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Frank Lampard frustrated with officials after Mitrovic escapes red card in Everton draw

The Fulham striker was only booked for a late challenge on Idrissa Gueye

Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Frank Lampard declared himself satisfied with Everton’s performance in Saturday’s goalless draw at Fulham, but felt Cottagers striker Alexsandar Mitrovic was lucky to stay on the pitch for a late challenge on Idrissa Gueye.

Mitrovic was only booked for a stamp on Gueye’s ankle during the first half that could have easily caused serious injury.

VAR did check the incident but deemed it only worthy of a yellow as the tackle came from a short distance so lacked intensity and impact.

Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

It was a similar type of studs-up challenge that Virgil van Dijk inflicted on Amadou Onana in September’s Merseyside derby which also only resulted in a yellow card.

The last player to be sent off against Everton was West Brom’s Kieran Gibbs in September 2020 - more than two years and 100 games ago.

Speaking to BBC Sport about the Mitrovic tackle, Lampard said:

“It was a red card for Mitrovic, I have nothing against him but he knew, he put his arm up straight away. VAR is there to deal with these things. Last year our midfielder Allan got a yellow, it was upgraded to red and he got a four-game ban. It was nowhere near as forceful as that one tonight. It was a red card and we haven’t had those decisions this year.”

Asked about the incident on Sky Sports, he added:

“It’s a challenge you see red cards given for. We should get that decision. I love Mitrovic, I’m not saying there was intent but it’s frustrating. That would change the game. If the referee does his job with consistency it’s a red card. It could have injured Idrissa Gana Gueye.”

Reflecting on the performance Lampard was pleased with the point as he felt his side did not quite hit the heights they achieved against Crystal Palace last week.

They created a handful of decent chances in the first half but offered little as an attacking threat after the break, relying on their new-found defensive resilience to secure a point.

Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Fulham, in contrast, had 24 shots at goal, with 10 of those coming from Mitrovic alone. It certainly felt like the sort of game they would have lost last season.

“I will take that. We got a lot of credit last week and today we were not at that level. Last year we would lose that game so there is progress, but I want more.

“Fulham have got an individual up front [Mitrovic] who is big, he holds it and they play off him and create momentum. People get excited by one performance last week but I don’t. We are still in that process. It’s a long road and we are in the early stages of it.

“Every game is a different challenge, we are in a process of keeping working and improving. The good news is that last year we would have lost that game - by a couple of goals. Now we have the resilience to block things and get in front of things.”

Lampard also praised Jordan Pickford after the England No.1 made a number of key saves to deny the Cottagers. He also believes Conor Coady and James Tarkowski reinforced their international credentials with another solid display.

“Jordan Pickford has been great, he’s top-level. Last week he had his feet up, this week he did his job. We are delighted to have him.

“Conor’s been in England conversation as a regular but now people are talking about Tarky and rightly so but it’s Gareth’s [Southgate] choice. They’ve been instrumental in positive changes.”

Fulham FC v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images