Everton‘s run of 68 years in the English top flight is in real danger of ending after they slumped to a 3-2 defeat at fellow strugglers Burnley on Wednesday, leaving manager Frank Lampard grasping for answers.
“The only talking we can do is on the pitch. We’ve got nine games to play for. I will give everything for these nine games,” said Lampard.
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His team looked distraught at the final whistle but the words from Lampard’s opposite number Sean Dyche were damning.
“You sense a team doesn’t know how to win a game. I said to our players that this lot don’t know how to win a game away from home,” said Dyche when asked what he told his team at the break after two Richarlison penalties gave the visitors the advantage.
Everton have one away win all season and the worst record on the road in the division with six points from 15 games.
Burnley grabbed a 12th minute lead when Cornet’s corner found Nathan Collins at the back post and the Clarets defender was allowed the space to side-foot past Jordan Pickford to score his first goal for the club.
Referee Mike Dean initially waved away the penalty appeals but was sent to the monitor by the VAR officials and having reviewed the evidence pointed to the spot. Richarlison again beat Nick Pope with a cool conversion.
Burnley continued to scrap, however, and left back Charlie Taylor created the 57th minute equaliser, skipping past Jonjoe Kenny and cutting into the area before drilling a low shot across the face of goal which was hammered in by Jay Rodriguez.
Cornet then grabbed the winner when Ben Godfrey’s mis-hit clearance fell straight to Matej Vydra and he slipped the ball back to the Ivorian who fired home to delight the home crowd.
Everton host Manchester United on Saturday — the first of a series of tough games in their run-in — and Lampard said his team’s self-belief was now the main issue.
“The effort is there, belief will be tested,” he said. “When you lose it’s a test of belief. The players are disappointed at the end. In terms of the general performance I didn’t hate it at all. The goals are not goals that we should concede.
“I don’t need picking up. I’m the one that needs to be picking people up. As much as it feels not great tonight, tomorrow you’ve got to focus on Saturday.
“Manchester United will be a completely different game, with an understanding of the pressure that’s now on it. We can’t pretend tonight didn’t happen, we have to be on a good edge against United.”
While Everton have never dropped out of the Premier League, Burnley are relative veterans in relegation struggles under Dyche and he said the formula for survival was a familiar one.
“You have to score at the right time, not concede at the right time and get wins. That has been the story of our seasons in the Premier League,” he explained.
“Tonight we got on the right side of the margin but it is only one win, I just said that to the players, and it is a good atmosphere in the changing room and the stadium, but it doesn’t change anything. We have nine more of them to go.”