Frank Lampard is convinced there is “more to come” from Vitalii Mykolenko, as he paid tribute to the Ukrainian left-back’s professionalism and consistent progression at Everton.
Mykolenko was one of Everton’s standout performers in Saturday’s goalless draw at Fulham.
The west London side had scored eight goals in their previous three Premier League matches but Mykolenko played a crucial role in keeping their talented attackers at bay, defending with intelligence, diligence and determination.
Mykolenko joined Everton in January, just one month before the Russian invasion of his home country.
Lampard revealed his admiration for how the 23-year-old has continued to perform at a high level in the midst of such challenging personal circumstances.
“Myko’s a young lad who has moved to the country, and there is so much going on [in Ukraine] as we well know," the Blues boss told evertontv.
"What he’s done in terms of how he’s handled himself, becoming a fixture in our team, is a real credit to him.
“I’m pleased with him and I think there’s more to come.
“He has had two very good games on the bounce [against Crystal Palace and Fulham].
“Defensively, he was very good on Saturday, with how he competed in the physical duels, blocking things and showing strength.
“We wanted to get him involved more in the game in an attacking sense. It didn’t quite work out for us but in the first half he got forward and delivered a few crosses, which I was happy with.
“I believe there is a lot more progress in Myko. He’s young and there’s a lot he can add to his game.”
Mykolenko will aim to sustain his impressive form this weekend when the Blues host Leicester City – the team he scored his incredible 2021/22 Everton Goal of the Season winner against.
Lampard praised the “spirit and character” Everton displayed in Saturday’s Fulham draw but admitted their quality in possession was not up to the standards shown in the previous week’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Everton will aim to raise their performance level again in Saturday’s clash with Leicester, which will be the Toffees’ final home game before the World Cup break.
With Everton sure to backed by an impassioned Goodison crowd, Lampard insists his team must feed off the fans’ energy.
“We know we’re strong at Goodison and we’ll have the Evertonians behind us,” he said.
“Leicester are a good team and they’re finding form.
“They can play and move the ball well. They have good technical players and threats.
“But we have a belief in ourselves, so we want to show that at Goodison like we did against Palace.”