Frank Lampard bemoaned the non-awarding of a Richarlison penalty in a key passage of play, and provided mixed news on the injury front.
Everton missed the chance to secure their Premier League survival with a crushing 3-2 home defeat to Brentford. The Toffees hit the ground running, taking the lead through Dominic Calvert-Lewin inside 10 minutes.
But Jarrad Branthwaite’s red card when felling Ivan Toney as the last man gave them a mountain to climb.
That particular decision riled the Everton players who felt aggrieved at the non-awarding of a penalty barely 10 seconds prior. However, VAR deemed the blatant shirt pull on Richarlison not enough to warrant a penalty with Branthwaite’s red card standing.
Still, the Toffees fought hard and re-took the lead through Richarlison after Yoane Wissa’s cross had earlier deflected in off Seamus Coleman.
But the pressure began to tell after the break and Everton twice let their runners go and were duly punished by Wissa and Rico Henry.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Lampard said: “Disappointing. The start was great, we could have scored three. The red card changes the game completely.
“It was as critical as can be. We had complete control.”
“You wonder whether they should go down” – Lampard
On the controversial 10-second passage of play involving Richarlison’s penalty appeal, Lampard invoked the Anthony Gordon debate.
Gordon was roundly criticised for going to ground too easily in the Merseyside derby last month. However, following the non-awarding of a penalty after Richarlison stayed on his feet today, Lampard hinted players are right to take a tumble when required.
“There was a possible penalty in the build-up for a clear pull on Richarlison’s shirt,” added the Toffees boss.
“People want to criticise my players when saying they go down too easily… You wonder whether they should go down because that was a penalty.
“The ball then goes down the other end and it’s a mistake by Jarrad Braithwaite to let him run behind.”
When asked what his half-time message was, Lampard added: “Just to dig in. We did it against Newcastle although for less time.
“It’s a big ask to ask players to play for 70 minutes a man down against a good team. The players gave every drop. The fans gave every drop. Big circumstances went against us.”
Lampard then turned his attention to Everton’s run-in and had mixed news: “Hopefully Michael Keane will be back on Thursday.
“I’m not hopeful of [Yerry] Mina or [Ben] Godfrey. We had three centre-backs out today, it’s very difficult. Seamus played there. We played a back three at the end. Everyone has given everything,
“The important thing is we have a positive attitude. it’s in our hands at Goodison again hopefully with 11 on the pitch.
“The effort was incredible. The players deserve a little rest. The legs are hanging off a bit with all the injuries.”