Premier League • England

Frank Lampard urges focus from ‘hungry’ Everton after responding to FA charge

Frank Lampard, Burnley v Everton April 2022

Frank Lampard insists focus is the most important thing as Everton aim to secure Premier League status within their final few matches of the season.

Everton enter the weekend in the relegation zone with five games of their season to go. They have a game in hand over Leeds United, which they will play later this month in the hope of climbing out of the drop zone.

For now, though, they must keep working away and getting what results they can. They certainly helped their case with a 1-0 win over Chelsea last Sunday.

However, manager Lampard does not think they can dwell on that for too long and must immediately start thinking about the challenge Leicester City will pose on Sunday.

He told a press conference: “It’s a nice bounce, a nice feeling but reality kicks in and the next games are the most important ones.

“It’s critical for us that we approach these games with a real understanding and real focus.

“At the moment we’ve got a group of players who are hungry, who are fighting from what we’ve seen in recent games. Performances like Jordan Pickford’s last week are an added bonus.”

Some have questioned Lampard’s own credentials for a relegation battle. But he could be working to prove his doubters wrong.

That isn’t on his mind, though. Instead, he is seeing the bigger picture.

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Lampard explained: “We’re still in the battle and if you approach it in the idea of changing people’s minds, you’re doing it in the wrong way.

“I’m not a better manager, sitting there after the win at Chelsea, than I was after the defeat against Tottenham.”

For his players, it has been a case of reiterating how they must get out of the situation they find themselves in.

He added: “I just felt before the Chelsea game that it was important the players understood the position we’re in and a need to get out of it.

“This week is against a fantastic team and then we go to Watford. I’ll approach it to get us in the best possible shape.”

Lampard has no injury news, nor comments on FA charge

Looking ahead to the Leicester clash, Lampard confirmed there are no fresh injury concerns compared to last week.

He said: “No changes for us. We had a pretty good week with recovery for the lads, a couple of little niggles but hopefully we’ll be the same as we were (against Chelsea).”

A potential distraction for Lampard is the FA charge looming over him for his comments after last month’s Merseyside derby.

However, he refused to be drawn further on the matter, instead vowing to protect his club.

He responded: “It’s an emotional game isn’t it and my first job is to protect Everton Football Club, for the players, for the club itself. And for the fans.

“But I can’t talk about it. I’ve got to reply to the FA and at this point, I can’t speak any more about it.”

Everton must focus on their on-pitch duties for the time being, to avoid a first ever removal from the Premier League.

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