By Adefunmiloye Alani

11th Jan, 2022 | 8:00pm

Abdoulaye Doucoure: Everton play better with Andre Gomes in three-man midfield

Abdoulaye Doucoure has told Liverpool Echo that Everton play better whenever Andre Gomes comes on and features in a three-man midfield.

The Frenchman has been one of the Toffees’ best players in 2021-22, playing a key role to their brilliant start to the campaign before injury struck.

The Goodison Park outfit have largely struggled since then, with just a win to their name in their last 11 Premier League games, and Doucoure reckons playing with more men in the middle of the park could change their fortunes.

He told ECHO: “I think sometimes when you play a three, especially some games where Andre came on, I think we played much better because we have more possession in midfield and have more numbers in the middle sometimes.

“I don’t think it’s coincidence, I think when you play a three sometimes it’s better.

“But of course sometimes a two is quite good as well, but it depends on the game really. I like to play in both a three and a two.

“It doesn’t bother me to play in that shape. I think I have both [defensive and offensive responsibility].

“Especially against Chelsea for example, we weren’t on the ball too much so I had to be compact with my team and with Andre in the midfield this time.

“I needed to be more responsible on the defensive side, but of course I could break forward sometimes and I think I made one or two runs during the game.”

True?

Rafa Benitez has often deployed a midfield duo, with Allan and Doucoure his first-choice pairing.

A return of five wins and nine losses in 18 games is simply not good enough for Everton, and just maybe it is high time the Spanish manager switched things up.

One of his players has noticed how better they play with a three-man midfield, with Gomes often making the difference, and Benitez should be looking to get the Portugal international, 28, more involved in action.

The former Barcelona man has only featured in seven league games so far this term, starting just twice.

Given how impressive he has been in those few appearances, Gomes should be playing more, and that could prove to be the answer to their struggles.

Everton headed into the campaign with eyes on one of the European berths, but that is looking unlikely right now, and they could find themselves in a relegation battle if nothing changes.

Some quality additions to the squad this month and a slight tweak in their playing pattern could be key to getting their campaign back on track.

In other Everton news, the Toffees are plotting January loan-to-buy bid for centre-mid hailed by Jack Grealish last month.

Be sure to follow Goodison News on Facebook and Twitter for 24/7 updates on Everton and more exclusive interviews with Kevin Campbell.