Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti says injury 'emergency' is dictating formation

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti opted to play three centre-backs in last weekend's defeat to Leeds with first choice full-backs Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne out injured; Everton have won just one of their last six Premier League matches

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti 0:32
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti says his side's switch to playing three centre-backs is due to an injury 'emergency', as opposed to a tactical choice

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admits his switch to playing three central defenders is an "emergency" situation imposed on him because of injuries.

The Italian will be without both first-choice full-backs - Seamus Coleman (hamstring) and Lucas Digne (ankle) - for the trip to Burnley so is likely to persist with his 3-4-3 formation.

In last weekend's defeat at home to Leeds, he utilised midfielders Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi in the wing-back positions but accepts that will only be a temporary measure as he prefers 4-3-3.

"I think it's an emergency because we have two important players in Coleman and Digne out. It is only for this reason," he said.

preview image 3:02
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds’ win at Everton in the Premier League

"We have the quality in the squad to play also with three centre-backs, because we have a lot of good centre-backs, but I think it's a moment.

"The fact that we can play with three or four is good for us."

Despite the absence of Digne, who could be sidelined for up to three months after surgery this week, Ancelotti chose not to play his only naturally left-footed defensive player Niels Nkounkou against Marcelo Bielsa's side.

Also See:

The Italian said the 20-year-old still has things to learn after leaving him out of his squad altogether.

"Nkounkou was not in the squad because I have 11 players, I decided to put Iwobi on the left. The squad is really big," he added.

Niels Nkounkou could be in line for more Premier League appearances in Digne's absence
Image: Niels Nkounkou was left out of Everton's squad to face Leeds

"He's still young, he needs more experience, he needs to work more. But I am honestly satisfied for what he is doing.

"He will have time in the next game because we have a lot of games. The fact we played with two midfielders (as wing-backs), I think we have good cover because usually the two midfielders have the help of one of the centre-backs to cover the position behind them."

Having enjoyed the best start to a season in over 100 years, Everton are currently in a slump of just one win in their last six matches.

With the likes of Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City to play in December the trip to Turf Moor is significant for a variety of reasons.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Manager Carlo Ancelotti of Everton looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Everton at Selhurst Park on September 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) 1:09
Ancelotti says football will once again be a better spectacle with the limited return of supporters in grounds

"Of course the result was not good against Leeds, but it was an open game. We want to stay attached to the top of the table so it will be important to have a result tomorrow," Ancelotti said, who will mark his one-year anniversary at the club on Boxing Day.

"This season, there is a lot of competition in front. We are still in front, we want to stay attached and prepare well for the second part of the season. We are where we want to be in this moment."

Explained: Everton's season of two halves

Ten games, five points off top and two away from the Champions League places. If you offered that to Everton before a ball had been kicked, they would have probably bitten your hand off.

And yet, there's mounting concern surrounding Goodison Park that Everton's season may be tailing off no sooner after it has started.

Everton won their opening seven games in all competitions but Saturday's defeat to Leeds means they have collected just four points from the previous 18 available.

Download the latest Pitch to Post podcast | Subscribe

The Toffees were the focus on the latest Regional Review on the latest episode of the Pitch to Post Podcast, as Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers tried to get to the bottom of Everton's campaign of contrast.

Win £250,000 for free with Super 6!

Win £250,000 for free with Super 6!

Do not miss your chance to land the £250,000 in Saturday's Super 6 round. Play for free, entries by 3:00pm.

Around Sky