Hello and welcome to coverage of Everton vs Fulham in the Premier League.
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.”
Scott Parker wants Fulham to be a club the fans can be proud of both on and off the pitch.
The Cottagers travel to Everton on Sunday looking for their first ever Premier League win at Goodison Park and bidding to narrow the eight-point gap to safety.
On Thursday Fulham co-owner Tony Khan explained on Twitter the reasons why Fulham were unable to sign striker Ivan Toney, who would instead end up joining Brentford from Peterborough last August.
Khan mentioned Financial Fair Play and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in his replies to supporters.
Cottagers boss Parker attempted to distance himself from Khan’s comments, and referred only to his own objectives since he took the reins at Craven Cottage two years ago.
“Firstly, I would never want to comment on another player who was at another club so I’m not going to do that,” he said.
“I also wouldn’t want to comment on how we go about things or what our decisions are as a football club and as an organisation, in terms of what takes place.
“I took over two years ago and the club was in a little bit of a mess in that sense.
“My sole purpose at that moment was to bring some pride back into the club while also understanding that I want this to be an elite football club and an elite organisation.
“The standards I drive with my staff and players are exactly aiming to do that.
“I think I’ve learned I can’t control what comes from the outside. At times it’s not helpful. It isn’t, because I want people to perceive us as a club that is world class in everything we do.
“On the field, I always endeavour to make the team bring energy and enthusiasm, that they’re a team our fans are proud of. Also off the pitch as well. That starts with me.”