Frank Lampard says Everton’s impressive 2-1 comeback victory over Southampton on Saturday shows his teams progression – and believes the confidence gained from back-to-back wins can propel the Blues to greater heights.
All the goals at St Mary’s came in a frantic six-minute spell at the start of the second half, with Conor Coady and Dwight McNeil on target to complete a fabulous Toffees turnaround following Joe Aribo’s opener.
Lampard’s team are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and boast the second-best defensive record in the Premier League. Only reigning champions Manchester City have conceded fewer goals than the Blues’ seven.
Lampard hailed the togetherness and solidity of his side – but insists there is still much room for improvement.
“I’m delighted with the win, and I think we deserved it,” Lampard said. “Southampton is a tough place to come.
“I thought we were in control first half, but we could have been more ruthless and we could have hurt them more efficiently.
“Then we give a goal away but, to be fair to the lads, they have been tight this season and haven’t conceded many. There is a great spirit in the group to defend our own goal. We’re improving and there is a lot of work to do to get much better.
“We showed good spirit and a good reaction to come back, and I think the win shows our progression. It’s not the end of the story, we need a lot more progression to get to where we want to get.
“It is a positive we have a stronger spine about us now and an idea of how we want to play. I’m delighted for the lads to get that feeling of two wins on the bounce.
“We’re getting better and we have better strength of character [than last season].
“We’ve had a couple of good draws on the road which showed some resilience and digging in – and now we come away and get a win. That will give a feeling of confidence to the group.”
Lampard also had words of praise for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who made several fine saves as Southampton applied pressure in search of a leveller in the second half.
“Jordan was very good,” he said. “He gives us a sense of calm and he’s a quality goalkeeper – although, to be fair to Asmir Begovic, he did that in the last game against West Ham.
“It’s pleasure to manage a goalkeeper like Jordan who makes those saves, which keep you in games and helps you win games. His attitude is great.”
Pickford was one of three changes Lampard made from the win over West Ham United last time out, with Seamus Coleman coming in for the injured Nathan Patterson and McNeil replacing Anthony Gordon.
“Anthony has not been well,” Lampard explained. “He missed training on Thursday. He trained on Friday and didn’t look right. He tried to tell me he was right, but I knew he wasn’t!
“Anthony is playing well, but we had to protect him. You want energy from your wingers and we got that from Dwight and Demarai Gray.
“Amadou Onana also felt not so well during the game but, fair play to him, he fought it through.
Lampard added: “I’m delighted for Seamus to come back and play like that.
"Particularly in second half, Southampton crosses were being chipped in at the back post and he dealt with them with his experience and quality. He’ll be so much the better for having those 90 minutes.”