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Relief for Ancelotti after FA decision

Lucas Digne’s three-game suspension has been reduced to one

Southampton v Everton - Premier League - St Mary’s Stadium Photo by Frank Augstein/PA Images via Getty Images

Everton left back Lucas Digne has seen his automatic three-game suspension reduced to just one game after an appeal by the club to the Football Association.

The Frenchman had been sent off by referee Kevin Friend against Southampton for a tackle on Kyle Walker-Peters, with the independent Regulatory Commission agreeing with the club that the three-game ban that came with the direct red would be “excessive punishment”.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti had vocally expressed his frustration immediately after the game, suggesting “the red card is a joke”, and that the media furore enveloping the Toffees following the Merseyside Derby was driving the narrative to punish his side.

“The red card was a joke, it was not intentional, for sure it was not violent. Maybe it was a yellow. He was running behind and he had contact with the ankle of the opponent.

“He did not have intention to hurt the player or use violent conduct. It was not the right decision.

“Maybe all this talk all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision and if so it’s not right, it’s not fair. We will appeal, for sure.”

Ancelotti will now only lose Digne for next Sunday’s game against Newcastle while another suspended player Richarlison is out for this weekend and the next fixture against Manchester United.

The full FA statement read -

“An independent Regulatory Commission has upheld a claim of clearly excessive punishment in relation to Everton FC’s Lucas Digne.

“The defender was sent off for serious foul play during a Premier League fixture against Southampton FC on Sunday 25 October 2020 and would have been suspended for three fixtures.

“However, the independent Regulatory Commission has withdrawn his original suspension and applied a one-match suspension instead.”

Summer signing Niels Nkounkou should get the start at left back after a number of encouraging performances earlier in the season in the Carabao Cup, while Ancelotti continues to figure out how to spark his side following the limp display on the South Coast.