Lampard Buoyed By Key Everton Figure Return

Frank Lampard is adamant Everton boast the strength of character to respond to their weekend setback at the first time of asking when Crystal Palace visit Goodison Park on Thursday.

The manager began plotting a strong reaction in the immediate aftermath of a defeat by Brentford on Sunday, when Everton appeared poised to confirm Premier League survival after securing a quickfire lead, courtesy of Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first goal since August.

Lampard’s team were made to wait for safety, however, after Brentford capitalised on an early red card for Jarrad Branthwaite to claim a 3-2 victory.

The return to action and improving form of “a massive player” in Calvert-Lewin, who started only his seventh game of the ex-Chelsea boss’s three-and-a-half month Goodison reign, was a significant takeaway for Lampard, who has consistently been deprived of key performers.

And in advance of what is essentially a second match-point in Everton’s survival bid – beat Palace and they feature on 16 June when the top-flight fixtures for 2022/23 are released – Lampard insisted neither his players, nor the supporters creating feverish atmospheres for every game, required any kind of call to arms for the season’s closing home match.

“They [players] are a strong group and they gave everything against Brentford,” Lampard told evertontv.

“On another day, we’d have won comfortably. But they'll go again, we'll all go again. 

“Dominic came in and was a force, which was good to see.

“He has been striving for fitness, and there is a lot of comment on him – no wonder, because he is and has been a massive player for us.

“That brings a different pressure but all he’s done is try to get fit – consistently fit – and that’s been tough.

“But I think [against Brentford] you saw a player who is the type of Dominic we all love.

“We’ll tell the players what we see [from analysing Brentford match], then they have to implement the things from the period of the game before the red card.

“It was not an issue of effort – a mistake changed the game. After that, everyone's intentions were great, the crowd were great, and now we have to recharge and go again.

“We will be ready.”

Lampard is hopeful of a return for Michael Keane against Patrick Vieira’s team after an overnight illness ruled out the centre-half of the Brentford meeting.

Keane’s availability would count as a boon, with Branthwaite suspended and Yerry Mina nursing a calf problem. It is not anticipated, at this stage, that Ben Godfrey will be ready for Palace.

Frank Lampard
I think [against Brentford] you saw a player who is the type of Dominic we all love.

Lampard remains without a player at the other end of the experience spectrum in midfielder Fabian Delph and rates Donny van der Beek, on loan from Manchester United, as only a “possibility” to feature, two months after the Dutchman’s most recent appearance.

“Michael was sick the other night, we hope that was only a 24-hour thing, as it would be great to get him back,” said Lampard.

“Other than that, the players you see are the players we have.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries, you can’t overestimate how much it can affect you to have three frontline centre-halves out.

"We’ve seen clubs miss their centre-halves and results change dramatically.

“They’re not for us because we’re fighting away and we’ll keep fighting.

“The players were spot on with the things we asked from them [against Brentford] and now they have to repeat that effort.”

It is very likely Evertonians will complete a hat-trick of animated coach welcomes after the team was greeted by a wall of noise and plumes of blue smoke prior to the past two home matches.

Lampard maintains he’ll never take such staunch support for granted and he was visibly moved by Sunday’s reception.

But after growing familiar with an ardent fanbase, he is anticipating something special before his side's next game.

“They will be ready to go again and they were incredible before the game [on Sunday],” added Lampard.

“You’re always disappointed when you don’t give something back after the way they turned up before, the way they were in the game and the way they supported the team.

“I’m sure they’ll be back.

“It’s our job [to work hard] first and foremost. The beauty of working as a manager or as a player is that you can affect things.

“So, let’s all affect it on Thursday.”