Sean Dyche explains why Mason Holgate started for Everton amid Vitalli Mykolenko injury update

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Vitalii Mykolenko missed Everton’s loss to Manchester City because of a thigh injury.

Sean Dyche has explained why he opted to start Mason Holgate in a left-back role as Everton were defeated by Manchester City.

The Toffees remain just one point and one place above the Premier League relegation zone after their 3-0 loss against Pep Guardiola’s leaders at Goodison Park.

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Everton more than matched City for the majority of the first half before Ilkay Gundogan’s 37th-minute opener. Then Erling Haaland notched for City two minutes later before Gundogan found the back of the net with a free-kick on 51 minutes.

Vitalii Mykolenko has been first-choice left-back for most of the season. However, the Ukraine international suffered a thigh injury in training on the eve of the clash. Full-backs Seamus Coleman (knee) and Ruben Vinagre are also currently sidelined along with utility man Ben Godfrey (groin).

It meant that Holgate was the only change to the team that dispatched Brighton 5-1 in Everton’s previous game. However, the defender lasted 54 minutes against City before Dyche opted to bring on Conor Coady and switched to a three-man rearguard.

Asked why Everton didn’t deploy the wing-back system from the outset, Dyche replied: “It was such a good performance at Brighton. Mason has played full-back here before. We tried to protect him in that role and get him to stay there but it didn’t work as well as we hoped, obviously.

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“At the end of the day, it was such a good performance and a similar game plan to another high-possession side - different obviously. With all due respect to Brighton, these are another step and it’s how many times we could react on the counter. I thought we showed real signs and broke the play and when we did, we couldn’t find as much detail in our counters as we did and were effective from set-pieces again.

“Second half, it got away from us but had two big chances from corners. That was more that than anything.”

On Mykolenko’s injury, Dyche said: “We’ll wait and see. It just happened. We discussed a change of shape and everything but a player gets injured with 20 minutes to go in a session. It’s a lot to ask to change the shape when you’ve got 20 minutes to go before the end of the sessions because you’ve got a game the next day.”

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