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‘It is on us’ - Frank Lampard says Everton have to be ‘up for the fight’

The Toffees boss is fighting for his managerial future - but the club’s future is on the line too

Everton FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Frank Lampard is a good talker. Intelligent and articulate, he always comes across well in news conferences. He also appears genuine. So when he talks of the bond forged with the fans during last season’s dramatic escape from the drop we know it is true. And it is why many Evertonians desperately want Lampard to succeed.

But if results continue as they are Lampard will soon become yet another former Everton manager even if, as we all know, the problems run deeper.

After such a tough week it is little surprise that Lampard was a touch more feisty in his news conference ahead of the Man United game.

Braced for some abrasive questioning, he batted away suggestions he had sought reassurances from the board about his future.

“We’ve had private conversations. It’s as simple as that.

“I have never and would never seek reassurances. My job is to absolutely focus on the job at hand, day to day and game to game. That’s the absolute reality of it. I actually don’t need reassurances. I come to work to try and improve a little bit every day - myself, the team, the squad and everything so I’m not hunting around for any reassurances.”

Reflecting on his time at Goodison Lampard said the shared experience of last season had strengthened his relationship with the fans, particularly after the Crystal Palace game, but he remained realistic about the state of the club after a traumatic few years that stretches way beyond the start of his tenure.

Everton v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Goodison Park Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

“I came here nearly a year ago now and the feeling among a lot of Evertonians was that they felt they were heading towards relegation. That’s my honest feeling.

“So we managed an incredible time together. It sounds a bit soppy to say but everyone saw the images against Crystal Palace and I lived that moment with the fans. So did everybody here at this club.

“I went home that night and had a glass of wine and in my mind I felt that it was when the work begins.

“I knew it was going to be a tough journey because the elation of surviving a relegation battle was all well and good but the reality meant there was a lot of work to do from there because we were in a battle.

“I feel we’re now in that process. Now, I’m not silly. We need to get results and we want to stay in this league. That’s the first thing this year.”

To say Everton need results is an understatement. Eight defeats in 11 games in all competitions and just three league wins all season has sent the club into a tailspin towards relegation, with the Toffees falling into the drop zone on Wednesday.

Far from being overawed by the club’s predicament however an emboldened Lampard said he was up for the fight, though he has thrown the gauntlet down to his under-performing players.

“We’ve just slipped into the bottom three but that’s not my major concern. But if we win our next league game, we’ll be out of the bottom three probably.

“I was very aware of what I came into in this job and I want to be a success at this club.

“Where the challenges have come, I’ve taken them head on and I’ve actually enjoyed them. I enjoy working for this club and it’s a real honour for me. I’m a big man who is working for a great club and I’ll keep doing it.

“We can only control what we can control so we want to perform well and show performances with a real work ethic and passion. I’ve always said that as it always ignites the fans in the right way. That is our responsibility.

“We just have to focus on what we do and at certain times this season I feel we have done it and at other times you need the fans when you’re a bit below par, for sure you do. It’s something that you really want but at this moment it is on us to bring the fans with us, stand up and play for Everton.

“Being up for a fight sometimes brings out the best in a club and we showed that last season. With the players, you have to sense things and as a player and a manager I took personal responsibility to look at myself first and foremost. That is what the players have to do individually.”