Frank Lampard has challenged his Everton players to replicate the “magic” of their recent Goodison Park performances in their upcoming away games, as he reiterated the importance of the squad remaining together and fighting as a unit.
Everton have taken 10 points from their past four home matches and now face two key matches on the road, with Sunday’s clash at Leicester City followed by a trip to Watford three days later.
The Blues will go into the Leicester match on the back of a stirring 1-0 win over European champions Chelsea, with Lampard’s side roared to victory by a feverish Goodison crowd.
The Everton manager said the reception his squad received outside the stadium “was like nothing he’d ever seen before” and hailed a joint effort between his team and Evertonians.
Everton have been unable to match their Goodison results on the road, however, and Lampard says conjuring the energy, intensity and quality shown at home away from L4 could hold the key to achieving Premier League survival.
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LAMPARD: I'VE NEVER SEEN SUPPORT LIKE THAT
“We have got three away games to go, and we have to change that [form],” he told evertontv.
“We can’t rely on our home matches. We have to be really ready for Leicester.
“The players have to understand a gameplan is important and have the discipline to do it through the whole game.
“Against Chelsea, we had a plan to work through the game, but the players also showed the extra bit – the extra effort which is the magic to get you a result.
“We deserved to win the game. Jordan Pickford made great saves – people will highlight that and rightly so – but we also had chances to make it a more comfortable win for us. It was absolutely brilliant from everyone.
“We need to be a unit that fights in these five games like we did against Chelsea.
“Whether the players start the game or come on as a sub, the squad has to be together. They showed against Chelsea that they are, but that means nothing if we don’t follow it up.
“We have to follow it up.”
Pickford underlined his status as England’s finest goalkeeper with a pair of spectacular second-half saves in Sunday’s win.
After Richarlison had put Everton ahead, the Blues stopper showed miraculous reactions to race across his line to keep out Cesar Azpuilueta’s goalboard effort, before courageously taking Antonio Rudiger’s close-range drive “in the kipper”, to borrow Pickford’s phrase.
Boss Lampard saluted Pickford’s elite ability and professionalism.
“Jordan is a world-class goalkeeper,” he said.
“He is a low-maintenance player, he’s easy to work with.
“He makes quick reaction saves and brave saves. He has saved us two points against Chelsea and that’s what it’s all about.”
Centre-back Yerry Mina, meanwhile, was a colossal presence at centre-back for Everton in Sunday’s game.
The defender has recently recovered after more than two months out with injury and Lampard explained how his return has given the Blues a significant boost on and off the field.
Lampard added he is hopeful Dominic Calvert-Lewin can still make an important contribution for Everton during the run-in as the striker works his way back to optimum fitness.
The England attacker was an unused substitute against Chelsea after recovering from the minor quadriceps problem that ruled him out of the Merseyside derby.
“With Yerry, I’m delighted he’s come back into the fray in terms of his fitness,” Lampard said.
“You can see that leadership, presence and personality he brings. He is a big leader for us. It was great to see him play like that.
“We have a week now [before the Leicester game] to get Dom more fit, because he can be a big player for us – we know that – and to keep the levels in the squad high and positive.
“We have five big games left and still have a lot of work to do.”