Frank Lampard has said he has given everything to arrest Everton’s decline and refused to blame the club’s failure to sign a goalscorer for his job being under threat.
The Everton manager and his West Ham counterpart, David Moyes, are in precarious positions before their meeting at the London Stadium on Saturday, with both clubs in the relegation zone and without a Premier League win since October. Everton’s points tally is their lowest at the halfway stage of any Premier League campaign, and Lampard is under severe pressure before the first anniversary of his appointment.
Asked whether, in the event of being sacked after the West Ham match, he would feel he had been able to do the job to the best of his ability, Lampard replied: “That’s a tough one. I’ve absolutely given it everything that I can, and it’s not one for me to analyse all the circumstances. I’m sure it is your job!”
Lampard has worked without a recognised goalscorer for most of the campaign. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has struggled with injuries and Richarlison, last season’s leading goalscorer, was sold to Tottenham last summer to enable Everton to meet Premier League profit and sustainability rules. The club is working on a loan deal for the Villarreal forward Arnaut Danjuma but, three weeks into the window, Lampard’s team remain desperately short of firepower.
It was put to the Everton manager that he has been working with one hand tied behind his back this season. “I can’t answer that question and I don’t want to answer in a way. I’ve been given an opportunity to work at a great club and I don’t want to sound too philosophical now – because it’s not like a podcast or something – but everything is a good challenge and an opportunity.
“I’ve had one of the most amazing nights of my footballing career against Crystal Palace [when Everton avoided relegation last season], learned a lot about myself, about coaching, about living in this area of England, which I’d never lived or worked in before, so I don’t want to get hung up on those sort of things.
“I’ve got my own opinions on those things obviously but I think it would be really a lot for me to sit here and make statements like that because when I came into it I also had an understanding of what the job was, the size of the club, all the positive things and then some things that were maybe going to be taxing. Some things I can’t control on that front so I just work. Part of the responsibility of the job is to keep certain things private and keep working out of respect.”
Lampard has seen several striking targets signed by Premier League rivals this month, including West Ham’s new recruit Danny Ings.
“You want to help the squad and that [new players] would help me as a coach, no doubt,” he said. “None of us, as coaches, are geniuses. Some are probably closer to being geniuses than others, but we are not absolute geniuses. And recruitment to get players is generally what will help you have relative success.
“Until that point there is a responsibility to work with what you have got. There is also my own capacity – can I get better? Can they get better? Of course we are all watching Sky Sports News every day. It’s on at breakfast, all the time. We are aware of it. But we shouldn’t cast our eye too much on it. We have to focus on what we have got here.”