Frank Lampard insists Everton still have “loads to do” following Saturday’s victory over Manchester United at an elated Goodison Park.
Anthony Gordon struck the only goal of the game after 27 minutes, the 21-year-old’s shot deflecting off Harry Maguire to wrong-foot goalkeeper David de Gea.
Lampard was effusive in his praise for “top young player” Gordon and bracketed the Everton Academy graduate with youthful England stars Mason Mount and Phil Foden in terms of attitude and self-motivation.
The Everton manager admitted to a deal of pride in his team’s performance, too, all the more for a display packed with spirit and perseverance coming fewer than 72 hours after the flattening defeat at Burnley.
Lampard, however, is refusing to get ahead of himself with eight game remaining, beginning with a visit from Leicester City on 20 April.
“There is loads to do, it is one win,” said Lampard.
“We should have got a result in the week with our performance levels, but we didn’t.
“That is the reality when things go against you, you have to keep going
“It is not easy when you wake up the next morning after Burnley.
“My job, first and foremost, is to lift everyone and be positive, try to go again.
“They are good bunch in that dressing room… some people question that about these players.
“Come and watch us today, bodies were on the line, Demarai Gray was making blocks on the line in front of Jordan.
“I am very proud. It is a pressured time with where we are and the reality of the situation.
“At Goodison, we've been good – that's our fifth win in seven.
“When we come together, the fans and the players, we're hard to beat here.
“It always starts with our physical output and contact and fighting spirit because that's what fans demand here – and rightly so.
“When you give them that, you give yourselves a chance.
“The players are a good bunch – but we have a lot to do.”
Everton resisted early Manchester United pressure, generally keeping the visitors at arm’s length but twice indebted to Jordan Pickford for terrific saves from Marcus Rashford.
Goalkeeper Pickford reserved his best for stoppage time at the end of the match, flashing out his right hand to repel Cristiano Ronaldo’s close-range strike.
Between times, it was Everton who exerted a grip on the game.
De Gea saved with his fingertips from Richarlison’s deflected effort and Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey – both outstanding in the middle of Everton’s defence – headed over from set-piece deliveries.
That a few opportunities went begging didn’t matter, thanks to Gordon’s first-half strike.
The 21-year-old’s fourth Everton goal crowned an industrious individual display that went down extremely well with the home supporters who generated another signature Goodison atmosphere.
"Anthony is a top young player with a great attitude, a great hunger and he loves the Club,” said Lampard.
“He loves coming to training every day, he loves the idea of scoring goals and providing assists. He's on himself if he doesn't do that, he demands more from himself.
“It's brilliant to see that in a young player. It's a difference in the great batch of young players we have in this country – Mason Mount, who I worked with, you also look at Phil Foden from the outside. They have this extra attitude that makes them what they are. Anthony is one of those.
“The crowd were great straight away, but it would be easy to switch off a bit or get tetchy, if they see people not working.
“When you're not playing at your best, the reality of football is that you have to fight through it. You might give a ball away, it might look like you're not at it for a second, but the only way to get that back around is to fly in and make a tackle, like in the build-up to the goal.
“As soon as the goal goes in my thoughts go straight to a tackle in midfield. It's those sorts of moments we need in this position.
“Beautiful football can come later. I've got ambitions at this club to stay up and move on – play well and change some things. But, in the position we're in, fighting comes first and foremost.”
Lampard made four changes to his starting XI, including a recall for Fabian Delph following four months out with a thigh problem.
The 32-year-old, operating at the back of Everton’s midfield, was integral to a disciplined team performance, aiding the effort to negate United’s brisk counter-attacking football.
“We've missed Fabian, it's something that goes unnoticed,” added Lampard.
“Every club and every manager will bemoan it – we have injuries and problems.
“If you find yourself without one or two defensive midfielders for whatever reason, it's tough.
“Delphy gave us a sense of calm and his positioning was excellent in terms of filling in if one of the centre-backs got dragged out. He does those things naturally. He was great today and now he can get his well-deserved rest.”