EPL

I felt sorry for him at Chelsea but Lampard can keep Everton up, says Sven-Goran Eriksson

By Sports Desk April 07, 2022

Frank Lampard is finding it tough going but should be able to keep Everton in the Premier League, according to former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Since his appointment at the end of January, Lampard has lost seven of nine league games with the Toffees, a sticky start to his assignment at Goodison Park.

The poor run has continued a trend that began under predecessor Rafael Benitez, who got a tune out of the squad in the early weeks of the season before Everton hit bum note after bum note.

It means that Everton could be relegated for the first time in the Premier League era, given they sit just one point above third-bottom Burnley going into their final nine games of the season.

They have Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea coming up in the next five games, along with two matches against Leicester City, and Everton appear to have only downwards momentum for now.

Eriksson had Lampard as a key figure in his England teams for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, and got to know the man as well as the player.

And while the veteran Swede has not been convinced by every step Lampard has taken so far in his coaching career, notably during his time at Chelsea, he can see the 43-year-old guiding Everton to safety.

"Lampard got tough and strange when he had Chelsea. And I think maybe too early he took one of the biggest teams in Premier League and in Europe," Eriksson said. "Because it's not easy to come straight from a player to make a coach. Especially in the club you've been playing in, so I felt sorry for him.

"And now Everton, they're fighting, but Everton will stay, they will not go down."

Eriksson was speaking to Stats Perform ahead of Everton's defeat at Burnley on Wednesday evening, when a 3-2 loss compounded the team's recent poor form.

Lampard has lost all five of his top-flight away games in charge of Everton, making him the first manager to lose his first five away matches at a Premier League club since Jan Siewert at Huddersfield Town in 2019, who lost his first seven.

Now 74, Eriksson in his England days strove to find a system in which Lampard and Steven Gerrard could thrive. It would be a struggle for subsequent England bosses too, with both players having such attacking instincts from central midfield that it led to many a selection conundrum. Eriksson would instruct one to sit back when the other went forward, in an effort to ensure gaps were not left for the opposition to exploit.

Few doubted the qualities of either man on the pitch, but they are having to prove themselves in a management capacity now, and many playing greats have failed to establish such careers.

With Gerrard at mid-table Aston Villa, after a successful spell in Rangers, it remains to be seen whether there is room in the Premier League for both men next season.

Eriksson said: "I'm very happy to see them both. And I could imagine that both of them would be coaches in the future when I had them as players because they are both extremely, extremely intelligent as football players and as human beings, but they know football.

"They were not one of those players just going out playing and saying, ‘Give me the ball’, or whatever it is. No, tactically, they were very, very strong.

"For me, they played together in the midfield. They could attack, both of them. They could defend, both of them. So, if one went the other one stayed, and it's a pleasure.

"I'm sure both of them will have good career. And you can almost take a bet that when [Jurgen] Klopp is finished at Liverpool who's going to have that job. I'm quite sure that Steven Gerrard will be a strong contender for that."

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