Everton will seek some mid-season break tonic when they take on Celtic in the Sydney Super Cup on Sunday.
It has been a difficult few days for the Toffees after those two bruising defeats at Bournemouth.
It left Everton slumped perilously close to the relegation zone going into the World Cup winter break, with the future of the manager once again up for debate.
For what it’s worth I’m in the Lampard in camp – for now. We have burned through so many managers in recent years I fear more upheaval would do more harm than good.
Lampard has certainly made a few mistakes in recent weeks and performances do need to improve, but I still think he has enough credit in the bank to have the chance to turn things around.
The January window will of course be important given the anaemic-looking attack. But this break could also be vital to give Lampard and the coaching staff time to work on some new ideas.
It is also a good chance to get away from the Merseyside pressure cooker for a bit. Things did look close to boiling point at the Vitality Stadium so a bit of time apart will benefit everyone.
Some positive results and performances down under will also help. Otherwise their could find things are still pretty hot upon their return.
The Sydney Super Cup is something of a homecoming party of Celtic’s Australian coach Ange Postecoglou, who has thrived since taking over the Glasgow giants at the start of last season.
He was something of a surprise choice given he had never managed in Europe before, but he managed to snatch the title back from rivals Rangers, the 52nd Scottish championship in their history.
They go into the World Cup break in buoyant mood too, with a nine-point lead at the top of the table and a place in the League Cup semi-finals. The only ploy on the copy book was a difficult Champions League campaign that saw them finish bottom of their group with just two pints.
In fact Postecoglou has done so well he has been linked with the Everton job should the Toffees dispense with Lampard.
Rangers meanwhile were originally due to take part in the Sydney Super Cup but withdrew after a furious reaction from their fans, who felt their side would be playing second fiddle to Celtic and Postecoglou in his home country.
Things have got off to an inauspicious start for Celtic however, with the Hoops slipping to a 2-1 defeat to Sydney FC in their tournament opener.
Everton will be without Conor Coady, Jordan Pickford, Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye as they are on World Cup duty with their countries.
Alex Iwobi and Seamus Coleman also miss out as they have been on international duty with Nigeria and Ireland respectively.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is sidelined with shoulder and knee injuries, while Andros Townsend is still recovering from a knee problem of his own.
Former Rangers defender Nathan Patterson is available though after withdrawing from the Scotland squad.
What they said
Everton boss Frank Lampard: “When you take this job you understand that talk is going to come, particularly if you take on a job like Everton, and where we were last season.
“There’s a bit of a process to try to get us back to where we want to be.
“The Premier League’s so competitive it means that you go through these patches.
“I’m pretty good at not paying too much attention to [future rumours], just understanding what it is.
“You go from one week from being best manager in the world after an amazing result to [the opposite] – it can go both ways.
“It’s fine. I’m fortunate to do the job I do, and I’m fortunate to have had a really long playing career. It gives me good context. I try to stay pretty level-headed.”
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou: “We just want to put on a good performance we want to finish off strong before having eight or nine days away which will be great for them, and then we get back to work.
“I’m sure Frank Lampard and Everton will similarly be getting away from the Premier League cauldron and enjoying their football. They will be up for it and we hope it’s a good game for everyone.”
It is a friendly so the result doesn’t technically matter. But a decent result would calm everybody down – for now.