Carlo Ancelotti not panicking as he looks to shore up Everton defence

Carl Markham, PA
·2-min read

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admits he will have to do some work on their defensive structure but is not too concerned about conceding goals while they are still scoring them.

In their last two matches seven goals have been put past Robin Olsen, standing in for the injured Jordan Pickford, but Ancelotti’s side have still managed to snatch an added-time point at Manchester United and progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The Italian has always edged towards keeping things tight at the back but knows there is a balance to be struck if they are to achieve their first aim of European qualification.

A minor hamstring injury means the Toffees will be without leading scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with 13 Premier League goals, for the visit of Fulham and even though their next-best goalscorer James Rodriguez (five) returns, there may be a need to redress their leaky backline issues.

“I would more worried if we conceded seven and didn’t score,” said Ancelotti.

“I think we had problems where we usually didn’t have a problem on set-pieces.

“We practically conceded three goals against Tottenham, one goal from a set-piece against Manchester United. Usually we are solid and strong.

“We have tall players who are good with their head – Yerry Mina, Michael Keane, Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison – but we had this problem and we have to adjust a little bit some positions and we are going to do that.

“Also I think we try to play an open game, this is the reason we conceded a lot, it is true, but we also scored a lot.

“We tried to play an open game against United and the strategy was not just to defend and counter-attack, it was to play from the back and use our quality with James and Andre Gomes.”

Everton have taken just one point from their last three home matches with the 2-0 defeat to struggling Newcastle a fortnight ago coming as something of a shock to Ancelotti.

The Toffees boss is keen to avoid another unpleasant experience against a team who started the weekend in the bottom three.

“The last league game we played at home was a defeat, a surprise, we don’t want surprises against Fulham, while knowing it is a difficult game for a lot of reasons,” he added.

“We are not far from the first four places and our target is to stay there.

“Fulham, in my opinion, are playing really good football – with courage and intensity. We have to pay attention in this kind of game.”