Wayne Rooney has called on his boyhood club Everton to come out fighting as they head to face relegation rivals Burnley on Wednesday in a game that could go a long way to deciding their Premier League future.
Frank Lampard insisted he saw enough from Everton’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham on Super Sunday to suggest they can climb away from relegation trouble.
Goals from Aaron Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen, either side of a Mason Holgate equaliser, condemned the travel-sick Toffees to another defeat on the road.
Everton, who have been playing at the top level continuously since 1954, remain just one place above the drop zone and face a huge match against fellow strugglers Burnley on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports.
Rooney says Everton, for whom he scored 28 goals in 117 appearances across two spells, must show fight in order to avoid yet another away league defeat at Turf Moor.
Rooney said on Monday Night Football. “I got approached by Everton to do an interview for the manager’s job – as I’ve said before – and I’m at Derby. I’m still learning and I felt it wasn’t the right time. Frank has gone in there and it’s a tough job where they’ve been all season.
For confidence, for belief and for the fans, Burnley is a must-win game. They have to go in and leave everything out on the pitch.
“I didn’t feel Rafa (Benitez) was the right fit for Everton coming in. That didn’t work out and the players have lost confidence.
“Since Frank has come in, he’s tried to create a mentality in the players but the damage has already been done in the early part of the season.
“It’s how they crawl themselves out of that. They’ve got a massive game on Wednesday away to Burnley and I feel it’s a must win.
“I’m very worried [as a supporter]. It was a better performance against West Ham but once you’re in that run of form and you find things difficult – you look at the second goal where (Alex) Iwobi gives the ball away – and these things seem to always happen.
“They just need to hang in there and find a way to pick up results, like they did against Newcastle. That was a game where Newcastle were the better team on the night but Everton won that through fight and being horrible to play against.
“I don’t want to question the Everton players’ will to fight because I don’t know what their characters are but that Newcastle game showed they can do it – especially at Goodison. They have to go and fight for the shirt and for the club.
“The Burnley game is huge because they’ve got tough fixtures. They can get results against those teams but the Burnley one, for confidence, for belief and for the fans… it’s a must-win game. They have to go in and leave everything out on the pitch.”
Everton must stick together in troubling times
Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:
The misery continues for Everton. At West Ham on Sunday, Bowen inflicted more away-day pain for Lampard’s side but here they were the authors of their own downfall, beaten by their own lapse in concentration before the red mist descended.
Michael Keane captained the side in the absence of Seamus Coleman but it was his tired challenge on Michail Antonio which made life more difficult moments after West Ham had regained the lead.
The Merseysiders have received a red card in each of their last three Premier League matches (including Jonjoe Kenny vs Wolves, Allan vs Newcastle) becoming the first side to see red in three games in a row since Watford in December 2017.
Lampard had questioned his players’ bottle – or words to that effect – after they capitulated at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last time out, and they conceded poorly again just five minutes after equalising when Bowen struck.
Keane’s second yellow card capped another miserable road trip for Lampard, and he simply cannot afford yet another fruitless jaunt away from Goodison Park on Wednesday in that crucial game against Burnley at Turf Moor, live on Sky Sports.
Lampard said: “The next game is always the most important and the next one is a competitor down in the same end of the table. Nobody gets an easy game at Burnley – it’s a fact at all times so it’s about continuing the application and character of our performance today.”
Everton remain safe, for now, but defeat to Sean Dyche’s side would close the gap to the bottom three to just a point. As Richarlison trudged disconsolately down the tunnel, Lampard must pull his troops together for the battle that lies ahead.
Former Everton winger David Ginola told Sky Sports:
“It gets worse and worse and when you are in a situation like that, especially when you have to play against teams who are competing against you and fighting relegation.
“The game against Burnley will be another crucial one for Frank Lampard. So many games lost already for a manager who all the fans were expecting to take the club out of that situation. They are under pressure and he is under pressure.
“You can lose one game but over a 38-game season, if you are in this position it’s because you are not good enough.”
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness:
“You can’t fault that group for their effort but I’m afraid it just comes down to they have don’t have enough quality at this level to be winning games away from home. They don’t have enough quality and for me that’s the top and bottom of it. The league doesn’t lie.”
West Ham boss David Moyes:
“I think Everton will be OK – when you’ve got the forward players they’ve got it gives you a great chance and they’ve got good players in wide areas. They should feel more positive about it but I’ve been there recently with West Ham and before with Sunderland when we didn’t stay up. I feel they’ve got the quality that other clubs don’t have but you just never know.”
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