I say it every year, you should take every competition very seriously.

It's no different with Everton preparing to face Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup this week.

We know it's not going to be our strongest 11. We know that some of the players we've brought in might need a bit of respite because the Premier League is a different level on your body and pre-season hasn't been the best.

But you've got to be careful of your main players and protect them.

It's also an opportunity for your fringe players to get 90 minutes. If it comes to it in later weeks where we need to call upon these players, we need them to be match fit and ready to win us football matches.

There were a few standout performances against Salford City that I think Carlo Ancelotti would have been really happy with. I think Anthony Gordon in particular did really well and was so unlucky not to get himself a goal.

It's a massive opportunity for these players.

I've said it before but when you look at other clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea when Jose Mourinho came, the first trophy they won was the League Cup.

As soon as you win silverware, it finally clicks for how you can go on and win more. You naturally pick up that winning mentality, you get that adrenaline rush.

We've let ourselves down in the past but this is a different Everton and a different journey.

The reason we brought Ancelotti and these players to the club was to win silverware. They've been sold that Everton are on a journey and they've come here to play for us, they could have gone elsewhere.

We got Ancelotti to attract these players, to attract silverware and to give us our best opportunity for success in the future.

It's a very important game for us on Wednesday and we've got to keep this momentum up. When you're winning, people are smiling and people are going to work harder for you.

Long may it continue but we've still got to do the dirty work and that was what was promising about the West Bromwich Albion game. When the going got tough, the lads stood up and were counted.

When you get these world class players with that winning mentality, you've got to hope that will bleed through to the rest of the squad as well.

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The draw seems pretty favourable for us so far, but you've still got to earn the right to progress in this competition.

Ancelotti will be pushing anyone who gets their opportunity, just like he did against Salford, and challenging them to show him what they can do.

A few players probably let him down last week, but it's a big chance for the fringe players to show they want to be a part of this football club. They want to be fighting for the shirt - they want to do a job for themselves, the team and for Ancelotti himself.

Especially with other teams doing well around us and spending a lot of money, we've got a chance to hopefully get fans back in and reward them with a trip to Wembley.

It's still early days yet, and the sad thing is that the fans aren't there to see the quality we've brought in so far, but hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

This match is massive in my opinion.