Lampard Reiterates Strong Message

Frank Lampard is making no apologies for banging the same 'the-next-game-is-most-important' drum ahead of Everton’s Premier League meeting with Brentford at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Everton could conceivably secure their place in next season’s top-flight with victory over the team from West London.

But Lampard, who has refused to engage in talk of hypothetical scenarios since taking charge, insists thinking about the potential reward for victory qualifies as an unnecessary distraction.

Everton claimed 10 points from their past four home games, while the past six fixtures in all have yielded 11 points.

Those returns combined to haul Everton two points above the bottom three, after slipping five points adrift of 17th position at one stage.

But, maintains Lampard, Everton – whose current form is underpinned by supporters mobilising in a show of sustained backing and defiance – would pay a very heavy price for thinking the job is complete.

“It is a nice return [from recent matches], considering the types of game, against big opponents and going away from home and changing that story for us,” said Lampard.

“But we are not done, we are not over the line.

“The minute you switch off, or stop doing the good things, this game can punish you.

“We have to make sure we approach the next games with exactly the same attitude and pick up the results we need.

“The message can be a bit repetitive but it is important to repeat.

“We have to remember our situation and that every opponent can give you different problems come matchday.

“But there are some things we have to keep same; the attitude and work ethic of the whole squad.

“It is clear everybody is fighting in the same direction.

“It has been a big push from everybody, on and off the pitch, and sustaining that is not easy, or normal.

“I don’t expect the fans to wave us off from Finch Farm every week.

“But it’s been an absolute pleasure how they are adding to it.

“Everybody is investing a lot and trying to keep that momentum to the end of the season is a big deal.”

Frank Lampard
The minute you switch off, or stop doing the good things, this game can punish you. We have to make sure we approach the next games with exactly the same attitude and pick up the results we need.

If Lampard is not keen to look too far ahead, the identity of this weekend’s opponents did allow for some reflection on recent history.

Brentford provided the opposition for Lampard’s first game in charge, an FA Cup tie Everton won 4-1 on 5 February.

The manager struck up an instant rapport with supporters and that bond has thickened in the intervening months.

Lampard wants more of the same in terms of atmosphere. In respect of what happens on the pitch, he is expecting a sterner test than the one provided by Thomas Frank’s team three months ago.

Brentford enjoyed an auspicious start to their first top-tier season in 74 years, but were fading around the time of their Cup visit.

Manager Frank has subsequently overseen a monumental upturn, inspired by fellow Dane Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest at last year’s European Championship, and Brentford have won six and drawn one of their past nine Premier League fixtures.

“It [Brentford Cup match] was a really big moment for me in my managerial career, you never take receptions and support for granted and that was a special day,” said Lampard.

“The feeling I got from that game was great and that is why we want to finish the season well and give these fans what they deserve.

“But this game will be completely different, given where Brentford are now and where we are at this point.

“Christian Eriksen is a great story, for obvious reasons, that everyone is happy to see.

“He’s instantly shown his quality and given the club an uplift, which is what quality players can do.

“He is a top-class player and will be a big threat.

“Brentford are a hard team to analyse because of the flexibility they have in the team, which shows they have a very good coach.

“They have been in particularly good form in recent weeks and will be a big challenge for us.”

Lampard, whose team have back-to-back home fixtures, with Crystal Palace due at Goodison on Thursday, did make one concession to talk of the future.

“We are in the last throes of season and our job is to get across the line to stay in this league,” began Lampard.

“At that point, myself and the Club will look ahead and see how we can improve ourselves.

“That is the aim every summer… those conversations come after we, hopefully, stay in the league."

Then it was back to the task in hand, with Everton’s Premier League fate firmly in their own hands.

“The fans want to see spirit in the team and results,” added Lampard. “They have been great with me personally and are supporting the team incredibly well.

“We have picked up points at the right time, to get the feeling of being out of danger.

“But we are still there – we have two games at home, where we feel strong, but completely respect our opponents.

“We have got ourselves in a good position, but it so, so important we don’t relax, and keep pushing and get the results we need. We must keep going.”