EPL

'One of the greatest moments of my life' – Lampard 'overwhelmed' after Everton secure safety with dramatic comeback win

By Sports Desk May 19, 2022

Frank Lampard hailed Everton's dramatic 3-2 win against Crystal Palace as "one of the greatest moments of my footballing life" after battling back from two goals down to clinch Premier League safety.

Everton entered Thursday's contest at Goodison Park knowing that victory would guarantee them a 69th consecutive campaign of English top-flight football – a record only Arsenal (97 from next season) can better – but trailed to goals from Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew before half-time.

However, for the first time in their Premier League history, at what was the 75th attempt, the Toffees recovered from a two-goal deficit at the midway point of a game to collect all three points thanks to goals from Michael Keane, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Lampard's side can no longer be caught by Leeds United and Burnley in the final relegation spot with one fixture – away at top-four chasing Arsenal on Sunday – remaining.

And while Chelsea great Lampard may have been more accustomed to winning major trophies across his playing days, the Everton boss ranks the victory over Palace as a career highlight.

"It is one of the greatest moments of my footballing life and career," he told BBC Sport. "I have been very fortunate to have amazing times, especially at Chelsea as a player and a coach. 

"But when you feel the feelings and desperation of what relegation brings to the table, it is different. You need to dig in. You lose games, you fight to do something and then you lose another game. People think you should fly up the table and it is never that way. 

"Coming in here three and a half months ago with my amazing staff, positive people who work so hard, and trying to affect things and getting a reaction from the players, from the fans and feeling unity when it looked split. This club is special and I am proud to be manager of Everton on this night."

Everton have now gained 15 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – only Liverpool (17) have recovered more – with 38 per cent of their points in 2021-22 coming in games in which they have fallen behind.

Lampard, who took over from Rafael Benitez at the end of January, celebrated the latest comeback triumph wildly with Everton fans, his backroom staff members and the club board.

"I thought I might cry at full-time; I thought I might jump out of my body," he said. "Nobody can question the celebrations at the end. It is easy to say 'but you haven't won anything'. You know what, come and work at this club for a few months and see the difficulties and what it means to people to stay in this league. 

"See us 2-0 down at half-time, playing poorly, ridiculous second goal and then see the character they showed. See the fans on the pitch in good heart and spirit. They have pulled us over the line, they have been more than a 12th man. But the players also deserve huge credit. An amazing night."

He added: "I'm overwhelmed and I've got so much thanks for people because there's a lot of people who have worked so hard for that, to get over the line today. Namely the players, the fans, the board, my staff. Huge night for Everton and now we want to take that forward."

Dele Alli, who has struggled since arriving from Tottenham in the January window, played a huge part in the turnaround after being introduced at the interval.

"Dele was brilliant when he came on. He changed the game individually," Lampard said. "We had already changed the system but it was to give a little bit of information. 

"It was nothing to do with a system change to change the game, it was always going to be the players, their character and desire to engage the crowd and make something happen.

"I can't take too much credit. I didn't come up with some new magical tactics. We went direct, but no problem in this position. But we relied on the players."

Related items

  • Witsel won over by Atletico Madrid boss Simeone Witsel won over by Atletico Madrid boss Simeone

    Axel Witsel revealed an immediate connection with Diego Simeone helped him decide on a move to Atletico Madrid.

    Atleti finalised Witsel's arrival on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, following four seasons in the Bundesliga.

    The Belgium international appears likely to be a regular fixture under the pragmatic Simeone, providing Rodrigo de Paul with an added defensive presence in midfield.

    While explaining his desire to keep playing at a high level after leaving Dortmund, Witsel cited Simeone's memory of his performance for Zenit against Atletico at the old Vicente Calderon as a reflection of how he is valued at his new club.

    "I decided to come here because for me it's a top club," Witsel said. "I think Atletico Madrid is one of the eight best clubs in the world, and I really wanted to stay in the top level after Dortmund.

    "I talked to him [Simeone] a few weeks ago, we had directly a very good feeling. He told me, 'I remember you from 2013', when I played with Zenit at the old stadium.

    "I knew he wanted me in the team and I think this is really important when you arrive in a new club. I didn't need my brother Yannick [Carrasco] to tell me I had to come to Atletico Madrid, in my head it was already clear."

    The 33-year-old represents a positional need for Atletico after Hector Herrera's departure, while links to Boubacar Kamara were scuppered by his move to Aston Villa.

  • Sebastian Battaglia sacked by Boca Juniors after Libertadores elimination Sebastian Battaglia sacked by Boca Juniors after Libertadores elimination

    Boca Juniors confirmed Sebastian Battaglia's dismissal as the club's head coach after the dramatic elimination at home to Corinthians in the Copa Libertadores.

    Sitting 11th after the opening month of this season's Primera Division and snatching a 0-0 draw in the first leg, Boca were lifeless for large parts of the second leg at home to Corinthians, before their 6-5 loss on penalties on Tuesday.

    Dario Benedetto notably missed two penalties, with one in regular time and another in the shoot-out, to effectively mark the end of Battaglia's tenure.

    The 41-year-old, who coached Boca's reserve team and was installed as a caretaker following Miguel Angel Russo's dismissal last August, leaves after winning the Copa Argentina and Copa de la Liga Profesional.

    Also spending 13 years with the club as a player, the club insisted he will still be welcome at La Bombonera.

    "Club Atletico Boca Juniors announces that Sebastian Battaglia is no longer the coach of the first football team and thanks him for his contribution throughout this cycle," the club said in a statement.

    "Battaglia, after passing through the Reserve, took over as coach of the first team and won two titles, for which the entire club will be eternally grateful for his work.

    "Sebastian, Boca will always be your home. Many successes in your career."

     

  • Women's Euros: England's Bronze backs Putellas to bounce back with Barca and Spain Women's Euros: England's Bronze backs Putellas to bounce back with Barca and Spain

    Lucy Bronze described Spain's setback of losing Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas as "devastating" and a blow to the women's game as a whole.

    England star Bronze, who will become a team-mate of Putellas next season after recently signing for Barcelona, backed the 28-year-old to rebound from her crushing Euro 2022 disappointment.

    Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training on Tuesday and will play no part in the tournament that began on Wednesday.

    "For anyone who suffers an ACL, it's devastating," Bronze said. "My old team-mate [Lyon's Germany international Dzsenifer] Marozsan did her ACL just before the tournament, and I was devastated for her, and now Alexia as well.

    "Obviously she's one of the best players in the world – the best player in the world right now – and one of my team-mates.

    "For women's football, we want the best players on the pitch. I'm sure she'll get straight back to Barcelona, and they'll want to get her back on the pitch and fighting fit.

    "I'm sure she'll be back playing for Barca as soon as possible, and the World Cup is still to come next year, so she's still got plenty of time and plenty of stages to shine."

    Putellas' absence is a colossal blow for Spain, with the 28-year-old having top-scored in the Champions League with 11 goals last season.

    Bronze, who has battled knee problems during her own career, is hoping for a clean bill of health in the England camp throughout the finals.

    The hosts began with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford, in front of almost 70,000 supporters.

    Bronze said the occasion was "huge", but it was a scrappy showing from England, with Beth Mead's first-half goal proving just enough.

    "We know we can improve on that performance," Bronze said. "Especially under [coach] Sarina [Wiegman] we score a lot of goals and play exciting football and I don't think we did that at our best. We didn't quite click and didn't quite get in the flow.

    "Ultimately, the best teams have to win even when they're not playing at their best, so we managed to show that which is a different side to this England team."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.