Frank Lampard has said Crystal Palace’s visit to Goodison Park could be pivotal to shaping Everton’s future as his team attempt to secure their Premier League status.
Everton would avoid a first relegation since 1951 with a win against Patrick Vieira’s team on Thursday. Anything less, however, and their fight to avoid the drop will go to the final day at Arsenal. Lampard denied Palace represented an “all-or-nothing” game, on the basis his side could get something at Arsenal, but admitted: “Historically it could be a big night for us because we know the situation.”
The manager said: “I’m certainly not overplaying the idea of a relegation battle as if that is something to get excited about. It is just that, with the situation we are in, it is absolutely pivotal to the future of the club in the short term to get the results we need to stay in the league. Also football is about moments and about the opportunity for the players, the staff and the fans to come together and share a moment that means a lot to the club. And we shouldn’t understate that.
“It won’t be cause for huge celebrations if we get the right result but at the same time everyone is fighting in the same direction for something, so we have understand what a big night that could be for the club.”
Everton have missed two opportunities to reach safety, drawing at relegated Watford and losing at home to Brentford on Sunday when they had Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomón Rondón sent off. That has intensified the pressure on their final home game of an arduous campaign but Lampard believes his squad have the mentality to cope after they responded in similar circumstances to beat Manchester United and Chelsea at Goodison recently.
“You have to approach every game differently in terms of the opponents,” he said. “Against Chelsea there was an expectancy to have only 30% possession and we had to defend very well and accept their passing and style. Man United was different, Palace will be different. We understand their threats.
“There’s probably more onus on us against Palace to show more attacking intent and probably have a bit more possession and be higher up the pitch. So it is different in that sense but in terms of the attitude, yes, we want the same attitude as we approached Man United, Chelsea, Leicester, even Liverpool and Man City because we approached them with absolutely the right attitude.
“It is really obvious what is at stake in this game, and the last two games, and the size of this game can’t be lost on anyone.”