The Everton fans have been incredible over the last few weeks, and if indeed the Blues climb out of relegation trouble at the end of the season, a lot of credit should go to the supporters who have dragged the team to safety.
While the fans have made their presence known at Goodison Park creating a loud and raucous atmosphere when the Blues have been at home, this last weekend saw the traveling support create a similar intense environment away from home where they have struggled the most this season.
From sending off the players in a festive manner from Finch Farm on Saturday afternoon to cheering the team on at the King Power Stadium and then staying back to celebrate only the Blues’ second away league win of the season long after the final whistle blew, the supporters have absolutely stepped it up in an unprecedented manner.
Speaking after the game, manager Frank Lampard acknowledged the huge part the fans have played recently in boosting a flagging team, even coming back out a second time to thank the traveling support.
“They’re amazing and what they did for us yesterday [at the training ground] is not the norm… I have never experienced anything like it. The support from the warm-up, right until the end of the game was incredible. I went back out there because they are incredible and they need to know how we feel about them.
“They push you over the line, we don’t take it for granted. But we know it’s not done, we are not celebrating anything but three points and we have work still to do. The lads are fighting and we are fighting together as a club.
“Generally, at Goodison we’ve been great but our away form had held us back. The important thing [in overcoming away hurdle] was the Club and players sticking together and players coming back from injury. We have Watford in three days and everybody need to reproduce those levels.”
The Toffees Frank Lampard— Everton (@Everton) May 8, 2022
Mutual appreciation long after everyone else had gone. pic.twitter.com/7miPrZD6q3
Vitalii Mykolenko finally got his first goal for the Blues, putting them ahead after just six minutes with a fantastic volley from the edge of the box. The Ukraine international had come close to scoring at least a couple of times before yesterday but this time his perfectly-timed shot found the low corner past Kasper Schmeichel’s despairing dive.
The full back ended up having to leave the game in the second half with what looked like a pull of some kind, but Lampard said that he hoped it was just a cramp.
“I don’t expect those ones much, the ones out the blue. It’s just an incredible strike and it flew in and I’m really pleased for him.
“He’s been playing so well and for all that’s been going on for him coming to the country and the Premier League and what’s going on back home for him, he’s dealt with it incredibly.
“Playing top-level football and an amazing goal for him and it was great to get ourselves in front and get a nice feeling early in the game. With Myko, we hope it was just cramp. It would be a result if that is the case.”
Leicester looked to have pegged Everton back with the equalizer following a calamitous collision between Yerry Mina and Seamus Coleman led to Patson Daka slotting home. The towering central defender ended up having to leave the game soon after, and Lampard tried to stay positive about his injury status, before commending the players on their resilience.
“Yerry had a small feeling in his calf. We don’t know [how bad it is yet]. Hopefully it isn’t a tear. He felt it in his calf, so he had to come off. We’re hoping it’s not a high-level injury and we can keep him involved in the next two weeks. He will have a scan tomorrow [Monday].
“I’m proud with how the players reacted to conceding. They kept going. They were excellent. I think we’re building confidence.
Pickford was the unanimous man of the match against Chelsea last Sunday making a string of spectacular saves, but then topped that performance against Leicester with another few saves, parrying away two shots from Harvey Barnes as well as another from Nampalys Mendy. The England #1 is certainly doing his fair share of lifting as the Blues are trying to clamber up the table to safety.
“Moments like Jordan’s saves are huge. Everybody is important but you need those moments when top-level players produce. He is in great form and getting the recognition he rightly deserves.”
The Toffees are back in action on Wednesday to play their game in hand away at Watford, with a chance to further extend their advantage over the chasing Burnley and Leeds United.