‘We HAVE to improve!’: Frank Lampard warns Everton they could face another Premier League relegation fight if ‘a lot of decisions’ are not made in summer… with Pickford, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin all set to start negotiations to stay
- Manager Frank Lampard fears Everton could face a relegation battle next season
- The former Chelsea boss wants decisiveness ahead of his first full term in charge
- Everton have had a poor Premier League season and may have to offload players
- Lampard hopes Jordan Pickford, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will stay
Frank Lampard has warned Everton risk another relegation battle next season unless they get their act together this summer.
The Toffees secured their Premier League status in dramatic fashion on Thursday night, coming from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2.
It sparked wild scenes inside and outside Goodison Park, as fans invaded the pitch and celebrated long into the night, with Lampard and his players soaking up the acclaim.
Frank Lampard celebrated with his Everton stars after they slogged to Premier League safety
The Toffees slumped 2-0 down at home to Crystal Palace before earning a dramatic 3-2 victory
But after the dust had settled, the Everton boss was quick to supply a dose of realism about his 16th-placed side’s situation.
And Lampard highlighted the importance of pre-season and recruiting better than they have done in recent transfer windows if the Toffees want to move up the table next term.
Put to him that Everton were too big a club to be fighting relegation, Lampard replied: ‘But is it? What right does Everton have to be Premier League safe every year and that will continue forever more?
‘There are a lot of decisions that have to be made to make sure that happens. We need to try and find improvements. Nothing is a given.
Lampard arrived on January 31 and has battled to boost Everton during a largely dismal season
‘We were in this position because we deserved to be. It is a great, great feeling but the things we can do to make it better are things we have to work and effect.
‘We want to take the club forward. It has to improve – we have to, I have to. I have to get to work in pre-season.
‘Can we make the squad more balanced? I believe we can. It is important we look at it quickly. We have (director of football) Kevin Thelwell now, we have the board that are interested in trying to get the best out of this club.
‘We don’t want to be here next year but we understand if we don’t make positive moves it is possible. It is important we work quickly.’
Richarlison (left) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin may be open to staying on after Everton stayed up
As well as making smart signings, Lampard is also desperate to keep hold of his star players – namely goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and strikers Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who both scored crucial goals against Palace.
‘Those conversations have been on hold because everyone knew our situation,’ admitted Lampard.
‘I am not silly. Players want to play in the Premier League and all of those players you have mentioned want to. So now those conversations can start.
‘You saw the quality levels of Jordan throughout the season, but in the last six weeks particularly, and of Dominic and Richarlison against Palace.
Lampard admires England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and revealed talks with him have begun
‘We want to be successful, we want to continue in that way so those conversations can start from now.’
Everton have breached the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play rules after posting huge losses for three years in a row.
But asked if he would have to sell to buy this summer, Lampard replied: ‘I have not felt that I have to do this. I know it is a big story. I know FFP. But I don’t know the details.
‘If I had my way, let me keep the players who have performed really well for the club.’
Lampard’s final word went to the fans, who have lined the streets outside Goodison ahead of recent home games to cheer the team bus into the stadium – a support he says his side cannot take for granted.
‘I don’t think we can expect 10,000 people to turn up and parade us in every game. It doesn’t work that way,’ added Lampard.
‘They have dragged us over the line with that kind of behaviour, but we as a club need to start fresh from zero next season. The goodwill and the good feeling has been great but we have to affect it.’