Frank Lampard says his players each put in a ‘very poor performance’ as Everton lost to MLS outfit Minnesota in a pre-season friendly.
Lampard put out a strong starting eleven, including first-team regulars Anthony Gordon and Michael Keane as well as new arrival James Tarkowski. However, the side didn’t live up to expectations as they were convincingly beaten 4-0 by Minnesota.
The US club took the lead through a spot-kick and were 3-0 up before half time. They scored again with around 10 minutes left to round off a miserable day for Everton.
The Toffees’ performance was summed up by a dreadful Dele Alli miss. He had the goal at his mercy from just a couple of yards out. But he somehow managed to miss the target.
During a post-match interview, Lampard was asked about last season’s Premier League relegation battle and how his team will fare this time around. He said (via the Liverpool Echo): “If we don’t want to be in that situation again, they have to be better and I have to be better.”
The former midfielder added: “The players in the dressing room need to understand that they’ve put in a very poor performance individually and collectively.”
Everton struggled in attack without Richarlison, who will play for Tottenham next season after his £60million switch. On this, Lampard said: “There is no doubt about it. When you think of where we were last year, we have lost a big player in Richarlison.
“We wish him well, but our club now continues. We know there is a void in forward areas, we are short in numbers there.
Frank Lampard ‘wants to strengthen’ team
“Also, through the team, there are things I want to strengthen. And I can be honest about that, because a club like Everton has to have a competitive squad.
“The players must be up for the fact they have to fight to play in the team. For me, that starts on day one of pre-season and ends at the end of the season.
“That’s the disappointing thing tonight for me. The lads have trained well and trained hard out here but that performance should give them a lot to think about on the plane home. It’s certainly given me a lot to think about.”
It seems Lampard is fuming with his players for putting in such a dire display after training so hard in recent weeks. A poor defeat in pre-season will only worsen their confidence after a troublesome campaign in 2021-22.
The Merseyside outfit have the chance to turn things around in their next two friendlies. They face Blackpool on Sunday before coming up against Dynamo Kyiv next Friday.
But it’s clear more players need to be brought in if Everton are to get anywhere near the top 10.
One player they are pursuing is Watford star Emmanuel Dennis, although he is also a target for a Prem rival.