Frank Lampard’s biggest lesson from his first ever relegation fight is to mention relegation at the first sign of trouble, apparently, even if that comes in a blazing hot preseason match half-a-world away from home.
Everton was smacked 4-0 by Minnesota United on Thursday, Lampard’s Toffees falling to former club hero Adrian Heath and the Loons via three first-half goals.
A fairly-strong lineup started the game as the Toffees fell behind 3-0 in the first 35 minutes, and Lampard thinks his players might’ve not learned their lesson from last season.
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That’s when the club struggled all season under multiple managers, including Lampard, only to save their place on the penultimate matchday of the season. The Toffees trailed 2-0 in that game but came back to win 3-2 and cement their place in the Premier League.
Obviously the score line is terrible but Lampard was also clearly happy to not just lament his players’ mentality but also go to Uncle Harry Redknapp’s school of, “This shows we need to spend on players.”
It might, but the Toffees also aren’t in a terrific financial situation due to their spending over the last few years. And considering that several of the players on the field Wednesday — like Anthony Gordon — were ones he praised last season, well…
Here’s what Lampard had to say.
Lampard worries about Everton mentality, transfers
“The players have to work and understand we were in a relegation battle for a big portion of last season,” he said. “We had an amazing night [vs Crystal Palace] and an amazing run…but, as soon as that finished, I put it to bed very quickly, so the players have to put it to bed as well, because we were in that fight for a reason. And if we don’t want to be in that situation again, they have to better and I have to be better.
“As a club, [the loss] reinforced the situation in terms of what we need to do with the squad, because it has to be stronger than what we saw tonight. We’re all very collectively joined up on that and it reinforces the thoughts we’ve all got. It’s important to think in that way because you want to get better and personnel is key.
“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. 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 [against Minnesota] should give them a lot to think about on the plane home, because it’s certainly given me a lot to think about.”
Again, it’s easy to forget that the entirety of Frank Lampard’s experience with relegation came last season with Everton. Are the Toffees risking plenty by sticking with the former Chelsea and Derby County boss?