Football News

If you can’t beat them, join them: Frank Lampard takes over at Everton

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:16, 31 January 2022

Frank Lampard has been confirmed as the new Everton manager, replacing Rafa Benitez who was sacked midway through January.

Lampard was one of three candidates to be taken to the second round of interviewing according to reports, alongside Vitor Pereira and Duncan Ferguson, who had stepped in as caretaker manager after Benitez’s departure.

It’s a return to management for Lampard a year after he was sacked by Chelsea and his second go at coaching in the Premier League, having won 28, drawn 11 and lost 18 of his 57 top-flight matches.

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Pereira had been the favourite for Everton last week but he wasn’t one for the fans, who spray painted “Pereira Out Lampard In” onto the Goodison Park walls.

Wayne Rooney also confirmed he was approached for the job but turned Everton down, wanting to remain at Derby County in their quest to stay in the Championship.

So Lampard was the man in the end for Everton, and the 43-year-old spoke of his new role: “It is a huge honour for me to represent and manage a club the size and tradition of Everton Football Club.

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“I’m very hungry to get started. After speaking to the owner, Chairman and the Board, I very much felt their passion and ambition. I hope they felt my ambition and how hard I want to work to bring it together.

“You can feel the passion Everton fans have for their club. That will be hugely important. As a team – the competitive level that the Premier League brings and the position we are in the table – we certainly need that. It’s a two-way thing.

“I think Everton is a unique club in that you can really understand what the fans want to see. The first thing they want is fight and desire and that must always be our baseline.

“My first message to the players will be that we have to do this together. We’ll try to do our job and I know the fans will be there backing us.”

There is a sense of if you can’t beat them, join them, for Lampard, who did not enjoy his time against Everton while in charge of Chelsea. In three Premier League matches against the Toffees as Chelsea manager, Lampard lost twice, 3-1 and 1-0, with both defeats coming at Goodison Park.

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The 3-1 win for Everton against Lampard’s Chelsea saw a brace from Dominic Calvert-Lewin add to Richarlison’s opener in what was Ferguson’s only win as caretaker boss after replacing Marco Silva. And the 1-0 win a year later came under Carlo Ancelotti, via a first-half penalty, a game in which Everton perfectly shut down Lampard’s attack.

In fact, only four teams have defeated Lampard more as a manager than Everton, including his spell at Derby. Liverpool (four), Manchester United, Aston Villa and Leeds United (three) have also enjoyed their matches against sides coached by Lampard, though he has also managed two wins against each of the latter three.

Everton’s ninth different manager since Roberto Martinez was sacked in 2016, the Toffees will be hoping Lampard has longer-term success but his first task will be to move them away from the relegation zone. After an FA Cup fourth-round tie against Brentford at Goodison Park, Lampard will take his new Everton side to St James’ Park to face Newcastle in the Premier League, before games against Leeds, Southampton and Manchester City to complete February.