EPL

'I live and breathe the club' – Lampard understands Everton pressure

By Sports Desk April 08, 2022

Frank Lampard "lives and breathes" Everton as he reiterated his belief that the Toffees can clinch Premier League survival.

Everton led 2-1 in a crucial contest with fellow strugglers Burnley heading into the second half at Turf Moor on Wednesday, yet a familiar tale of costly defensive mistakes struck once more.

From having a first league away victory since August in their grasp, and a six-point cushion on the relegation zone, Everton succumbed to goals from Jay Rodriguez and Maxwel Cornet.

That leaves Lampard's team just a point above the 18th-placed Clarets ahead of Saturday's meeting with Manchester United at Goodison Park.

Everton have won just one of their last 13 Premier League meetings with United (D6 L6), beating them 4-0 just under three years ago during Marco Silva's tenure.

Silva is one of six permanent managers to have been hired by Everton's majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri since 2016, and that managerial upheaval has not helped as the Toffees' hopes of mounting a challenge for silverware and European qualification have been replaced, in the short term, by a desperate bid to maintain their top-flight status.

Everton have never been relegated from the competition and Lampard, who is the first manager to lose his first five away matches at a Premier League club since Jan Siewert at Huddersfield Town in 2019, is well aware of the need for results with nine games remaining.

"We have to lift ourselves. Sometimes a game coming quickly is good for that," Lampard told a news conference.

"In my relatively short managerial career, I probably spent 18 months at Chelsea two or three games from the sack. Maybe that's a symptom of football in the Premier League, that's pressure, no problem, I signed up for that.

"We're a huge club, people will talk about [my job]. We've got no right to not be fighting relegation, irrespective of history, but what I am is proud to manage here, proud to keep the history of this club going in a positive way.

"I came into a great club, a great squad of players, they're working well. The results are a turning point and I understand that. If we'd have won on Wednesday – seven-point buffer to Burnley, six to Watford, game in hand, everything feels great.

"If you don't, it flicks in a different direction. Everybody's working hard, the players, we just need those results.

"I understand. Fans have passion, they live and breathe the club. I do, I've been here five minutes in football terms, I live and breathe the club and I want us to stay in the league. I have to handle that, I have to do my job."

Key to Everton staying up may well be Dominic Calvert-Lewin. An injury ravaged season has resulted in just three goals, which came in the first three games.

Calvert-Lewin has returned to full fitness in recent weeks but has looked way off the pace, and managed just one attempt and one key pass in the loss at Burnley. Lampard, though, has full confidence in the England forward.

"I just give him complete support," Lampard said of Calvert-Lewin.

"Dominic now is reaching that fitness and the next step is can he contribute as well as he can, can he get the goals that we want from him? I know how much he wants to deliver, and I've got absolute confidence that that will come good in terms of goals for him."

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