The Everton players have come in for quite a bit of criticism for their continued lackadaisical play that sees the Blues circling the relegation drain with 12 games left to play in the season.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference ahead of Newcastle’s visit tomorrow, manager Frank Lampard did not go out of his way to defend his players from criticism that has been levied at his side by both fans and the media, with Jamie Carragher calling the Toffees players a ‘disgrace’ on Monday Night Football.
“It’s the players’ job to answer them on the pitch and the reality is when you’re in a position you don’t want to be — the Wolves games wasn’t a disgrace, but on an analysis level I didn’t like the Tottenham game at all — so we have to accept that people have opinions, people who care and do their jobs in the media, but the players have to answer that on the pitch, it’s the only way.
“You’ll be in these positions in a relative way as a player so many times in your career. You have to get together the players, individually, collectively, myself, and answer on the pitch.”
Has Lampard had any closed-door meetings with his players about the comments from the media?
“We’re always in conversations like that. I came into a club that was on a downward trajectory. We were heading towards the relegation zone for a long period of time. Those things don’t change overnight.
“There’s a lot of things you have to talk about, but more than that it’s how you tackle the situation in front of you. On the practical side it’s how you train and focus, and as well as you train on Tuesday morning is going to be relative to how you perform on Saturday.
“Everything has to be covered from us from this point going forward to get the results we need.”
Is the fear of relegation making the players more nervous? They certainly aren’t playing with any confidence.
“If you walk around with the fear of that happening, then there’s a good chance that it may happen. We know where we’re at. There’s no time for lies or trying to change the story, we know where we’re at.
“This is something that’s new and maybe why the nerves are creeping in, the players, the fans, but that’s human nature. It’s not a fear of what might be, it’s what can we action, what can we deal with in these 12 games in front of us.”
Lampard was also asked if he was thinking ahead to the summer and rebuilding the squad given Everton’s issues with the Premier League Profit and Sustainability rules.
“It’s a bit like having the fear of getting relegated. Why would I think of things that may happen in the summer or may not, financials I have no idea about, that are absolutely irrelevant at the moment?
“What is relevant is what we can do in the short term. I have a long term idea of course, the perfect scenario, the not-so-perfect, there are a million scenarios in football, and the big one that is affecting us now is how we perform in the next twelve games, so I don’t go any further than that.”