Frank Lampard has spoken out on his future amid ‘real concerns’ within the club hierarchy that Everton are seriously in danger of being relegated from the Premier League.
The Toffees faced Burnley in a crucial relegation clash on Wednesday, but lost 3-2 despite leading at half-time to leave them just one point off the bottom three. Victory would have seen them open up a six-point cushion between them and the Clarets, but now they could find themselves in the relegation zone on Sunday if Burnley better their result.
With a tough run of fixtures coming up for Everton, there are reportedly some anxious members amongst the board with just nine games remaining to avoid the drop.
According to Sky Sports, there is real concern in the Everton boardroom as relegation could massively impact the club, although with only nine games left until the end of the season, a change of manager may not solve their issues. That doesn’t mean that Lampard is guaranteed to be in charge at the end of the campaign, but the owners are hoping that result will pick up.
They host a Manchester United side on Saturday that are desperate for points, and Lampard has responded to speculation over his immediate future. “For me, in my relatively short managerial career, I probably spent 18 months at Chelsea with the same. You know, 18 months but you’re probably two games from the sack,” he said.
“That’s just the nature of the Premier League, the pressure. You sign up for that and I’ve got no problem with that. And even if you make a cup final, make top four or whatever, you still know the rules. So I’ve no problem with that in terms of speculation.”
A relegation would plunge the club in crisis as very few players in the squad are on contracts that automatically reduce if they drop down to the Championship, meaning that they will continue to splash out on high wages in a lower division. Relegation was never even considered by the Everton board this season, and Lampard is already fighting for his job.
“We’re a huge club, so people want to talk about it. In football terms, I don’t think people should talk about us being any different to the other teams in the battle that we are in, we’ve got no right to not be fighting the battle of relegation.
“But what I am is proud to manage here, proud to keep the history of this club going in a positive way, so I don’t waste my time. I only want to talk about me being here. I came to a great club, working with a squad of players, working well. The results are the turning point, and I understand that.
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“If we win on Wednesday then everything feels great, but if you don’t then it flips in the other direction. If we get caught up in that hysteria, then we are caught up in it. We have a job to do, and we are working hard.”
It’s expected to be a fearsome battle at Goodison Park on Saturday, with United treating it as a must-win game in order to keep their top-four hopes alive, but defeat for Everton could leave them staring relegation in the face. Thankfully for United, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return after missing the 1-1 draw against Leicester last time out.
Everton will be hoping that they can make the most of their home advantage, given that the only two Premier League matches they have won this year have both come at Goodison Park. However, those victories were against Newcastle and Leeds, and United pose a whole different threat, reinforced by the fact they won 3-1 in this fixture last season.