In a season full of slumps, Everton are currently mired in a desperate position just above the relegation zone and questions are already being asked about Frank Lampard’s suitability for the position after defeats in four of five league games since his arrival.
With just about a third of the season left to play, more and more fans are starting to be threatened by the spectre of relegation, what would Lampard say to those supporters?
“The message to the fans from my point of view is I’m very much ready for the fight and the challenge. Nothing has surprised me since coming in. You want positive results every week but the reality is that it wasn’t always going to be that way. The fans will see that in us on Sunday I’m sure in terms of how we approach the game and perform I hope.
“The message to them has to be we appreciate the support, we and I remain very optimistic and confident because I have belief in the team, but the reality is we need results.
“I’m not going to sit here and kid the fans, the position is what it is but what we have to show is the fight and the character to stay in the league as a base, and perform at a level that wins us games.”
Lampard was also asked if he had a points total in mind for safety this season, especially since it’s looking like the traditional 40 point mark would be well higher than needed.
“I don’t think you can, that would be relevant to what everyone else does. We have to be in a position where we consider the next game is the most important thing, to get points, to get confidence, to roll into the next games.
“We have a lot of games, a lot of points to play for, there’s thirteen league games. We shouldn’t get too caught up in the end picture, the table changes very quickly with a couple of wins, a couple of defeats, our focus can only be on the next one.”
Of the four league games played yesterday, three went in Everton’s favour with teams around or below them continuing to drop points, and it’s looking like it’ll be between the Toffees, Brentford, Burnley, and Leeds United to go down along with Norwich City and Watford. Has Lampard been watching the other games?
“It was my son’s first birthday yesterday, which has flown by, so I was kind of juggling, as we do as parents, all of us at times – he’s not that aware of his birthday obviously – to do the family thing but watch the games of course.
“There’s a balance to it. I think sometimes it’s a case of understanding you can’t control it and you don’t need to watch but we’re obviously playing against Wolves at the weekend so that was a big focus of mine in terms of their game and having a view on Wolves.
“It’s all about us, a huge deal is about us. We know those points are there for us to go and get and take and we’ll be okay but of course you have an eye on everybody else.”
The manager acknowledged that there was still quite a bit of work to be done with his squad, especially regarding their mental fragility, something that has plagued this side going back to when David Moyes left.
“It’s a big part of the job, simple as that. As a manager I’ve felt that there’s a certain element of football is around the tactics and how you prepare, and there’s another huge part of how you get the players to feel in the environment, and within that is confidence.
“Generally, when things are great and everyone is winning, you just keep an eye on it, when results aren’t so good of course you are going to be affected. As a staff you have to try and inject confidence, show clarity, and let the players know you’re there in terms of support.
“This world is so cut-throat now in terms of reactions, and social media and all that, and the players do need support. They’re all in there trying to do their best for the club, trying to make sure we stay up, trying to enhance their own personal careers for sure, but also they all have a deep care for this club. I can see that, so it’s just tapping into that the right way and hopefully we’ll see it in the results.”