Frank Lampard makes Everton admission and points finger of blame in one direction for Southampton loss

Frank Lampard Everton 2023 TEAMtalk.0001

Everton boss Frank Lampard refused to blame off-field distractions for Saturday’s defeat to Southampton and insists the buck stops with him.

The Toffees slipped to 19th in the Premier League table after another damaging home defeat. Having lost 4-1 to Brighton at Goodison Park, the Merseysiders went down 2-1 to fellow strugglers Southampton. The hosts took the lead when Amadou Onana headed home Demarai Gray’s cross just before the break.

But Saints were back on level terms just one minute after the interval through James Ward-Prowse.

And the England man then bagged the winner, burying a trademark free-kick with 12 minutes left on the clock.

The south-coast outfit remain at the foot of the standings but are level on 15 points with Everton and West Ham.

Everton have now picked up just two points from their last seven games. And Lampard admitted his frustration at the way his men let a winning position slip.

“It’s obviously difficult and disappointing, especially when you go 1-0 up,” he told BBC Sport. “It’s a tough game, there’s a lot of tension for both teams I think. We deserved to be 1-0 in the first half with the passion in our game.

“It wasn’t a tactical game, it was more of a fighting game. We showed spirit and then an early goal in the second half changes the tone of the game.

“We came back, created some things, we hit the bar but then, typically at the moment, we concede a free-kick and it goes in our net.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing. It was a big game for us and we lost.”

Lampard takes responsibility as pressure mounts on beleaguered boss

Having flirted with the relegation zone last term, hopes were high that Everton might enjoy a solid season in the top flight.

However, they have won just three league games and face another battle to stay in England’s top division.

The fans have shown their displeasure this season, with negative chants and protests against the board.

Chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale was allegedly assaulted outside the Goodison Park directors box. And chairman Bill Kenwright is said to have received death threats.

Lampard confessed that these are tough times for the club but made it clear he will not use them as an excuse for failure.

“No, I’m completely focused on what we’re doing on the pitch,” he added. “The off-field noise is there but the things we can control as staff and players is on the pitch – and today we got beaten.

“It’s a difficult period. There is so much passion at this club for the right reasons, everyone wants the best for the club.

“Of course, over the years we’ve come in a direction where we were in a relegation battle last year and again this year.”

Lampard seeks Everton reaction

The bottom of the table is unusually tight, with no club adrift and already doomed to the drop.

Southampton may be bottom but are just two points adrift of 14th-placed Leeds United.

Next up for the Toffees is a trip to the capital to face West Ham.

Lampard knows just how important the fixture is and wants his charges to dust themselves down for the challenge ahead.

“They’re all big games and we have to pick up because when you’re in this position, you lose football matches unfortunately,” he continued.

“The only thing that is important is the reaction. We have to take it on the chin tonight.”

And the former Chelsea manager refused to be too hard on his players for the way they battled.

“It was a game that we really wanted to win. The effort of the players, the desire of the players was big,” he said.

“I cannot go against that but, in terms of the performance, when the game changes in the second half, we know that’s not enough and I’ll be the first to take responsibility for that.”

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