Sean Dyche explains why he deployed 4-4-2 formation in Everton’s loss to Fulham

Everton suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Fulham in the Premier League.

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Sean Dyche has explained why he deployed a 4-4-2 formation in Everton’s loss to Fulham.

The Toffees suffered a blow in their pursuit of Premier League survival after a 3-1 defeat by the London outfit at Goodison Park on Saturday. Everton were second-best for much of the clash and remain only outside the relegation zone on goal difference.

Since succeeding Frank Lampard as manager at the end of January, Dyche has primarily favoured a 4-5-1 system. But he opted for 4-4-2 in a 2-0 reverse away to Manchester United last week and stuck with that set-up against Fulham. But rather than Ellis Simms featuring in attack, Neal Maupay was instead restored to the line-up.

Everton improved after they reverted to 4-5-1 having gone a goal down to Harrison Reed’s strike, with Dwight McNeil levelling in the 35th minute. But second-half goals from Harry Wilson and Dan James piled the pressure on the Blues in their survival bid.

Dyche admitted that the unavailability of Dominic Calvert-Lewin (hamstring) and Amadou Onana (groin) - as well as Abdoulaye Doucoure serving the second of a three-match suspension - is why he

The Everton boss said: “You may have noticed we have got some injuries. We’re trying to be effective, trying to get the balance of defending and scoring goals. We’re just searching for that and how many different ways can you search for it.”

Everton ended the first half on top of Fulham, with Neal Maupay spurning two good chances.

Dyche felt the Toffees also started the second period the better team but let their heads drop when Wilson restored the visitors’ lead on 51 minutes.

Asked what he said to his Everton players at half-time, Dyche said: “About building on the last 20 minutes or so in the first half because there were a lot of good signs, good energy and the quality. We had some really good play and effective play and kept them to a minimum. They had a fast start but kept them to minimal for a large part of the first half, 25 minutes really.

“The second half, we actually started quite brightly but the goal defused us and that can’t happen because at the end of the day, there’s been a shift of mentality and today it reverted back to before we were here because I’ve seen the games and a goal went in and it looks lackadaisical - that can’t happen.

“Credit to them, they took the game and ironically they had the opposite. They lost their way playing in the last 25 minutes, certainly 20 minutes, we created chances, looked nice at solid. The second half, we started brightly, they score a goal and they change the opposite way. They stepped on, tried to grip the game and it was better than us.”