Lampard sows hope and belief with brilliant debut win

Lyndon Lloyd 05/02/2022 19comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 4 - 1 Brentford

Belief can be a very powerful thing. As Rafael Benitez’s reign as Everton manager dragged on and ever downward, it was a quality in short supply. Even with Duncan Ferguson’s spirited and passionate urging ringing in their ears, the players’ morale merely flickered and was eventually stifled by the organisation and tenacity of Aston Villa in the last match at Goodison Park before the international break.

He may only have had five days with his new charges but Frank Lampard, imbued with an inner confidence of his own, has visibly restored an enormous amount of self-belief in Everton’s players and it coursed through this rousing FA Cup performance, one which ultimately overwhelmed Brentford and emphatically steered Everton into the fifth round.

It wasn’t perfect, by any means. There was some rust to work out after a fortnight off and yet more change at Finch Farm; there were some occasional jitters at the back; and Jordan Pickford offered a reminder that no matter how impressive he has been in goal over the past 12 months, there’s still a little wild unpredictability in there. However, by the final whistle, Lampard was drinking in the applause from a rapturous crowd after overseeing the biggest win for a man taking charge of his first Everton match since WJ Sawyer 104 years ago.

The ball largely on the deck, there was playing out from the back, neat triangles through midfield, bravery and invention on the ball, Blue jerseys playing passes through the lines, and the excellent Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray flying off the flanks behind Richarlison. Then, with the score at 3-1 and the match ebbing towards its conclusion, a 30-pass spell of assured possession before Andros Townsend hammered home the fourth goal of a memorable game that ended under Goodison’s famous lights.

At the heart of it was André Gomes, a player whose Everton career has been underscored by frustration — not just for him personally given the horrendous injury he suffered three years ago but for supporters who have been waiting for him to live up to his £25m price tag and early displays for the club — but who seemed to revel in the license given to him to control possession in the middle and express himself in a way rarely seen from him. “Enjoy the ball” he certainly seemed to and before his key involvement in the fourth goal, he also came as close to scoring what would have been only his third for the club with half an hour gone with a rasping 25-yard shot that forced the corner that got the Toffees’ afternoon rolling.

At that stage, Everton had been the team making all the early running and had had a couple of early chances through Richarlison and Gray before their momentum was temporarily checked by the one sour note of the afternoon, namely a serious-looking hamstring injury suffered by Ben Godfrey. He was forced off after less than a quarter of an hour but after Gordon had narrowly cleared the crossbar with a curling left-footer, it was Godfrey’s replacement, Yerry Mina, who put the Blues ahead in a game for the first time since October.

David Raya had pushed Gomes’s shot behind and Gray swung the dead ball in from the left for Mina to easily win the match-up with his marker and power home a header from six yards out. Cue Lampard’s unbridled celebration from the technical area and fist-pump to the Main Stand.

Richarlison had a decent chance to double the advantage six minutes later but he snatched at the opportunity and smashed it over before the Bees belatedly came to life and threatened their hosts for the first time in the game.

Mathias Jensen's ball inside found Sergi Canos and he forced Pickford to push the ball behind but the keeper was adjudged to have been fouled as the resulting corner came in while Gray sliced another promising off target at the end of the first half.

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The second period was less than three minutes old when Everton double the lead. Allan picked the ball up in midfield, chipped it deftly over the defence and into the path of Richarlison, and the Brazilian forward took advantage of the goalkeeper's decision to rush to the edge of his box by knocking it calmly past him and into the open net from 18 yards out.

Brentford responded, first when Roeslev's cut-back skidded across Everton's penalty area and just evaded Toney in front of goal and then when Christian Nørgaard picked the striker out with an excellent defence-splitting pass. Toney smartly left his foot in as Pickford slid across to close him down and referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot.

Toney sent Pickford the wrong way with his spot-kick and halved the visitors' deficit but it would take Everton just eight minutes to effectively make the game safe. Gordon's cut-back found Gray but his shot was blocked behind and from the consequent corner, the Blues scored their third.

Once again it was Gray the taker and when Bech Sorensen got a head to the ball under pressure from Mina, he could only knock it into the path of Holgate who nodded inside the far post to make it 3-1.

Lampard made his second and third changes with 17 minutes to go, withdrawing Gordon and home debutant Vitalii Mykolenko in favour of Townsend and Jonjoe Kenny and the match went into a prolonged lull until Richarlison and Gray made way for Cenk Tosun and Alex Iwobi with a couple of minutes left of the 90.

And both of the later substitutes were involved as Everton put the gloss on Lampard's day with that long passing move into time added, one that would have been almost unthinkable under his predecessor. It started with Michael Keane intercepting a Brentford pass in his own box and ended 90-odd seconds later with Gomes lofting a sublime ball over the top, Iwobi touching Tosun's clever ball inside on to Townsend in the box and the winger taking time to pick his spot and whip a shot past the wrong-footed keeper. Goodison, and Lampard, lapped it up.

As sea changes in atmosphere and feeling go, the shift from the stuffy and charisma-free presence of Benitez to Lampard’s infectious energy in the technical area, responding to and promoting that of the home crowd, was seismic. The new manager admitted afterwards that he can’t get carried away with one win in the FA Cup and, importantly, neither can anyone else as there could yet be choppy waters ahead.

However, to use that word again, there is new belief among the players and the supporters and from that will come hope that Lampard can successfully steer the club away from relegation danger in the coming weeks before he can then start to build towards a future challenging in the right half of the Premier League table. Just as importantly, the journey looks like it will be a lot more fun.

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Reader Comments (19)

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Paul Birmingham
1 Posted 05/02/2022 at 23:55:59
For the first time in a good while, there's hope for EFC.

I'm made up with the manager and more so with his support team.

Great players don't become great managers, in fact very rarely.

In my view! Cruyff, was as close as it gets.

But Frank Lampard was an exceptional and proven footballer.

Let's hope his belief and with his Team, they can turn the corner.
For Everton – UTFT!

Ben Heuring
2 Posted 06/02/2022 at 00:37:19
Lampard wasn't my first choice as manager, but he really has been a breath of fresh air. He's said all the right things, and the coaches he has brought in have been inspired choices.

I can't really grade him on transfers yet, and will hopefully get a better idea of who needs to go and who needs to come in during the summer.

Hopefully Godfrey's injury isn't as bad as it looked, and we can continue the momentum on into Tuesday against Newcastle.

David Currie
3 Posted 06/02/2022 at 02:57:53

Howard Kendall – great player and great manager.

Frank is a good appointment and the players will love playing for him as he will get them playing some good football. I saw some good patterns of play today and some good play in the middle of the field.

The young players at the club will all bust a gut to play for Lampard, I think he will be a good man-manager as well and be close to the players. Paul Clement is also a good coach and Ashley Cole brings a winning mentality as well.

Teddy Bertin
4 Posted 06/02/2022 at 08:00:53
Totally with you Paul, but there have been some great players that go on to be great managers of the managers that have won a the most titles a lot were also great players.

Pep, Carlo, Kendall, Cruyff, Del Bosque, unfortunately Dalglish. All great players.

How Zidane isn't seen as a great manager after 3 back-to-back Champions Leagues with a team that wasn't great.

Miguel Munoz won the European cup 5 times as a player and manager and La Liga something stupid like 14 times.

Even Trapatoni has 3 European Cups across his career.

You could add Beckenbauer, Capello, Mancini in there. All won multiple major titles as a manager and player.

I'd say maybe even Conte, Simone and Lampard will be in there by the time their careers are over.

Jacques Sandtonian
5 Posted 06/02/2022 at 09:18:12
You could see in the second half that our players were desperate to get hold of the ball and try to score again. It’s precisely how you expect Everton to approach a team like Brentford but that we never saw under Benitez. His pragmatism meant we respected every opponent as if they were champions, neglecting the fact that we are Everton.

We still have issues at the back with decision making and organisation. In the build-up to their penalty you could see perfectly the limited time that Lampard has had to work with the team. Michael Keane was bellowing to his fellow defenders to get the line higher, a degree of leadership and confidence that he has been particularly lacking lately. All the defenders responded apart from Mykolenko who played Toney onside. Organisation can fix that but the will to get forward rather than sink deeper was refreshing.

We also still have problems with defensive transition in the midfield. Allan, who struggles at time with possession, is still excellent at recovering ground when a player gets behind him. Andre Gomes less so thankfully the compactness yesterday limited these occurrences but it’s still worrying against better opposition.

Nevertheless, the positivity alone is fantastic. Newcastle is the real test now.

Steve Shave
6 Posted 06/02/2022 at 09:39:17
Still buzzing from yesterday. I just watched MOTD as I went out last night, I am convinced the victory pushed me to have that last Punk IPA I definitely didn't need! Sore head this morning but happy.

I agree with Ben (2) Frank wasn't my first choice either but I think he has played an absolute blinder so far. He is saying the right things, clearly communicating what he wants and what he appreciates. The players and fans are going to love him, for now anyway. I am not getting carried away with one win but I can't help but wonder what might have been if we had the right type of manager in at the beginning of Mosh's reign with a team of top coaches and a forward thinking and completely autonomous DOF.

Frank got them playing forward, wonderful running and intent from Gray and Gordon (I like him more and more each game, he could become a top player). Gomes and Allan were very good, special praise for my boy Andrè who is often hung out to dry on here (sometimes for good reason, sometimes because he is one of the whipping boys on TW), credit where it's due.

We now have a bloated squad again but DVDB will go and I doubt will be coming back (we can't afford him but possibly a second loan?) Delph, Tosun, Sigi, Kenny and a few others will leave, freeing up money for FFP. I personally don't think we need much, I would look to try and offload Gbamin (unlikely but maybe a loan?) Davies (needs a new start elsewhere to reinvigorate him) and Rondon. I think we will also sell Yerry and Richy in the summer. I am loathe to lose either of them but it makes sound business sense to sell now. We can use SOME of that money (some should go to balancing the books) to buy Gilmour, a young CB (whilst developing Brainthwaite into a regular starter), back up striker and of course Richy's replacement.

Paul Birmingham
7 Posted 06/02/2022 at 09:56:27
David, Teddy, fair calls.

Jim Potter
8 Posted 06/02/2022 at 10:19:09
Optimism. Confidence. Fight. Self belief. A style of play developing.

Early days, but it's great to be looking forward again.

COYFB. (F for Frankie).

Stu Darlington
9 Posted 06/02/2022 at 10:19:40
Early days yet but the green shoots are definitely flourishing.
Players running off the ball unselfishly,creating space for others,Keane and Holgate playing with confidence and leadership.
The whole atmosphere and expectations round the club has changed massively in the last month,long may it continue!
I would like to have seen Patterson have a run out for the last half hour but no doubt his time will come.
Now bring on Newcastle on Tuesday and lets keep it rolling!
Jimmy Hogan
10 Posted 06/02/2022 at 10:24:57
A few hoof balls from Pickford, but as Lyndon says, mainly played on the ground, as football should be. I am optimistic.
Nicholas Howard
11 Posted 06/02/2022 at 12:26:01
Unthinkable. a big 'IF' when we won FA cup and qualify for Europe football will our better players stay?
Darren Hind
12 Posted 06/02/2022 at 12:58:57
A few hoofs, yes, Jimmy, but nowhere near as many as last week.

Yeah, of course, Villa were a completely different proposition with their really aggressive high press, but this is the way to play and Brentford (a team who let you out far more easily) are definitely the type of side we should be practising on in readiness for the big teams. I didn't get to yesterday's game so I can't comment on the atmosphere, but it certainly sounded as though the faithful are behind Lampard.

I listened to an interview where Lampard said he had concentrated on trying to make the players braver in possession and movement.

Of course there are tougher battles to come, but we are through to the next round and we played some very decent football to build the confidence.

Asking players to be "braver in possession" and urging players to break ranks and offer themselves for the forward pass may sound basic but, after years of rigidity, it will be music to the ears of many a long-suffering Evertonian.

Good start. By looking to change attitudes and instil belief rather than focus entirely on tactics and formations, young Lampard may have already stolen the march on his predecessors.

This is going to be interesting...

Andrew James
13 Posted 06/02/2022 at 13:35:25
I've liked Frank Lampardin his interviews. He's not been as vague nor as opaque or laden with platitudes as his predecessors.

Ancelotti's modesty turned out to be disingenuous and Benitez was haughty and obtuse. They both had the bad habit of blaming the paucity of the squad which was pretty rich given it finished 8th under Silva (higher than either of them had us in).

In contrast, Frank has been talking up the players so that it seems unlikely he'll be bemoaning the quality of the squad if things turn sour. That this set of players (even with the removal of a No 10 due to legal reasons and our main striker due to injury) should be so low in the table is down to the stubborn former coach who stupidly squandered possession so that we were susceptible to dropping deep and conceding set pieces we could not defend.

The age of this squad means we are perfectly set up to press high and have plenty of possession. Frank has seen that by what went on yesterday.

I am excited to see Dele because he offers a lot. Hopefully the main body of the squad will build momentum so that he can be eased in.

I have no idea about Donny van de Beek, other than he comes from the same conveyor belt as Davy Klaassen. However, it doesn't seem to be his physicality that has prevented him progressing at Man Utd but more their illogical recruitment and personnel selections. Hopefully he too will have a part to play in the coming months.

Andrew James
14 Posted 06/02/2022 at 14:26:41

Not surprised Pickford would be jittery as he's probably been instructed to do something differently and is on his eighth coach since he joined in that heady and damaging summer of 2017.

But I wouldn't expect this to be the start of a dip for him. He's really got it together in the last year or so.

You are right about keeping it on the deck. If we can keep possession, we won't be so reliant on needing to fall back deep and having a destroyer type to hunt the ball back.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
15 Posted 06/02/2022 at 15:16:00
Interesting shout about Gbamin going out on loan. He still has 2 years on his contract from the start of the summer.

What is the view? Confidence gone after those two awful years of injury? His quadriceps was in training and his Achilles was also a training injury.

See if we can get a loan at a top club in France/Spain where the pace is less frenetic. Build up his confidence. Get a few games under his belt. And then bring back in 2023-24 or ship out depending on how well he has done.

Or is it nothing to do with confidence, just not good enough?

Steve Shave
16 Posted 06/02/2022 at 15:53:31
Phil @15,

I think it's a complex situation. He had all the physical attributes to potentially "make it" with us. Yes, he had a bad first game, a real baptism of fire, then several horrendous career-threatening injuries.

I suspect he's lost some pace and power but also confidence, this combination has meant we just haven't seen him trusted to build back up. Can't they give him some games in the U23s? I was so excited when he came to us initially and thought we'd replaced Gueye.

I feel for him. I would try to loan him back to Mainz and see if familiarity and a slower league could build him back up. We should watch him carefully.

Laurie Hartley
17 Posted 06/02/2022 at 21:02:55
Steve # 6 - I cannot bear the thought of us selling Richarlison. He is one of my favourite players, even after 60 years following Everton. The lad just loves to play football.

From all accounts, Lyndon included, Gomes played a blinder, as did the front three. This leaves me wandering how the manager is going to find a starting spot for even one of Dele Alli, Donny van de Beek, or Dominic Calvert-Lewin if he is fit.

Danny O’Neill
18 Posted 07/02/2022 at 06:51:49
The great players equating to great managers debate is always a good one. I'm in the camp that statistically they don't. Some do, but mostly they don't. The German model of late is a good one to observe. Those who are that way inclined tend to into coaching early; like in their 20s.

I think that's where they modern game has differed from our traditional manager model; they are coaches. Howard Kendall was a manager. Colin Harvey was the coach. I see Lampard as more of a coach. We could do well to get someone in who looks after the broader aspects of managing the football structure of the club and allow him to do what I think he will be good at. And I say that as a self-declared on the fence person with his appointment. I'd let him focus on coaching and the first team.

A lot of the examples of those who do tend to be great players who mostly managed super clubs and inherited good players. That was often the argument with Ancelotti at Everton, which was a fair counter point of view. We didn't and don't have enough good players for those type of manager/coaches. In fairness to Carlo, he did manage lower down the spectrum before hitting the big time manager wise.

Pep; Barcelona, Bayern Munich & modern-day Manchester City. It's almost impossible to fail. Pick the team that the Sporting Director / DoF has assembled over years. Sorry, I'm simplifying that and I do not doubt his abilities whatsoever, but I hope you get my point.

Even Dalglish, who I don't mind saying is probably the best British footballer I've witnessed (Kevin Sheedy was technically Irish), inherited a team that had dominated England and Europe for 2 decades. He literally had to turn up and pick the team. Once it started going wrong, he went into meltdown. And when it required something else to revive the glory days by that standard, he wasn't even close to being able to do so.

Tony McNulty
19 Posted 07/02/2022 at 10:48:39
Benitez to Lampard.

From "Head the Ball" to "Enjoy the Ball"

Summarises it for me.

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