Lampard says Everton need to find a way to get results to stay up
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Everton manager Frank Lampard has admitted he has warned his squad about the ‘home truths’ of playing in the Championship amid the club’s Premier League relegation battle. On Thursday night, the Toffees host Newcastle United at Goodison Park in a clash with colossal stakes.
Observers have often picked up on Lampard’s positive, upbeat persona in public whilst speaking in interviews and press conferences. However, the Chelsea legend has made it clear that he hasn’t been afraid to explain the dire consequences of relegation to his struggling squad on Merseyside.
Lampard received his first taste of coaching at Derby County in the 2018/19 season, almost guiding the Rams to promotion to the Premier League before suffering Play-Off final heartbreak. And given his experience in the difficulty of escaping the second tier, he will know just how important it is to keep Everton in the top-flight.
In response to whether he’s hard on his players behind the scenes, Lampard firmly told reporters: “Yes, in simple terms, that is the message because the consequences are real. I’ve been open on the home truths there [about the consequences] and on the performances as well.
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“I hope people aren’t taking my positivity as a sign of weakness. I try to be as positive as I can, but don’t take that as things are not being said behind the scenes – they certainly do. I can’t always come out and dissect the players because that would be the wrong thing.
“But behind the scenes, every manager is the same – it is your job to call things out and talk about the issues, and then you come out with the harsh truths. Yes, I’ve brought home the reality of our situation. But it was real that we were down there [already] when I came in, and there were tough games coming up.
“The idea that we would flick a switch and move cleanly up the table, for me it was not going to happen in the Premier League,” Lampard continued. “We were 16th, 17th [when I took over] for a reason. You know what it is, we were there for a reason.”
Everton enter Thursday’s game against Eddie Howe’s in-form Newcastle in 17th but are level on points with 18th-placed Watford and just one ahead of 19th-placed Burnley. And a negative result against the Magpies would spell disaster, given their nightmare run-in.
Everton face West Ham United, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City twice in seven of their final 11 league games of the season. And whilst they’re still alive and kicking in the FA Cup, travelling to Crystal Palace in the quarter-finals this weekend, survival will be the priority on everyone’s minds.
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