Everton need to keep their cool in their quest to avoid relegation as upcoming league games against Newcastle United and Leeds United are unlikely to seal their fate, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday.
Everton, who have been ever-present in the top flight for the last 68 years, appointed Lampard as Rafa Benitez’s successor last week to help them avoid the drop as they sit in 16th place after 20 games, just four points above the relegation zone.
“We have to stay calm because there’s a long way to go… I’ve come here with 18 games left so to put everything on these two games would be the wrong attitude,” Lampard told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s clash at Newcastle.
Everton will be without the services of defender Ben Godfrey until March after he picked up a hamstring injury during Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round win against fellow Premier League side Brentford.
Lampard also defended new signing Dele Alli after the midfielder was criticised by former England manager Glenn Hoddle for his choice of attire at his Goodison Park welcome following a move from Tottenham Hotspur.
Lampard said he would never “handcuff” the personalities of his players, adding: “I don’t care what car he drives, what clothes he wears, as long as I get a lad that comes to training every day, wants to improve every day … the modern day has moved on, it’s changed.”
Everton take on a Newcastle side that are in a relegation scrap of their own, sitting second from bottom with 15 points from 21 games.