in 2010. The other semi-final sees Arsenal face Manchester City on Thursday.

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