Carlo Ancelotti has discussed his options following Lucas Digne’s ankle injury, as Everton prepare for the visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘dynamic’ Leeds side this weekend.
Everton were dealt a major blow following the news that Digne has suffered ankle ligament damage during a training session this week, with the France international set to undergo surgery before an extended period on the sidelines.
Digne has impressed this season with his four Premier League assists bettered by only two players across the division, his absence reducing Everton’s attacking threat and leaving the club short on cover at left-back.
Niels Nkounkou would be the favourite to replace Digne despite the youngster’s lack of experience, whilst Ancelotti suggested that both Jonjoe Kenny and Alex Iwobi – the latter deployed in an unfamiliar wing-back role during last weekend’s win at Fulham – could provide alternative solutions.
“During a season, it can happen that you lose some important players and we have to manage this situation,” said Ancelotti at his pre-match press conference.
“I think we will be able to adapt to the loss of Lucas Digne. We have a good squad, good substitutes in that position.
Just Big Thank you for all your messages 💙 I will be back quick as I can 🙏 See you soon in Goodison 🏟 Nil Satis Nisi Optimum 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/icuuG9sEsu
— Lucas Digne (@LucasDigne) November 26, 2020
“Nkounkou doesn’t have experience in the Premier League but showed good quality in the game he played. He is young but has a lot of quality
“We have Jonjoe Kenny on the right, we have the possibility to substitute and we will try.
“Three centre-backs can be an option. Alex Iwobi can play on the left as a wing-back without a problem.”
Ancelotti spoke of his desire to improve Everton’s defensive record with no side in the Premier League’s top half having conceded more than their 16 goals, ahead of a meeting with a Leeds side who have regularly attacked with intent this season.
The Italian was full of praise for the dynamism and ‘intensity’ of this weekend’s visitors and admits he is expecting an ‘open match at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
“We have to be concerned because we conceded too many goals, from my point of view,” he added. “We are working on this.
“We scored a lot of goals and were efficient and our strikers did really well. But we conceded too much and have to avoid this. We need to have balance.
“Leeds is a dynamic team. It will be an open match, I think, with a lot of intensity. All Marcelo Bielsa teams are like Leeds, they keep high intensity with and without the ball and we expect this kind of game.”