Lampard Urges Focus On 'Tough Job' Ahead

Frank Lampard says it is imperative Everton guard against complacency after escaping the Premier League relegation zone – and there is a “tough job to finish”, beginning with Wednesday’s visit to Watford.

Everton would record three straight wins for the first time this season with victory at Vicarage Road.

Watford were relegated following defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, but Lampard is wary of encountering a wounded animal in midweek.

Everton will travel to Hertfordshire on a high – and, in all likelihood, after a rousing send-off from supporters planning a loud farewell when the team coach leaves Finch Farm on Tuesday – following victory over Leicester City on Sunday.

As against Chelsea at Goodison Park seven days earlier, the weekend success was inspired by the vocal and unstinting backing of Evertonians.

But it would be a huge mistake, insists Lampard, to interpret the unity and excitement engulfing the Club as confirmation Everton have the points in the bank to secure survival.

“The only message for us – although we enjoyed the weekend and it was a game that got us out of the relegation zone – is that it is very dangerous to relax,” said Lampard.

“As much as we can talk about the fans and great atmosphere, for the players and staff, the only message is that we have to finish a tough job.

“We have to expect the worst elsewhere, everyone else [direct rivals Leeds United and Burnley] can win their games.

“We can control ourselves and there is no way we can relax. That is the biggest message.

"There is a good feeling in the group from winning back-to back games and in terms of confidence we are ready to go again.

“All the players need to do, is continue with the mindset they have at the moment.

“Every game in the Premier League is dangerous – especially away from home, we found that out for a while. It changed at Leicester, but the minute you think you’ve cracked it, you'll struggle.

 “To underestimate Watford would be our biggest danger.”

Lampard again underlined the substantial role Evertonians are playing in his side’s improving form.

The fans’ “support and passion and willingness to take part” have materially contributed to a mighty “joined-up effort”, he said.

Frank Lampard
The only message for us – although we enjoyed the weekend and it was a game that got us out of the relegation zone – is that it is very dangerous to relax.

The manager’s players are more than doing their bit, too, and Lampard reiterated the faith he’s had in his squad since walking in the door on 31 January.

A meeting with Seamus Coleman provided Lampard with encouragement back then – and that strong first impression has grown in the subsequent months.

Equally, returning senior figures such as Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina, the defender who is absent from the squad for Watford and in a race to feature against Arsenal on the final day, provided timely boosts.

“The talk of togetherness and passion and belief is important – but results also come from going on the pitch and being disciplined in the idea of how you want to play,” said Lampard.

“They players have to take ownership, too.

“One of the big plusses I found from day one, sitting down with Seamus Coleman, was realising I had one of the best captains you can imagine having for a dressing room.

“He is a big reference point for the group in terms of how he behaves and conducts himself and speaks.

“Delph and Mina bring personality and that affects the dressing room.

“Fabian has shown you can’t underestimate experience and a football brain and calmness and effort.

“He has been great for us. We’ve had big injuries and they do affect things because you want to rely on big players.

“The players are good lads and want the best for Everton. They are proud of playing for this club.

“I have seen that all along and now they are getting some rewards for their attitude and approach.”

The win at Leicester was only Everton’s second away from home in the league this term.

Equally, it represented only the second time the team has won successive top-flight fixtures in 2021/22.

The improvement of those records, insists Lampard, should be viewed as a platform for more consistent returns.

“It is important to retain balance because there is a big picture,” added Lampard.

“Tap into the good side but guard against over confidence.

“Where we are in our small patch, it is important to have a good mood but understand there is work to do.”