Frank Lampard says Richarlison’s stoppage-time equaliser against Leicester City on Wednesday was just reward for Everton’s endurance and fighting spirit.
The home team suffered an early body blow when Harvey Barnes steered home from close range after five minutes.
That setback was in keeping with Everton’s slow start, conceded Lampard, who used his half-time address to demand an increase in “attitude and desire and intensity”.
Everton responded by applying sustained pressure on the visitors’ goal, with Richarlison, twice, Salomon Rondon and Seamus Coleman – “sensational” on the night, in the view of his manager – all coming close.
But Lampard’s side had to wait until the second minute of time added on for their equaliser, Richarlison scuffing in a shot after Rondon touched on a cross from fellow substitute Dele.
The draw was only Everton’s fifth from 31 Premier League games this term – and a first since they shared the points with Chelsea on 16 December.
“On general play, we weren’t quite at our best and Leicester played well,” said Lampard.
“The second half was much better and we created enough chances to feel we deserved something from the game – and we finally got it.
“We had chances in the first half, but Leicester gave us some problems in terms of possession.
“We were slow off the mark, we normally fly out here at Goodison, but didn't today.
“That can happen, then it is unfortunate when you concede, because that makes it a longer night.
“But I was really happy with the spirit.
“I told the players at half-time that we needed to lift the attitude and desire and intensity in our play and they did that.
“They kept fighting until the end and that is important at this point.
“Richarlison had other chances and the one he scored was a bit of a mis-hit – and sometimes you have days like that.
“The good thing was, we had chances and were dangerous from set-pieces.
“I am pleased with the point, it is something we’ve not been doing well enough: when we are not quite on our game, creating chances and fighting and getting a point.
“And at this stage it can be a crucial point.”
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DEPARTING MAIER & SEVECKE THANK BLUES
Everton inched four points clear of Burnley in 18th following the leveller from Richarlison, whose strike was his 50th since signing from Watford in summer 2018.
The managerless Clarets host Southampton on Thursday, with Everton due at Anfield for the season’s second Merseyside derby three days later.
With Premier League football on the line – and, in Everton’s case, an unbroken 68-year top-flight residence – Lampard is making no apologies for concentrating solely on the here and now.
He has been in charge fewer than three months, in sharp contrast to the ongoing three-year plus reign of Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers.
“It is not easy in the situation we are to talk about philosophies and the style we want long term,” said Lampard.
“Brendan has been working there a long time, he is a fantastic coach, working with really good players, who can all handle the ball.
“That is not the phase we are in.
“We are in a phase where we need to fight… and show commitment.
"The players did that – we started slowly but they showed commitment through the game.
“My captain, Seamus, was sensational, in terms of his attitude – and we got the point we deserved.”
For all Leicester’s possession – the visitors had roughly two-thirds of the ball – it was Everton who aimed more shots at goal.
The majority of the hosts’ 13 attempts – Leicester had 11 – came after the restart, when Everton’s speed and aggression disrupted the away team’s rhythm.
“The Premier League is a test, the position we are in is a test, and against Leicester you can’t run willy-nilly after the ball, because they are good players and will play though you,” added Lampard.
“We weren’t as compact as we normally are at Goodison and that is something we need to address going forward.
“We got to half-time at 1-0, then injected more urgency and direction into our game.
“It was a tough match, but on chances we deserved the point.”