When things don’t seem to be going your way, you must fight your way out. That’s how football works. As a player and now as a coach, I’ve been there many times, and the only way out is to work your way out and work hard. We’re in the Goodison Park stands, and Everton manager Frank Lampard is in a determined mood.
Lampard is clear in his conviction about the quality of this Everton team and is convinced they will turn their situation around before the end of the season, despite being frustrated by decisions that went against his side across Stanley Park at Anfield last weekend. That mindset was a feature of his playing career, and he wants it to be a hallmark of the teams he coaches as well.
Lampard was shortly out on the pitch on his own, sprinting lengths of the Goodison pitch after this afternoon’s training session at the stadium, which was held in front of club sponsors and partners. He laughs, “I wouldn’t call it shuttle runs.” “I was more snail-like!” But it’s the attitude that counts.
He says, “We have to have a really strong belief.” “When things are tough in terms of results and position, it’s critical to stay positive and believe in what you can do here and that things will work out in our favor.” That is something we must continue to strive for.
Everton’s situation isn’t getting any better. They host Chelsea on Sunday after that difficult test against quadruple-chasing Liverpool. Of course, considering everything Lampard accomplished as a player for Chelsea and his season-and-a-half as manager, the game is extremely special for him. This will be his first meeting with them since being fired in January 2021 after leading them to a top-four finish and an FA Cup final in his debut season.
Will the fact that you’re familiar with the area help you? He smiles and says, “I don’t know.” “It means you know their talent and how they play since I’ve worked closely with most of the guys and seen what they’re capable of.” Maybe it helps a little bit—but I won’t know until after the game.
On the other hand, Lampard has undoubtedly helped the development of two of Chelsea’s most crucial players: Reece James and Mason Mount. He gave them both their senior Chelsea debuts, and they’ve gone on to become important players for the club.
Chelsea’s leading scorer and assist-maker this season, while Thomas Tuchel pondered what could have been this season had outstanding right wing-back James not struggled with injuries this season after the 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Thursday. Lampard’s satisfaction with the pair’s accomplishments is palpable.
“They’re fantastic lads,” he says, “truly very talented boys.” “They both have great attitudes, in their own ways, and I’m happy for them because I know how they are as guys.”