Iwobi: Everton Thriving Off Lampard Confidence

Alex Iwobi has opened up on how he and his Everton teammates are “thriving” off the confidence instilled in them by manager Frank Lampard – as the forward called on the squad to use their Manchester City display as a blueprint for the rest of the season.

Everton were desperately unlucky to come away empty-handed from Saturday’s Premier League clash at Goodison as Phil Foden’s 82nd-minute finish proved decisive in a 1-0 defeat.

The scoreline does little to reflect the full story, however, with Lampard’s men creating the better chances in the first half and limiting the defending champions and league leaders to few opportunities themselves.

The Blues were also aggrieved when City midfielder Rodri appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area with five minutes remaining, only for VAR to deem otherwise.

Despite that cruel blow, Iwobi is confident Everton will pick out the many positives from their performance to set them in good stead for the rest of the campaign.

The Nigeria international has caught the eye since Lampard’s appointment at the end of January and was named in the starting XI for the third successive match in a three-man attack alongside Anthony Gordon and Richarlison.

Iwobi produced another encouraging display, creating the best chance of the opening half when he turned and picked out Richarlison inside the area to fire a shot at Ederson, while linking up well throughout down the right flank with Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Iwobi’s efforts were saluted by the Goodison faithful when he was replaced by Anwar El Ghazi with two minutes remaining – and the 25-year-old revealed how boss Lampard is giving him the belief to showcase his skills.

“I’m happy with my performance and grateful for the reception I got from fans when I went off but we wanted the result our performance deserved,” Iwobi told evertontv. “We can be pleased with how we played, though.

“We should have had a penalty. It’s been the talk of the changing room. We’re all shocked but it’s just something we have to get on with. The decision has been made and we have to focus on the next game now.

“The manager has given everyone the confidence that we are a really good team, can be very good on the ball. He just wants us to trust our ability. It’s not just me, we are all thriving off him and enjoying it.

“Personally, the manager’s support gives me the belief that I can go out and express myself and enjoy the games. It really helps me to show what I’ve got. It works for me and it works for the team. Long may that continue.”

Alex Iwobi
Personally, the manager’s support gives me the belief that I can go out and express myself and enjoy the games. It really helps me to show what I’ve got. It works for me and it works for the team. Long may that continue.

Everton now turn their attentions to the FA Cup as they host National League side Boreham Wood in the fifth round on Thursday night (8.15pm GMT), before returning to Premier League action four days later with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur (8pm).

Iwobi also believes the Manchester City game showed how the Blues can be flexible in their approach, with Lampard opting for a 4-3-3 formation as Doucoure, Allan and January loan signing Donny van de Beek combined in midfield for the first time.

“There are a lot of positives that we’re going to take,” added Iwobi. “We’re going to analyse the game and move forward. If we apply ourselves like we did today with the other games that are coming up, we know we can do well.

“The formation was good. We tried to congest the midfield. City like to break through the lines but they struggled to get through our defence. It worked for us today but we may change again. We’ve played a number of formations and whatever the gaffer decides to do we’ll be ready to give our best.

“We can’t stay negative over this. We need to move on and push on. We have that confidence, we believe we did well even though the result doesn’t reflect that but we take the positives and move on.”

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