Everton manager Frank Lampard refused to be too downbeat after defeat to Chelsea and felt there was little between the two sides.
Having rallied at the end of last season to avoid relegation, the Toffees would have hoped for a winning start to 2022-2023. But they ended up on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline, with Jorginho firing home a penalty in first-half stoppage time. The Italy international scored nine minutes into injury time caused by a nasty-looking injury to Ben Godfrey.
The defender was stretchered off and appears to have suffered a lower-leg fracture. The spot kick was awarded after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s foul on Ben Chilwell.
Lampard believes that one mistake meant they took nothing from the game. And the former Chelsea chief saw a few positives despite the Merseyside reverse.
“I thought we played well against a tough opponent. I thought the penalty was the only difference between the teams,” he told BBC Sport. “One tiny lack of focus and they got their goal. I felt a draw would be a fair result.
“We’ve got no number nine so we had to be constantly mobile. That’s a big ask on the first day of the season.
“I thought we did it OK today against a team of Chelsea’s level. I thought we created them a lot of problems. I don’t want to criticise the team too much because the mobility was good.”
Lampard eager for squad improvement
Everton have lost a number of players since the end of last season. Richarlison’s departure to Tottenham has left a huge void up front for Lampard to fill.
He has brought in left-back Ruben Vinagre from Sporting on a season-long loan. Central defender James Tarkowski arrived after his Burnley contract expired while winger Dwight McNeil was signed from the Clarets.
Lampard knows he needs more players and admitted they are on the cusp of getting one deal over the line.
“We want to have a couple more options. We’re all moving in that direction. Dominic [Calvert-Lewin]’s not going to be out forever,” he added. “We’ve lost Richarlison. One player is being finalised as we speak. I don’t want to stand here and say it’s done, but we’re very close.”
Yerry Mina was also forced off with an ankle injury. It is unclear how long the Colombia international will be out for. Godfrey’s injury looks set to sideline the former Norwich man for some time.
And Lampard feels a sense of deja vu after struggling with injuries last term.
“It feels like it’s a small facture, lower down. We’re assessing it. It looks like he’s going to be out for a while,” he added. “We had a bit of that last season unfortunately. We’ll have to get through that.”