Frank Lampard has revealed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a doubt for Everton ahead of their game against Newcastle United, before providing some insight into the striker’s mindset.
Everton have struggled when Calvert-Lewin has been absent this season. He missed four months of the season between September and December. During that time, they slumped towards the predicament they find themselves in now.
Lampard’s task is to guide the club away from the relegation zone. Their home game against Newcastle on Thursday could be a critical one for those targets.
At one time, it seemed Newcastle were almost certain to go down. But now, Everton are below them in the table – and would still be even if they win their two games in hand.
On the same points as 18th-placed Watford, it is essential for Everton to start picking up results. Against Newcastle, though, they may have to go about the task without their star striker.
Providing some injury updates, Lampard revealed he will have to see how Calvert-Lewin is in their final training session.
He told a press conference (via the Liverpool Echo): “[Fabian] Delph we’re hoping (will return on) the other side of the international break. [Yerry] Mina’s a few weeks away at best.
“Dominic trained lightly yesterday off the back of not feeling great, so see how he is again this afternoon and looks towards the squad for tomorrow.”
Calvert-Lewin has not scored since his return from injury, having begun the season with goals in each of his first three appearances in August.
But Lampard has revealed his talisman has targets to get back to his best.
The manager added: “He wants to get to the form he was at last season when he was prolific.”
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Another player who may be eyeing a return to form is Nathan Patterson. The right-back was one of a few January signings who came in before Lampard’s arrival.
Patterson is yet to feature in the Premier League though since his move from Rangers. Lampard has only used him for 45 minutes, in an FA Cup win over Boreham Wood.
However, he has been promised further opportunities if he is patient.
Lampard said: “He’s one for the now and one for the future.
“He just has to stay patient, keep working and I’ll find the right time for him to come into the team.”
Lampard aware of Everton plight
Everton’s players recently came in for criticism from Jamie Carragher during a Sky Sports broadcast.
Asked about the response to that, Lampard said: “It’s the players’ job to answer them on the pitch and the reality is when you’re in a position you don’t want to be.
“We have to accept that people have opinions. But the players have to answer that on the pitch. It’s the only way.”
He now needs to see that reaction from his players to prevent a trend that has taken them towards danger continuing. But the ex-England midfielder knows there are no easy fixes.
He said: “We were heading towards the relegation zone for a long period of time. Those things don’t change overnight. It’s how you tackle the situation in front of you.”
Lampard must now get his approach right. But he insists some feelings about his playing style aren’t fully understood. There are basic principles he must see upheld, though.
Lampard said: “This idea that I want to play front-foot football is a generalisation.
“The idea is that whatever type of football you play, however you decide to press, you have to be aggressive.”