Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was involved in an altercation with an Everton fan following his team's 3-2 defeat at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Palace threw away a 2-0 half-time lead in the second half, and the dramatic victory for the Toffees ensured their Premier League status for another season.

The delirious home fans descended onto the pitch after the final whistle to celebrate, but one fan approached Vieira and appeared to taunt him.

The former Arsenal midfielder initially ignored the man, before turning to confront him, seeming to kick out before being ushered away by other Everton supporters.

Vieira refused to speak about the incident in his post-match media conference, though his opposite number Frank Lampard said he "felt" for the Frenchman being put in that situation.

"I feel for Patrick," the Everton boss said at his own media conference. "I didn't get him at the end. I would have said, 'come in with us' – although he might not have wanted that.

"Of course he ran 80 yards across the pitch and it's not easy."

This was not the first unsavoury incident to take place in English football in the last week involving pitch invasions, with a Nottingham Forest fan being arrested and later jailed for assaulting Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp following Forest's penalty shoot-out win in the Championship playoff semi-finals on Tuesday.

There were further concerns raised about fans endangering players during pitch invasions after both League Two playoff games involving Mansfield Town and Northampton Town on Wednesday, and Swindon Town and Port Vale on Thursday.

On the fans coming onto the pitch, Lampard added: "It was pure elation of fans who have come on the pitch after avoiding relegation.

"If it is done in the right way let them stay on the pitch, let them have their moment. As long as they behave, no problem."

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."

Everton manager Frank Lampard is "not worried at all" about Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park.

Calvert-Lewin was superb for Everton last season, scoring 16 Premier League goals, but has endured an injury hit campaign this time around.

The 25-year-old has only scored three goals, with all of those coming in the opening three matches of the season, while two of them were from the penalty spot.

Rafael Benitez wanted to continue the trend set by Carlo Ancelotti and make Calvert-Lewin the focal point of Everton's attack, but having played with a broken toe throughout August, the forward suffered a serious quad injury that resulted in him missing over four months of action.

Calvert-Lewin returned in early 2022, towards the end of Benitez's ill-fated tenure, but has been unable to string together a run of form for Lampard as Everton have battled for their Premier League survival.

The England international came on as a substitute in Everton's 0-0 draw at Watford on Wednesday, a result that left the Toffees two points above the relegation zone with three games remaining.

Arsenal and Newcastle United are said to hold an interest in Calvert-Lewin, with Everton likely to have to cash in on at least one of their prized assets even if they avoid the drop.

Yet Lampard has no concerns about such speculation, or the attitude of Everton's number nine.

"He is a fantastic striker, the pedigree of striker that there aren't many around. It's been unfortunate for me, I think, that I haven't had him fit," Lampard told a news conference ahead of Sunday's crucial clash with Brentford, in which a win or potentially even a draw may be enough to see Everton safe, depending on Leeds United's result against Brighton and Hove Albion.

 

"He's had little moments but we know that strikers need runs of games and fitness and confidence. We've never been able to get that for Dominic to be fair to him.

"But yes, he's a huge player, they are not very common. He is contracted to us, three years left on his contract, and I want to take this club forward and players like Dominic help that.

"I know he hasn't been playing at the minute because he's been getting fit, but now he's fit, so hopefully he will contribute in the last few games for starters and then he's our player. 

"He's a player that would be wanted by clubs because of the level of player he is. There are not many strikers out there, they cost a lot of money. I'm not worried about him at all."

Everton provided Calvert-Lewin with 31 big chances (as defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would reasonably be expected to score) last season, and he scored from 14 of them.

This season, however, Calvert-Lewin has only been provided with three big chances from open play, one of which he converted, in an opening-day win over Southampton, as Everton have struggled for creativity.

Indeed, only Norwich City (27) have crafted fewer big chances than Everton (28) this season.

The Football Association (FA) has charged Frank Lampard with improper conduct after the Everton manager vented his frustrations at not being awarded a penalty against Liverpool.

Everton, who beat Chelsea on Sunday to go back to within two points of safety with five games remaining in their Premier League campaign, lost 2-0 to their quadruple-chasing Merseyside rivals at Anfield on April 24.

Andrew Robertson and Divock Origi punctured Everton's resolve but the Toffees were infuriated when referee Stuart Attwell failed to give a penalty after Joel Matip bundled into Anthony Gordon early in the second half when the game was goalless. 

Lampard told a post-match news conference: "If that was [Mohamed] Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. You don't get them here. That's the reality of football sometimes." 

The FA asked Lampard for an explanation of his comments last week, which the Chelsea great said he responded to, and the governing body has now issued a charge.

A statement issued via the FA Spokesperson Twitter account read: "Frank Lampard has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to post-match media comments that he made following Everton FC's Premier League match against Liverpool FC on Sunday 24 April 2022. It is alleged that the manager's comments constitute improper conduct as they imply bias and/or attack the integrity of the match referee – or referees generally – and/or bring the game into disrepute."

Lampard has until May 9 to respond. 

Everton are also waiting to discover what punishment, if any, Richarlison will face after the forward threw a smoke bomb that had been launched onto the pitch in the wake of his winning goal against Chelsea back towards the stands, albeit into an unoccupied section of Goodison Park.

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged Chelsea are in danger of dropping out of the top four altogether after losing 1-0 to struggling Everton on Sunday.

Frank Lampard's Toffees snatched a potentially vital victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League for the first time, with Richarlison getting the decisive goal just after half-time.

Chelsea created several presentable chances but were denied by three wonderful Jordan Pickford saves as Everton held out under pressure at Goodison Park.

It was not so long ago that Chelsea appeared certain to finish in the top four, but they have won only once in their past four league matches, putting their position under pressure from Arsenal and Tottenham.

Tuchel insists he never felt completely safe, though.

“Of course, it was always like this," he told reporters when asked if they now face a battle to qualify for the Champions League.

"I said it many weeks ago that I didn't ever feel safe. We are never safe. By the way, if we are in a race for top one, top two, or top four, no matter what the race, the last four games to only have four points will never be enough, no matter which race we are in.

"We have to take care of ourselves. At the moment we don't get the points when we play well and deserve more and we lose when we play okay, this is a bad mixture."

Cesar Azpilicueta's dawdling on the ball ultimately led to Everton's winner, with individual mistakes becoming something of a theme in recent weeks for Chelsea.

Such errors, and how to eradicate them, have Tuchel at a loss.

"What can I do? The ball is free, then give a goal away. It is the worst thing that can happen to you in this atmosphere and situation. It happens too often, we struggle to play without big mistakes. That's why we struggle to have results.

"If there is something I can do I will try it but if I knew about it I would have done it before. I think, for me, the key is to have a clean sheet. Manchester United was a different game, more open, fluid, more spaces, and we finally scored late and conceded straight away.

"For me, this is more like the game against West Ham. The opponent defends deep, we struggle to find space in the first half, but against West Ham we had a clean sheet and played without any big mistakes.

"That gives us the chance to score late. If you run behind against an opponent like this, in this atmosphere and install emotion and belief in a stadium like this and the opponent's team, you struggle."

It was a bruising encounter, with referee Kevin Friend producing eight yellow cards in total.

The aggression displayed by Everton did not trouble Tuchel specifically, though he was critical of how the game was refereed.

"No, no, we expected [Everton to be aggressive]," he added. "It would have been nice to have a referee who was in charge of it – they got away with a lot. He decided to manage the game the way he did and I was not too happy with it, but it's his way.

"That is why it's important to not do any mistakes, instil belief, and to keep doing what we do on the highest level of focus. We struggled."

Richarlison's goal and Jordan Pickford's heroics between the posts breathed life into Everton's Premier League survival bid as the Toffees beat Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Burnley's dramatic win over Watford on Saturday left Everton five points from safety with two games in hand, and despite being underdogs for the visit of Chelsea, Frank Lampard's side rose to the challenge.

There were four more yellow cards than there were shots on target during a bruising first half, but the entertainment ramped up after the interval thanks to Richarlison's composed opener.

Vitalii Mykolenko wasted the chance to make it 2-0 before Pickford produced two stunning saves to keep Everton in charge as they ultimately held on to a potentially vital win.

A feisty opening period produced little goal-mouth excitement, with the most gripping incident arguably being the prolonged confrontation between the two sets of players after Mason Mount fouled Yerry Mina, with Seamus Coleman and Cesar Azpilicueta booked for going head-to-head.

The lively Anthony Gordon had gone close a few moments earlier, though, shooting just wide of the bottom-right corner after cutting in off the right flank.

That was at least evidence of some Everton intent, and that – coupled with their desire to scrap – earned them the lead just after half-time, as Richarlison robbed Azpilicueta and coolly swept past Edouard Mendy after Demarai Gray set him free.

Mykolenko inexplicably shot wide from close range a few moments later, before Pickford took centre-stage.

First, he incredibly denied Azpilicueta's rebound effort right on the line after Mount's shot hit both posts, then blocked a point-blank Antonio Rudiger strike with his face.

Finally, he got down well right near the end to keep Mateo Kovacic's goal-bound attempt out.

 

Thomas Tuchel is looking forward to meeting Frank Lampard in person for the first time and says the man he succeeded as Chelsea boss will always remain a Blues great.

Lampard won 11 major trophies across a legendary 14-year playing career with Chelsea and remains the London club's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals

The 43-year-old had less success in the Stamford Bridge dugout, however, as he lasted just 18 months at the helm before being sacked in January 2021.

Tuchel guided Chelsea to Champions League glory four months later and has won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup this season.

Lampard is now in charge of Everton and has a serious task on his hands in keeping the Toffees in the Premier League.

Speaking ahead of their first managerial meeting at Goodison Park on Sunday, Tuchel revealed Lampard reached out to him when the German was first appointed by Chelsea.

"He sent me a very kind and respectful message after I took over," Tuchel said. 

"It meant a lot because I was a huge fan of him as a player and he'll remain a legend at our club, that's a given. I was very happy when he wrote me the gentlemanly message. 

"We didn't have a chance to meet before. When took over at Everton he took one of our assistants away with him (Joe Edwards) so we were not so happy with that! 

"We will see some familiar faces, with Joey and Ashley Cole also there. I never met Frank in person so I'll be happy to meet him. 

"But we arrive with our team needing points, and Everton need the points urgently as well."

 

Lampard will be the 10th former Chelsea manager to take charge of a Premier League match against the Blues.

Only one of the previous nine has won their first such match, with Claudio Ranieri winning 2-1 with Leicester City in December 2015.

Lampard may not have won any silverware while in charge of Chelsea, but he was widely praised for giving younger players such as Reece James and Mason Mount a chance.

The pair have continued to thrive under Tuchel, who is more than happy to select academy products if they are good enough for the first team.

Asked if he is grateful to Lampard for his previous work at the club, Tuchel said: "Frank didn't do it to do them a favour. Every coach does it because it's about helping them team. 

"If Thiago [Silva] helps us we don't care how old he is, and we don't care how young somebody is – if you're ready, you're ready. 

"I strongly believe you'll find your way if you have what it takes. I'm incredibly grateful for the academy quality and culture at Chelsea to push these boys through. 

"This is top, top quality. It is our job to let them play and push them – this is what Chelsea is all about."

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Manchester United on Thursday to move eight points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham in the race for Champions League football.

Everton's focus is on surviving the drop, with Sunday's contest the first time they have started a league game in the relegation zone since December 2019.

The Toffees beat Chelsea 3-1 on that occasion and Tuchel is not taking anything for granted this weekend at a raucous Goodison Park.

"Everyone tells me about the atmosphere at Goodison – how emotional and tough it is to play there," the German said. "I'm excited to go there and we expect a tough fight."

Referee Stuart Attwell was correct not to award Everton a penalty in Sunday's Merseyside derby at Anfield, according to former Premier League official Mark Clattenburg.

Relegation-threatened Everton wanted a spot-kick when Liverpool's Joel Matip challenged Anthony Gordon in the area early in the second half when the game was goalless.

The claims were waved away, though replays suggested there was contact between the pair.

After the match, Gordon told Sky Sports that Matip had stepped on his foot, while Frank Lampard suggested that had the incident occurred at the other end of the pitch, and an Everton player had challenged Mohamed Salah, a spot-kick would have been awarded.

Everton have reportedly contacted the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) over the incident, while it has been reported that the Football Association (FA) have asked Lampard to explain his comments.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports that it was a "stonewall penalty" but suggested that Gordon, who had been booked for simulation earlier in the match, had to be careful not to build a reputation of being a diver.

Though Clattenburg disagrees that it was a penalty, he did echo Carragher's sentiments. 

"It's difficult because Gordon got cautioned early in the match," Clattenburg told Stats Perform. "I've watched him over the last months and he does go to ground a little bit too easy.

"And you don't prejudge things, you never prejudge things as a referee, however, it's in there as a doubt in your back of your mind that when a player goes down on the little contact, that you're probably not going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"So he probably didn't get the benefit of the doubt on the second one after being cautioned earlier and a match for simulation.

"If he had a chance to stay on his feet, I think he could have had the chance and he took the option to go down and the contact's minimal. For me, I think the best decision was play on."

There have been 12 bookings for simulation in the Premier League this season and half of these have been given to Everton players, with three of those coming across their two meetings with Liverpool.

The Reds, meanwhile, have gone 46 Premier League matches without conceding a penalty. That is 22 more than the next-longest active run (Manchester City - 24).

Asked about Lampard's comments, Clattenburg said: "I think that's a perception of football fans. From a refereeing point of view, we just want to get the right decision.

"With the support of VAR, the problem that they have sometimes is if the referee does give the penalty, the VAR wouldn't overturn it, because he doesn't give the penalty. He doesn't overturn it and people think well, why? Where's the right decision?

"There's no right decision or wrong decision as to what the referee gave at that time and he believed that Gordon had tried to win his team a penalty. Lampard's going to be upset - he's a coach, it was a really tight game at that point 0-0 at the time, so he's going to be upset because Everton could have won the Merseyside derby, fighting for their lives at the bottom."

Everton winger Anthony Gordon must "be careful" about developing a reputation for diving after the youngster was denied a penalty in the 2-0 loss to Liverpool.

That is according to former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher, who hailed Gordon but expressed concern for the 21-year-old potentially gaining a deceitful image among Premier League referees.

Gordon was cautioned for an apparent dive in the first half at Anfield following a Naby Keita challenge inside the area, before he saw penalty appeals for a foul by Joel Matip waved away after the interval.

While suggesting his alleged play-acting might be an issue with referees, Carragher believes the latter incident should have seen Gordon - and Everton - awarded a spot-kick.

"He's got to be careful Anthony Gordon," he said on Sky Sports. "He's a great lad, a great player – he was one of the best players on the pitch [on Sunday], caused Liverpool all sorts of problems.

"But he's got to be careful of that. It's not the first one [dive] and it will be in the referees' heads and maybe he hasn't got what he deserved because of a few incidents in three or four other games but that's a stonewall penalty [the Matip foul]."

Fellow pundit Graeme Souness echoed Carragher's comments as he suggested Liverpool players will immediately have been pressuring Stuart Attwell following Gordon's first-half booking.

"In the very first few minutes when he [Gordon] dived to try and get a penalty," Souness added. "You can bet, if we're players out there, we're getting in the referee's ear – 'he's a diver ref' – so you're planting the seed as well."

However, Everton manager Frank Lampard questioned whether his side would have received different decisions away from Anfield.

"I think they both could have been penalties but you often don't get them at Anfield," Lampard told BBC Sport.

"The fact there's contact and he gets booked is crazy. The second one was a foul [anywhere else] on the pitch. Sometimes you don't get them here."

In his post-match news conference, Lampard added: "If that was [Mohamed] Salah at the other end, he gets a penalty. You don't get them here. That's the reality of football sometimes."

Gordon, meanwhile, was infuriated.

"The second one for me was the strongest, I've gone one-on-one with him and I've got the better of him and he's stood on my foot which has caused me severe pain and I've gone down," Gordon told Sky Sports when asked about his two penalty claims.

"The first one I've watched back, I've felt the contact and went down, but I can see why he hasn't given it but it's certainly not a yellow card or a dive because there's contact."

Defeat left Everton in the relegation zone after 32 matches for the first time since April 1999, following Burnley's win over Wolves, and the Toffees are 50 points behind Liverpool – the joint-biggest lead the Reds have had over their Merseyside rivals.

Lampard also expressed his pride in Everton's performance, with their game plan clear – their 32 passes in the first half was the fewest by a team in the first half of a Premier League game since November 2006 – before Liverpool's quality told in the end.

"They're in a different area to us. They're near the top of the table, they've been together a long time and have a strong style of play," he said.

"We had to be organised and disciplined. I couldn't ask for more at half-time except taking our chances. I'm proud and happy with the performance. We have to take that spirit forward to the final games."

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."

After a number of false dawns since Alex Ferguson's retirement from coaching, Manchester United are reportedly looking to make a splash with Erik ten Hag.

West Ham's Declan Rice has emerged as one of Europe's premier defensive midfielders and is seen as a key piece in a potential rebuild.

According to reports, this off-season might be the time West Ham and Rice's representatives look to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO MAKE RECORD PLAY FOR RICE

Manchester United are ready to break their transfer record and make him a marquee signing under new boss Erik ten Hag, according to 90Min.

It is understood West Ham made an offer to extend Rice's contract last year, but ultimately, the Hammers would be unable to compete with likely wage offers elsewhere.

For Rice, United appear willing to break their transfer record set in 2016 for Paul Pogba, a midfielder who has never really found a set position or provided a return on sizeable investment.

They would face stiff competition from Manchester City and Chelsea, who are also keen on the 23-year-old England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are preparing a deal to sign Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, per the Manchester Evening News.

Brazil are willing to offer Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola a substantial salary to follow on from Tite as the country's national team manager, according to Marca.

Everton boss Frank Lampard has the confidence of club owner Farhad Moshiri and the board, despite the Toffees' relegation battle, the Daily Mail reports.

– The Athletic has reported RB Leipzig and Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol has emerged as a target for Tottenham .

Neville Southall insists Jordan Pickford is not to blame for Everton's woes and believes he is rightfully England's first-choice goalkeeper.

Pickford captained Everton as Frank Lampard's team capitulated to another dismal away defeat on Wednesday, this time to relegation rivals Burnley.

Two penalties from Richarlison had put Everton 2-1 up at Turf Moor heading into half-time yet Jay Rodriguez and Maxwel Cornet struck to seal a 3-2 victory for Burnley that takes the Clarets to within a point of Lampard's side, who sit 17th with nine games remaining.

Pickford was hardly at fault for any of Burnley's goals and has been a consistent performer for Everton despite their torrid form.

The 28-year-old's place as England number one has been called into question this term, due in large part to Aaron Ramsdale's strong form for Arsenal, though Gareth Southgate has stood by Pickford, who has played a pivotal role in the Three Lions reaching a World Cup semi-final and the final of Euro 2020.

Asked about Pickford by Sky Sports, Everton great Southall, who was their goalkeeper throughout the club's successful spell in the 1980s, said: "Confidence plays a part in it. Jordan Pickford's done nothing wrong this season.

"Unfortunately at the moment, we've got Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal and traditionally most of the media want somebody to play [for England] from a London club.

"So he's always going to be under more scrutiny because he's playing for a club up north. I truly believe there's been a witch hunt against him through the media at times and I think it's just silly.

"He's a decent goalkeeper, playing for England. Is he going to make mistakes? Of course he is, because he's human."

Southall also believes fans and pundits have to be more aware of the potential damage that being highly critical of players can do to their mental wellbeing.

"We've got to think about what we say to these players," he continued. "Telling them all the time that they can't do stuff. 

"We should start saying that they can do it. They don't know what damage they're doing. You're entitled to an opinion but some of the language I think has been over the top and it can affect some of the players. For me it's about looking after the players' welfare."

Everton's situation makes for grim reading. Lampard has lost all five of his Premier League away games in charge of the club – he is the first manager to lose his first five away matches at a Premier League side since Jan Siewert at Huddersfield Town in 2019, who lost his first seven.

Southall, though, has put the onus on the players to step up after mistakes from Ben Godfrey and Jonjoe Kenny proved costly at Turf Moor.

"I wouldn't say any, to be fair," Southall said when asked how much responsibility fell on Lampard's shoulders.

"Whoever he puts out it's up to them to do the job. It's all about the players on the pitch. The players have to emulate the fans, passion, expression, desire and if they show them things I think we'll get results."

Everton face Manchester United at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Dele Alli must power through the mental barrier to rediscover his form for Everton otherwise his wasted potential will be a "tragedy", according to Toffees great Neville Southall.

England international Alli ended a seven-year spell with Tottenham to move to Goodison Park in January, with the midfielder signing a two-and-a-half-year deal in what was reported as an initial free transfer.

Everton will reportedly be obliged to pay £10million for the midfielder after he makes 20 appearances and subsequent performance-based add-ons may take the eventual figure as high as £40m.

The 25-year-old is yet to find his feet on Merseyside, while a torrid run of form has left Everton just one point above the relegation zone after earning only 12 points since the start of October.

However, former Toffees goalkeeper Southall told Sky Sports News on Monday how talented Alli could be if Frank Lampard can help him regain his confidence.

"It's difficult. He's obviously not ready. There's something in his head that he can't get through the barrier, that means he can't get on the pitch or there's something missing at the moment," he said of Alli.

"It takes some people a long time. If Dele Alli gets back to being Dele Alli, he'll be a bargain. If Dele Alli doesn't come back, it'll be a tragedy. It'll be a tragedy for the lad, and that's all I'm concerned about, is that he finds himself and his happiness and that will show on the pitch.

"At the moment he looks reasonably happy but he's not played for such a long time, it's a difficult choice for Frank Lampard, does he put him in, risk an injury, is he 100 per cent fit?

"He's certainly not match fit, so for me it's about maybe not using him and getting him ready for next season, give him a break from the pressure, and he comes back and is what he is because everyone needs Dele Alli when he's at it."

Alli is yet to start for his new club in the Premier League, making six appearances as a substitute for his 169 minutes, while he does not have a goal or assist to his name.

He has created five chances this season for Everton from his limited opportunities on the pitch, which is in stark contrast to his best seasons at Spurs.

Alli's best campaign in north London came in 2016-17, when he scored 22 goals in 50 appearances across all competitions, averaging a goal every 182 minutes. He followed that up with 29 direct goal involvements (14 goals, 15 assists) in the 2017-18 campaign.

That ensured a prominent role for Alli at the 2018 World Cup, where England reached the semi-finals, and former manager Mauricio Pochettino went as far as describing him as the best young player in the world.

Lampard will be hoping he can tap into that potential as Everton battle the drop, with their next fixture coming at home to Manchester United on Saturday.

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."

Everton's players are in "dreamland" and the squad are suffering from a significant lack of leadership, says Tim Howard.

Frank Lampard's team lost again on the road on Sunday, going down 2-1 to West Ham in another blow to their chances of staying up.

Just three points separate Everton from the bottom three, and the Toffees still have to face fellow strugglers Burnley and Watford away from home, where they have taken just six points all season.

Since the start of October, Everton have won the fewest points in the top flight (12) and are the only side in the division to not win an away game in that timeframe (P11 D2 L9), while Lampard is the club's first manager in the Premier League era to lose his first four away matches in charge of the club in the competition.

Mason Holgate's deflected strike restored parity at the London Stadium after Aaron Cresswell's free-kick put West Ham ahead, yet Michael Keane and Alex Iwobi then combined to undo Everton's hard work.

Michail Antonio pounced on the error and Jarrod Bowen scored from the resulting rebound. Keane – captain of Everton in the absence of Seamus Coleman – later received a second yellow card for a lunge on striker Antonio.

Howard, who played under current West Ham manager David Moyes during a nine-year stint at Goodison Park, was angered by what he saw from Everton's players at full-time.

"I don't see a leader on this team. I see smiles. I see them losing again and I see smiles after the whistle," said Howard, who is a pundit on the USA Network.

"I see no urgency, no one running to get the ball, chasing it, kicking up the pitch. It's as if they're in dreamland that they're not in this thing.

"[There is] lack of leadership. Three red cards in the last three games. You have to basically say to each other, 'We can't even win a game with 11 players, don't you dare get sent off', and it just keeps happening."

Everton have had a player sent off in each of their last three Premier League games, matching a record in the competition for successive matches by a team with a player having been shown red. It had previously occurred on 10 occasions.

Lampard was only given his marching orders three times across his entire Premier League playing career, and Everton are the first Premier League side to have a player see red in three games in a row since Watford in December 2017.

Everton have made eight errors leading to goals in the Premier League, at least three more than any other team this season, and Howard questioned why Keane – who picked up his first booking for fouling Antonio before half-time – was even kept on the pitch by Lampard.

"You have to protect your team, knowing that it was a rash challenge, he hasn't been in the best of form," Howard said.

"He's giving you the right opportunity to say, 'Sorry Michael, you're coming off, I have to put somebody on who I know can finish the game'."

While West Ham boosted their hopes of pushing for the Champions League, Everton stay 17th, with that huge Burnley clash at Turf Moor next up on Wednesday.

Everton lost Donny van de Beek to injury in the warm-up, with Lampard confirming the on-loan midfielder would be assessed before the trip to face the Clarets.

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