Frank Lampard says the ability to marry cool heads with a healthy appetite for the fight is fundamental to settling a Premier League survival “shootout” in Everton’s favour.
Manager Lampard is readying his side to face Chelsea on Sunday, when Everton will aim to extend an unbeaten home run to a fourth game.
Goodison Park victories over Newcastle United and Manchester United, in addition to the draw captured at the death against Leicester City, were founded on “spirit and togetherness”, insists Lampard.
Those commodities were again evident in Sunday’s Merseyside derby, albeit in a losing cause.
Lampard – who watched Anthony Gordon run his man ragged for large parts of the game at Anfield and promptly declared the 21-year-old “is going to be a huge player for us and a huge player for his country” – is adamant the outcome of that match won’t divert his team off course, ahead of six crucial fixtures.
The key now, says Lampard, is to ignore outside talk and harness the ‘all-in-it-together’ attitude that is increasingly characterising Everton’s football.
“I said that [don’t get caught up in external comment] to the players,” Lampard told evertontv.
“The outside world will love it, they will want panic.
“We are a huge club.
"Clubs around us will not get the media and following we do, because it is Everton.
“We have to take that on the chin. That is the size of the Club and what we represent
“Behind closed doors, how we train and prepare and feel as players and staff and as a a club, we have to be positive and really believe.
“It is a huge thing for us, now, to take the attitude and belief from Sunday, and keep going for the final six games.
“The players implemented the gameplan we gave them against Liverpool, the way they kept going to the end was a huge plus and we must take that spirit forwards.
“And believe that if it is a shootout with other teams around us, we will win the shootout.”
The performance of Academy graduate Gordon at the weekend, meanwhile, burnished a fast-swelling reputation.
He is a go-to man for Lampard and has started all but one of 15 matches since the ex-Chelsea boss was appointed in January.
Feature in the closing six games and Gordon will reach 60 Everton appearances, trebling his tally of 20 prior to the campaign.
But it is Gordon’s intelligence, speed and aggression that are combining to impress, over and above raw statistics.
Numbers of another kind, however, are the only things separating Gordon from the Premier League’s elite forwards, in the opinion of Lampard.
“He is growing all the time and we saw that – going and playing against one of the best teams in the world, standing up and going past people and showing energy and quality and dedication,” said Lampard.
“The next bit for Anthony is the end product of goals and assists – and he is desperate for it.
“It will come for him, he needs to stay cool with that – because every day he works on it, he does the right things.
“He is going to be a huge player for us and a huge player for his country.”
Lampard once belonged in the latter category and won 101 of his 106 England caps during 13 years as a Chelsea player.
There “is no emotion” in a personal sense going up against an “opponent I know so well”, says Lampard, whose is concerning himself only with the question of “What can we do at Goodison to try to get three points?”
He is “waiting” on the fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the striker missed Everton’s past two games with a quadriceps issue.
Lampard, however, is confident of having Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph available after both players missed the derby contest as a precautionary measure.
There was praise from Lampard for that duo’s “outstanding” replacements, Mason Holgate and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Lampard additionally sourced encouragement from his players’ desire to stand up for each other when matters grew heated during the 240th all-Merseyside clash.
“That is what my team has to do… it is what Evertonians want from their team,” said Lampard.
“Stay the right side of the line, with no stupidity in it.
“But when there is so much at stake and they [Liverpool] are a team that wants to fight... you have to stand up to that.
“I was very pleased with that side of the game.
“Not only did we stand up, we kept our hands down, we didn’t go over the line.
“”Now there is a real focus for the games ahead, starting with Chelsea.”