Frank Lampard awarded his man-of-the-match prize to the Evertonians who created a rousing atmosphere to roar their team to victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Manager Lampard, who urged his side to recreate the intensity and spirit that unsettled Chelsea over the closing five fixtures, confessed to experiencing “goosebumps” after Everton’s team coach was greeted by a passionate and loud welcoming committee.
The pivotal moment of a game Lampard viewed as “huge” was supplied by Richarlison: the Brazilian sprinting into the box to slot a composed finish into the corner 60 seconds after half-time.
Jordan Pickford repelled a furious Chelsea response, producing exceptional reaction saves from Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger within 15 minutes of Richarlison’s strike.
Goalkeeper Pickford, insisted Lampard, proved precisely why he is England’s undisputed number one.
The Everton manager, however, refused to go overboard after his side reached 10 points from four home fixtures.
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COLEMAN SENDS MESSAGE AFTER CRUCIAL EVERTON WIN
Instead, Lampard, savouring an “incredible experience” in his third managerial post, emphasised the necessity of replicating a relentless Goodison performance in forthcoming games at Leicester City and Watford.
“Today was a huge game for us and when you see the fans turn up before this game and what they did to this game – they were people of the match,” said Lampard.
“Men, women and youngsters, all Everton crazy, they love this club and they pushed us over the line.
“It was amazing and I can only thank them. I have been through a lot in football but it was a goosebumps moment on the way in.
“It is not the norm, driving up and seeing the fans like that, it is special, and it makes a big difference when you feel pushed on by the ferocity and nice aggression of the fans support.
“The players understand what it means to people but, sometimes, a little reminder is a good thing, and they produced an outstanding display against a very good team.
“The great discipline and work ethic stemmed from the great support.”
Everton are two points behind both Leeds United and Burnley immediately above them and own a game in hand over both direct rivals.
The ultimate fate of Lampard’s team will be determined over the course of a breathless fortnight, beginning with a visit to Leicester next Sunday.
They play Watford away three days later, before a pair of home fixtures, against Brentford and Crystal Palace, and closing-day date with Arsenal in London.
“There are a lot of points fight for – we are still in the relegation zone, we have the extra game but we have to go with that same spirit in every match,” said Lampard, who has won six and drawn one of his nine Goodison fixtures.
“I prodded the players a bit before today’s game, because I thought they needed it.
“The situation is clear, we need to perform at that level in our remaining games.
“They did what they’ve done at Goodison for me, performed with spirit and togetherness and tactical organisation.
“This is not the time to enjoy it and relax.
“There is a reason we are where we are and a big part of that is the away form.
“People are right to ask questions if the players don’t produce that level of performance against Leicester and Watford.
“It is a different demand from now because it is critical – it is no good waiting until there are two games remaining, we have five games and are in a fight and it is in our hands to perform how we did today."
Everton needed every ounce of resilience they could muster as Chelsea launched their full artillery at attempts for an equaliser.
There were opportunities for the hosts to wrap it up, too – Vitalii Mykolenko and Demarai Gray both directing shots fractionally off target and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy thwarting Anthony Gordon.
That Everton didn’t pay for those missed opportunities was down to Pickford, who added to his tremendous stops from Azpilicueta and Rudiger with further saves to frustrate Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mateo Kovacic.
“That is why he is England’s number one,” said Lampard.
“It is such a tough position because people want to shout you down.
“In a game of this critical nature, they were fast and technically-brilliant and brave saves – it was top-level goalkeeping.
“People expect those saves but they are not normal – they were huge saves that won us two points.
“When he produces like that you understand the level of player he is.”
Lampard added: “I am delighted with every player and every substitute who came on – it was amazing from us.
“This is an incredible experience for me, a big deal, and all I want to do is give it my best to help this club stay in the Premier League.”